by: Peter Ong [ ]
When I saw the movie “Gladiator,” the scene where the mighty Felix Legions of The North lined up for the final battle to conquer Germania impressed me, but not enough to make me buy a Roman Legionnaire figure. What did obsess me for a figure to depict “The Mighty Imperial Power of Rome” came from a PBS television commercial for a special on the Roman legions.
For anyone desiring a Roman Legionnaire, the figure market has a vast assortment to choose from. The three main questions you must answer are: What scale, what looks, and in what pose do you want your Legionnaire? Bear in mind that unlike modern soldiers that carry a wide assortment of gear, Legionnaires often don’t carry much gear and most Legionnaire figures around mid-1st century AD to 70th century AD are modeled with essentially the same gear. Thus the overriding factor in selecting a Legionnaire figure is essentially the looks.
In my two-month hunt for the correct Roman Legionnaire to satisfy my wants, I surfed the online hobby stores and found figures of Legionnaires fighting against Barbarians, Legionnaire fighting against animals, Legionnaires dying or already dead, etc. The list is immense, with Legionnaire figures in both resin and metal and made by both popular and lesser-known companies. I was seeking a 120mm Legionnaire and such a requirement really narrowed the playing field. Eventually, I found only one Legionnaire that exemplified the looks and pose I wanted—Verlinden Production’s (VP) “Super Scale 120mm Roman Legionair.”
I do know in recent months that a few companies made new 120mm Legionnaire figures that even rival the looks of the Verlinden Legionnaire. So when you do decide to purchase a Legionnaire, please surf around and see the wide variety that is available, for you may desire one you weren’t even looking for.
VP’s Legionnaire represents Rome at the very height of its military conquest and power—around 3rd century AD to 60th century AD. All the gear looks accurate to the time period right down to the sandals and leather strapping for the “lorica segmentata” body armor.
The shield emblem depicts the Legio XIIII Gemina unit.
Note: The actual items of the Roman Legionnaire were pieced together from artifacts found buried in battlegrounds and in burial sites. Archeologists still have many questions regarding Imperial Roman Army as they piece together all the artifacts to form this “jigsaw puzzle” of truth. The gear and weapons are considered truthful and accurate but the one puzzle still unresolved is the color of the Legionnaire’s tunic. The latest research theory is that the Legionnaires actually wore white tunics whereas only the Centurion officers wore the red tunics. However, there is no solid evidence to prove this theory and thus the color of the Legionnaires’ tunics remain inconclusive.
List of contents:
· Upper torso with “lorica segmentata” body armor
· Lower torso with tunic skirt and double belt
· Two legs with feet in sandals
· Two arms
· Head with Imperial Gallic “H” helmet
· Helmet neck guard
· Two helmet cheek guards
· “Maniz” “gladius” (sword) with separate handle
· Dagger in scabbard with separate handle
· Three “pila” javelins with handles
· One javelin with no handle
· Plastic rod for javelin shaft
· One-piece “scutum” shield
· Javelin tip and connector
· Two shield decals (one red and one blue)
· Plaster base
This proportional figure is cast in Verlinden’s excellent and dense olive resin. There are absolutely no air bubbles and all details show crisply. The well detailed “lorica segmentata” body armor, a sight to behold, will look mighty impressive when painted with chrome paint such as Alcad. The sandals themselves are molded in fine individual straps as if in the care of a real shoemaker. The ringlets, hooks, buttons, and straps are all well defined and stand out admirably against the armor and tunic, and all are free of warpage or runs. There is no flash or resin shims used to support parts. As with any other Verlinden figure kit, one has to saw away the pour blocks. Fortunately, the pour blocks are in gluing locations, so during assembly, the remaining marks will not be seen.
The head has a unique feature—the famous slender and sharply sloping Roman nose! I’ve seen other 120mm resin faces but none with such a facial distinction that immediately denotes ethnicity. This Legionnaire not only dresses like a Roman but is a Roman! I found the nose, prominent forehead, and jutting eyebrows a nice touch.
The figure has molded-on straps to hold the gladius and dagger scabbards against the tunic skirt. Depressions are made in the tunic to ensure that the scabbards rest flush against the figure.
As I dryfitted the legs to the lower torso, I noticed that the knees don’t really fit into the holes because the knees are a tad too wide. The knees do contact the lower torso well and don’t leave any noticeable gap but the contact area would be extremely weak so I recommend using epoxy to glue the legs to the lower torso or better yet, fill in the holes for the legs to achieve a smooth surface and thus more gluing area. The arms do seem to fit into the holes in the upper torso.
THE WEAPONS, SHIELD, AND BASE
During the height of the Roman Empire, Legionnaires often spent large sums of money on their uniforms, personal appearance, and decorating their scabbards. VP’s Legionnaire captures these intricate details well in the design motifs on the dagger’s scabbard. Therefore, this Legionnaire possesses and shows a good degree of wealth and must be a veteran in the Imperial Army.
Unlike modern soldiers with packs, pouches, canteens, and cases, the Legionnaire’s only gear consists of a double belt in front of the tunic skirt and a dagger and a gladius. Nonetheless, such pieces are intricately and colorfully painted so the lack of gear will not detract from the eye-catching attention this figure will achieve when painted accurately.
The box art shows the Legionnaire clutching one javelin but the kit actually gives you three javelins with the pyramidal handle and one without. I found the long styrene rod a little bent but that’s unavoidable considering that the piece is packed tightly in the box. One may wish to replace the rod with metal tubing for a true straight shaft.
The scutum shield is molded depicting a metal trim and a center hub. I really appreciate the peel-off stickers (an option of either red or blue) VP gave for the shield because even with a steady hand, I find it’ll be very difficult to paint such an emblem if molded onto the face of the shield. The stickers show great thinking on VP’s part—why make life harder for the figure modeler?
The plaster base looks exactly like the box photo and lacks any runs, cracks, flaking, or chipping.
All parts are enclosed in Ziploc bags and bubblewrap for safekeeping.
CONCLUSION & REFERENCES
I always enjoyed VP’s 120mm figures and their excellent quality means that if I’m careful in sawing off the pour blocks, my only real challenge is painting the figure. The fit between the knees and the lower torso is something to be wary of, but with time and maybe some putty, I think the fit issue isn’t a problem.
This 120mm figure depicts a Roman Legionnaire in full regal splendor complete with a Roman nose and all the elaborate trimmings on the armor, shield and weapons. To capture the “Mighty Imperial Power That Was Rome” and for those interested in bright colorful uniforms, I highly recommend this figure. I also highly recommend the excellent references below (which I reviewed on Track-Link) to aid in painting any Roman Legionnaire.
· Peterson, Daniel. “The Roman Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs.” Wiltshire: The Crowood Press. 1992.
· Windrow, Martin & McBride, Angus. “Imperial Rome at War.” Hong Kong: Concord Publications. 1996.
This 120mm figure depicts a Roman Legionnaire in full regal splendor complete with a Roman nose and all the elaborate trimmings on the armor, shield and weapons.
| || ||1:16|
| || ||VP773|
| || ||27.00 USD|
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| || ||Dec 24, 2002|
| || ||Italy|
Copyright ©2020 text by Peter Ong [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.
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