October 18, 2001
We’re venturing outside our normal 1650ish-1871ish venue as the search continues for anatomically proportioned ranges first and foremost… and there are a limited number out there. I’m also sure that the good Sisters of the Sacred Heart didn’t realize that while they were telling the story of early Christian martyrs, this student was focusing on the temporal power of Rome….
As 20 mm is our favorite size, I stumbled on “Qualiticast Figures”. You won’t find much information about them on the Net. The miniatures are manufactured in the UK, and distributed in the US. by Brookhurst Hobbies. I ordered some samples ($1.00 ea.) of Qcast’s pewter Imperial Roman, ACW, and Peninsular ranges. From the limited number received, the Naps looked unimpressive; the ACW figs only decent… but the Romans were nice. Brookhurst has some excellent photos of them (kudos for that) on their web site.
It’s been some time since struggling through Latin passages of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, but I did a quick brush up on uniforms. The range depicts legionaries, circa mid-to-late 1st C. AD. These are the earlier years in the larger period known as the “Lorica Segmentata” (for segmented armor) by historians and archeologists. The miniatures sport the Coolus E type helmet, plated body armor, and shield with a common motif. The line’s legionnaires carry either the pilum (heavy javelin) or gladius (short sword).
The miniatures measure between 22-23 mm in height, from the soles-of-their-feet to eye-level. The designer put the figs on 2 mm bases, bringing their overall height to just under 25 mm! I assume the logic was they’d be easier to grasp with this comparatively thick base, but I don’t care for it. Anything altering figure height in a hobby where compatibility is an important consideration, is not a plus. The frontage required for each soldier carrying a shield is 13 mm.
The Romans are well-designed figures with an anatomy that is proportional. The detail is adequate, and what’s rendered is defined with clarity.
Shields, standards, pilum, etc., are separate pieces that must be attached. These items are particularly well done. I also like the Cornican (see the picture above). This Qualiticast range puts to rest the assumption figures must look overweight or belong to a gnomish underworld in order to stand the wear-and-tear of gaming. Their anatomy has been rendered truer by keeping the figs in compact poses. They look like warriors and are easily discernible on a gaming table. But there are some negatives:
(1) They’re somewhat wooden.
(2) The torso drops almost strait from the shoulders to the hips. Having factored armor in, a wee bit of tapering in the waist would improve the look.
(3) The face is the same on each figure. (It is nondescript enough to allow some alteration in appearance. But the mouth could use re-working and some variance is desired.)
(4) There is no variation in pose.*
(5) The legs are a tad thin. But: I prefer this to most lines’ “tree stump” interpretations.
(6) Hands are the Achilles Heel of wargaming miniature sculptors. AB’s Tony Barton is the only one who seems to sculpt them well.
(7) I’m one of those people who likes a comparatively uniform look. Those who prefer Old Glory-styled animation will probably wish to pass on these.
(*The fact they come with detached shields and weapons allows for a modicum of variation, as does the several broad flat surfaces, where paint can produce different effects.)
There are a decent number of options within the range, including Auxiliaries advancing with shields, auxiliary archers and cavalry, some artillery (with more on the way), and personality figures that include Emperor Hadrian.
More importantly, there is a range of complimentary Celtic warriors which are nice as well. The Roman uniforms limit the number of battles you can stage between the two to primarily Britain (the Gauls having been pacified, with many in Roman service by mid 1st C. AD). But unless you’re playing with a “uniform Nazi”, the Romans certainly can be pressed into service for the 1st C. BC (BCE for younger readers), giving you a host of conflicts and Celtic peoples to portray.
The foot figures are sold in packs of four and sell for $3.98USD. Cavalry figures and horses are sold in separate packs, the figures going for $3.98 and the horses, $5.98. Accessory shields can be purchased separately. Hopefully they will add separate pila as well, for the latter are a bit fragile.
The figs receive an 8.5 for design, and are one of only a handful I’ve given a thumbs up to (those include GHQ 10 mm Napoleonics, all AB’s, and Minifig’s Marlburian and SYW 15mm ranges). They are definitely worth a look.
29 The Quantocks
Bedfordshire MK45 ITG
Distributor in North America
Brookhurst Hobbies 12188 Brookhurst
Garden Grove, CA 92840