This is my little Aventine Miniatures review for some Republican Roman figures I bought. I used to have 15mm Republican/Polybian Romans and have always had a soft spot for them. To me they seem like ‘proper’ Romans. I did have some old Newline and Companian figures (We’re talking 3-4 years old!), but Newline no longer do them in 25/28mm and Companian have sold off their moulds. So it was basically starting from scratch, my imagination and enthusiasm being fired by the recent purchase of Hail Caesar rules from Warlord Games
If you’re collecting Republican Romans in 25/28mm then the ranges available to choose from out there is pretty thin on the ground. From forum lurking and research along with a bit of Googling the choices boil down to this:
So which ones to choose? Well Renegade look good on first appearance but from my recollection of their Gauls they are a bit large and chunky and the swords are absolutely huge. Almost Games Workshop Fantasy style huge. So it comes down to the other two. Well it was really difficult as online the pictures look pretty good for both. Well proportion, nicely sculpted and looking pretty nice to paint. But unfortunately Crusader comes off second both in people’s comments across the Warlord Games and TMP forums. They also make their Republicans with 2 leg greaves which to me is a no no.
So Aventine figures it was. I started messing around with my selections on Wednesday 13th February whilst at work (Whoops :)!). I actually started calculating and selecting single packs until I noticed that there were unit deals of 16 and 24 figures with a single command included that dropped about 9% off the price. Top stuff. Now my maniples come in at 8 figures in 2 ranks of 4 for Hastatii, Principes ad Triarii. This counts as a small unit for Hail Caesar which I have just bought. In the end I spent just over the £75 mark so got an extra 10% discount which is fantastic.
36 hours from order to receipt. You have got to be seriously impressed by that!
Well my sweaty little mitts got straight into the packets and started to salivate over my latest purchase. I was very keen to see what Keith had produced as this was part of my 2013 Painting targets. I was very impressed.
All the figures had little to no flash. Also there are not many mould lines to clean off at all. There was some release powder/agent still visible in certain details such as the feathers on the helmet, but no more than I would expect seeing as how they were only cast the previous day. In any event it is simple to wash out or brush out with an old brush. Initially my thoughts are 5/5.
But since starting to go through the preparation of the figures I have noticed a couple of things whilst not game changing are certainly a bit of a pain. Two areas stick out to my mind and they are connected with the location of the casting vents. The first is on the left hand and is less serious. All the figures have a small stub of metal from the vent that needs removing there. It can be cut close and then filed but it does result in some loss of detail. But it’s not major as it will end up behind the shields.
Hastati & Principes Gallery: (Click To Enlarge)
However I am more concerned by the Triarii spears. The vent here is right on the tip and results in a length of metal extending from halfway down the tip. The removal here is tricky. Using a scalpel it can be done but it is fairly chunky metal so could result it damage to the tip, its removal by the force you have to put on or slicing you fingers open. My solution has been to try and make an angled cut with snips and then filing to a point again. It has worked well, but it’s a pain and has slightly distorted the spear tip shapes in some cases. I will be removing one from the quality for this. If you can fix this Keith you are the full 5/5 in my book.
Triarii & Velites
Design and Sculpting – 4.5/5
Overall I am pretty impressed. Nice lifelike and natural poses as well as properly proportioned muscles. The leg greave is very good. In a couple of poses it extends slightly too much beyond the muscle but it is certainly the best sculpt of that I have seen. Most make it too chunky by far. I love the variety of poses in the cast as well. It gives a nice variety to angles of pila and gladius’ and enhances the unit in my opinion.
Whilst I am using mainly chainmail for the Principes and the body plate for the Hastati, you could easily mix them up and have lots of variety in your Roman army. After all, the period we are talking about here, troops were still supposed to provide their own kit. My only minor gripe is that on a couple of the poses the arms look a bit too long than is natural, but it is a minor point.
So I am very impressed with Aventine Miniatures Republican Romans and I will definitely be buying from them again whilst there are no cheaper plastic alternatives. I shall be closely watching Agema Miniatures on this point. Even then though, due to the quality and service they will still have a part to play. Time to get them all painted then!
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Keith from Aventine Miniatures in resonse to my reveiw.
"Thanks Stew for the in depth review. I totally agree with everything you have said and just wanted to add my spin on some of the points raised.