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ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos)

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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
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Update: For additional (comparison) photos, please see Post 5 below.

You can find a review of the next figure in this line, the Centurion, HERE.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0110

Update: For additional (comparison) photos, please see Post 5 below.

Introduction

Among historical sixth-scale figures, Roman soldiers and gladiators form a sizable subgroup. The high end treatment began with Ignite many years ago, and has continued with ACI and Kaustic Plastik. This year we are going to see three Roman releases from HH Model and HaoYu Toys. The first to be released, some months back, is the Roman infantryman or legionary. A centurion has just been released on the market, while a standard bearer (aquilifer) is to appear before the end of the year. This review is on the infantryman (legionary). I took the photos some time ago, but only now had the chance to put together the review. The Imperial Army Reloaded Infantry figure represents generically and somewhat fancifully what is now the most iconic appearance of the Roman legionary, clad in the lorica segmentata composed of overlapping plate segments covering the torso and shoulders. This look was common from the second half of the first into the third century (AD).

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0210

Packaging - 4/4 stars

The Roman infantryman comes in a solid cardboard shoebox-type container. The face and side panels are decorated with images of the product and bear the HH Model and HaoYu Toys logos, while the back side has the requisite cautionary warning about small parts and choking hazard. When you pull off the top cover and remove a relatively thin sheet of black foam, you get to the first of two black foam treys, containing the figure, helmet, hands, and some of the accessories. Below this lies the second black foam trey, containing the javelin (pilum), shield, and other accessories. Everything is collector-friendly and safe, and I appreciate the use of foam rather than plastic treys.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0310

Sculpting - 3.5/4 stars

This category includes both the head sculpt and the various sculpted or molded parts of the set. The face bears some resemblance to actor Kevin McKidd, who portrayed the Roman centurion Lucius Vorenus in the HBO series Rome. The TV character was tacitly recreated by ACI (as Roman Republic Legio XIII Gemina), but the equipment that comes with the present product is much more closely comparable to ACI's legionary (Total Rome Roman Legionary/Optio/Elite Optio) or to one of Kaustic Plastik's legionaries (Legio XIV Gemina Invasion of Britain circa 49 AD Ancient Rome The Roman Army Valerius). At any rate, the product does not claim to represent Kevin McKidd and may therefore be forgiven for any departure from a perfect likeness. However, there is still something a little less than realistic about the sculpt, including the not overly fine stranding of the hair.  The figure stands about 11.75 in (30 cm) tall.

The other sculpted or molded items tend to be very well done. Plenty of fine detail can be found on the decorations of the armor, weaponry, and military belt. The shield is sculpted in such a way as to convey the natural surface of wood, though perhaps that was overly-ambitious and the effect appears slightly exaggerated. The helmet is missing the loop handle at the back of the neck guard, although it was designed to be there (this appears to be the case with all sets, not just mine).

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1110

The sculpted or molded parts of the set, apart from weapons and accessories, include the helmet and armor. These are both actually composite pieces including both metal and plastic parts (the top and neck guard of the helmet are metal, the cheek-pieces are plastic; the cuirass and plate arm guard are metal, the shoulder guards are plastic). The plates of the plastic shoulder guards are actually individual pieces attached by stitches; they are therefore both somewhat articulated and fairly accurate (functionally) to the way this type of armor works. The plates of the metal cuirass, however, are simply sculpted or molded as two continuous halves (left and right) of the armor; this is inaccurate and helps limit articulation -- what is even more disappointing than the absence of individual plate segments is that these are sculpted/molded together with the two pieces covering the shoulders and upper chest, from which they are supposed to hang.

In addition to the standard legionary armor, the infantryman in this set has been outfitted with a relatively rare contraption called a manica. This is essentially an armored sleeve, here recreated as partly overlapping plates mounted on "chain" mail (represented by sheer fabric) over the right arm. This type of thing is more familiar as part of gladiatorial equipment, but it does appear to have been issued to Roman legionaries. The most famous instance is from the emperor Trajan's monument celebrating his conquest of Dacia in what is now Romania. It was accordingly hypothesized that the manica was introduced into the legions on this campaign specifically for defense against the falx (scythe-like weapons) of the Dacians. However, since then additional evidence for legionary use of the manica has come to light including actual archaeological remains from Dacia, Britain, and Judaea (there, at least, from a time earlier than Trajan's conquest of Dacia), not to mention artistic depiction on a monument from Libya. Giving the Roman legionary a manica remains an unusual but not impossible choice. Part of the problem is that the soldiers depicted equipped with it on Trajan's monument wear "chain" mail armor and greaves (shin guards) -- neither of which is featured here. For what it is worth, a recent publication on the equipment of the Roman army throughout the provinces features a lorica segmentata-clad Roman legionary in Judaea depicted alongide (though not actually wearing) a manica: R. D'Amato, Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (1), 31 BC-AD 195, Osprey: p. 31/Plate G. Is that where HH Models/HaoYu Toys got the idea?

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0410

Paint - 3.5/4 stars

It is notoriously difficult to paint blond hair, and they could have spared themselves this problem if they had not tried to convey the look of Kevin McKidd. Other than that, the paint application is generally very good with almost no imperfections, except of course by design -- for example, allowing the painted plastic armor to look metallic and worn and blend very seamlessly with the metal pieces. The wooden and metallic elements on the shield, too, are very realistically painted. Perhaps the easiest place to spot some minor imperfection are the boots (caligae), a common problem with strapped footwear that is sculpted with the foot.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0510

Articulation - 4/4 stars

The product utilizes the CooModel body (or something based on it), which allows for very good articulation and reasonable sturdiness. Of course cast metal and plastic elements can be heavy, although overall the articulation is not overly hampered by the outfit, armor, and accessories that come as part of the set. The legionary can take wide stances, sit, kneel, raise his arms fairly far, etc. The shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, wrist, ankle, and top of the neck articulation is very good, but the armor naturally restrains any ab crunch.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0610

Accessories - 4/4 stars

While it would have been possible to provide even more accessories, the set comes amply supplied with them. There is of course the action figure stand which features a Roman eagle above the acronym SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus -- "the Senate and People of Rome"). There are two sets of spare hands, making three sets altogether: relaxed hands, fists, and grip hands. There are several weapons, including a dagger (pugio) with its scabbard, a sword (gladius) with its scabbard, and a javelin (pilum). The axe (actually mattock) is intended more as a tool for entrenching or construction. All these feature metal blades. Then there is additional equipment, including the legionary shield made of plastic, a "kettle" (canteen) made of metal (with some fine detail) and suspended from a leather baldric, a "ladle" (patera?) and a cooking pot made of cast metal, a rectangular leather satchel (loculus), a rolled-up blanket secured to a carrying pole (furca), and a smaller "all purpose" bag or pouch (which is provided in a pale, whitish color, much lighter than what was advertised in the promotional images). The dagger and the smaller bag are intended to be worn on the belt. I have already made mention of the helmet and armor, and I will reserve some other elements (belt, vambrace) for the discussion of the outfit. All in all, the accessories are a fairly extensive selection, and the only thing that really sticks out in my mind as a specific desirable addition would be a shield cover (something that Kaustic Plastik has provided on occasion).

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0710

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1310

Outfit 3.5/4 stars

The items I class under "outfit" are all very well made. These include the tunic, the military scarf (focale, to prevent chafing), and the cloak; all are given in stereotypical (but not historically universal and invariable) red. There are fairly long pants (braccae? -- although those should probably be even longer), which were eventually introduced into the Roman military, but fairly late; earlier legionaries (who would more likely have worn the lorica segmentata and other equipment in this set) originally wore no pants under their tunics, then adopted shorter pants reaching down just below the knee (femoralia/feminalia) from the auxiliaries. It may be that the pants provided are intended to be bunched up at the knees, giving them a shorter appearance after all. Then there is the far more questionable leather vambrace on the left forearm. This type of equipment is a favorite in fiction and in film portrayals that do not bother to take the facts into account; it is historically attested in the Roman army only with archers (protecting the arm holding the bow from the arrow). I realize that many do not particularly care about veracity of detail (and ACI already put vambraces on its legionaries), but there is something inherently perverse in an argument that a history-based figure need not be as historically accurate as possible. At any rate, one is free to keep or remove the vambrace (and for that matter the long pants) as one sees fit. There is also the removable military belt (cingulum), with elaborately decorated plaques (an improvement on what we have been getting from Kaustic Plastik), which purposefully skip a turn or two where the dagger and smaller bag are supposed to be hung. The belt features four "dangly" strips (baltea) with round metallic studs and attachable decorative end-pieces (pensila). Finally, there are the Roman military boots (caligae). These appear to have been sculpted with the feet, but their strapped framework continues a little farther up the lower leg. The effect is very neat, but as noted above, the paint quality is predictably slightly less than perfect on the straps. The hobnails on the soles are arranged in a more complex and creative pattern here than what we usually see in other sets.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0810

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1510

Fun Factor - 4/4 stars

This product is generally well executed, well articulated, and fairly sturdy, which makes it a good piece to pose and display. Add to this the expansive choice of accessories and the removable items (including some that might be historically inaccurate), and the fact that at least two more figures from this line are following it. In addition to being displayed with them, the product can be integrated (with or without modification) with earlier Roman figures produced by other companies.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1010

Value - 3/4 stars

Retailing at $200 and not being a super-popular licensed character from the leading blockbuster of the year, this is not a low-cost product. On the other hand, it is a very good one, and comes with a pretty extensive range of accessories. In and of itself, this makes the set's price more tolerable, if not quite welcome. And yet, this is a soldier and soldiers are meant for army-building, which makes the price a lot tougher to deal with. Even if one does not get multiples of this set, one might want to get the other two figures in the line. Assuming that the price remains the same across all three, you would be out some $600 or more. Even if they were made in the past, when prices were lower, three Roman Ignite or Kaustic Plastik or ACI figures would not have costed nearly as much (in fact, some of them still do not), although they generally come with less in the way of accessories.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1410

Things to watch out for

The figure and its accessories are fairly sturdy, certainly more so than what we have been getting from Kaustic Plastik which requires constant and repeated recourse to Gorilla superglue (which they in fact suggest in their instructions). Still, I would not give it to a small child to handle without close supervision. The little decorative ends for the "dangly" strips hanging from the belt are easy to attach, but also fall very easily; since they are fairly small, they might get lost. The metallic studs on the same "dangly" strips could become detached and, being so tiny, could also go missing. It is in such instances that Hot Toys provides extra pieces, just in case.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir0910

Overall - 3.7 stars

While I do not find this figure tremendously exciting -- probably because good renditions of this type of Roman soldier already exist in my collection -- I appreciate its quality of execution, its relative sturdiness, and the range of accessories we get with it. And it might get more exciting yet: in fact, his commanding officer, the centurion, has just arrived... and will be the subject of a separate review.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1210

Where to buy

It seems like a couple of months ago these were everywhere. Now they seem to be largely sold out in most of the venues where I look, but you can find it below or look for it on eBay. (As for the centurion, you can find him for pre-order at most places.)

One Sixth Outfitters for $195

Ekia Hobbies for $199

Fairway Hobbies for $200

Toy Origin for $200

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1610

I hope this was useful and informative. What do you think?

Update: For additional (comparison) photos, please see Post 5 below.

You can find a review of the Centurion figure HERE.

#rome #roman #legions #infantry #military #ancient #historical #male #hhmodel #haoyutoys


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Excellent review -- I always look forward to your detailed reviews of historically-based figures, and always find them very educational. This one seems pretty decent for what it is. On a silly fangirl note, I do wish the likeness actually WAS more like Kevin McKidd, but alas....one cannot have everything. Razz

I'm looking forward to seeing the centurion review as well. I'd also be curious to see these guys compared to your other Roman figures....

Wish I could afford to get the whole set of these, as my husband would surely love them. Smile


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Stryker2011

Stryker2011
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Excellent and fair review. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t seen Rome, but I can’t see Kevin without thinking of Dog Soldiers.


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male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) TCFITBi
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GubernatorFan

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skywalkersaga wrote:Excellent review -- I always look forward to your detailed reviews of historically-based figures, and always find them very educational. This one seems pretty decent for what it is. On a silly fangirl note, I do wish the likeness actually WAS more like Kevin McKidd, but alas....one cannot have everything. Razz

I'm looking forward to seeing the centurion review as well. I'd also be curious to see these guys compared to your other Roman figures....

Wish I could afford to get the whole set of these, as my husband would surely love them. Smile

Thank you very much! I think it really is pretty decent, and, having taken some comparison photos with the older legionary figures (see next post), I am once again grateful for the increased quality and sturdiness. It feels so nice not having to fix a couple of things every time you handle a figure! The likeness is not really very far off; I think it looks less realistic but perhaps more recognizable than the head ACI gave their Legio XIII Gemina Lucius. As far as affording them, yes, at $200 apiece (and more than that in the UK), it would take commitment to collect all three. If you had to choose, I suppose the legionary and the centurion are more iconic than the standard bearer, and I will try to review the centurion soon and post faster this time. You can see him in a couple of the photos in the next post.

Stryker2011 wrote:Excellent and fair review. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t seen Rome, but I can’t see Kevin without thinking of Dog Soldiers.

Thank you very much and welcome. I remember that quality and ease of use was an issue for you, and although the price is higher this time, these things are not a concern with this product. And you should definitely check out Rome, I think you will like it. Very poor history, but very decent (or at times indecent but fun) entertainment.


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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
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Additional photos for comparison purposes

First, here are a couple of photos showing you the HH Model/HaoYu Toys Roman imperial legionary alongside their newly arrived centurion. Keep in mind that neither figure is fully kitted out in these photos, and both sets contain several additional items.

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1710

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1810

Here is a photo comparison between the HH Model/HaoYu Toys Roman imperial legionary and the most comparable Roman legionary figures produced by ACI and Kaustic Plastik. Taking out and setting up these figures for the comparison made me realize how derivative the new product is, combining various aspects of the previous sets (and some by Ignite), but also made me appreciate its innovation (like the manica, wider range of accessories, more elaborate stand design) and superior quality and durability. But they really do vary in focus and available options: the ACI set had two javelins or slightly different design, and another KP set had three, but no non-combat accessories; an old Ignite set had even more non-combat equipment, but little of the combat accessories.

Something I forgot to mention in the review: the javelin (pilum) seems to be overly long, in fact so much so that it is a little bit difficult to have the legionary hold it at the appropriate place -- the rope-covered grip area. The comparison photo makes this rather obvious, although in fact Roman javelins varied in length -- to a point (all puns intended).

male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) Iir1910

You can find a review of the Centurion figure HERE.

I hope this was useful.


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Nice to see all three together. There are pros and cons with all of them. The number of accessories that come with the one you just reviewed probably makes it the best option but they all need tweaking to make them historically accurate.


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GubernatorFan

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shazzdan wrote:Nice to see all three together. There are pros and cons with all of them. The number of accessories that come with the one you just reviewed probably makes it the best option but they all need tweaking to make them historically accurate.

Thank you and I agree. Luckily for the most part the tweaking can be taking things away. Similarly with the Centurion, which I just reviewed.


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Thanks so much for the comparison photos, those are very helpful. There are definitely elements of each that I prefer, but still enough to like about each of them. And as you say, modifying these isn't too much of a hassle, at least. Smile


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GubernatorFan

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You're very welcome. And I agree.


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is it easy to take the armor off the HaoYu version or the ACI version?

the KP version looks cheap and poorly made

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GubernatorFan

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agentghost wrote:is it easy to take the armor off the HaoYu version or the ACI version?

the KP version looks cheap and poorly made

Since all the armor and equipment has been parted out, I suppose it is doable -- removing the armor off the Hao Yu; probably also the ACI, it's been awhile. The segmented armor is a pain to get on and off, and at least one version had fastenings brittle enough that they broke -- possibly the KP. Speaking of which, their products are nicely designed and painted, but often not particularly sturdy. In the photo, it could be made to look better, but the relatively loose joints of the body had trouble maintaining a more normal pose under that weight (metal helmet, etc), and I didn't want to tighten the belt lest it snapped. I have had fewer concerns with ACI and HaoYu.


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I just bought the ACI one, purely because it was less than half the price of the other two.


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Stryker2011

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All that die-cast metal honestly makes no sense to me, particularly if they aren’t going to provide a body that can take all the extra weight. Plastic, painted right, looks just as good as real metal, and at half the cost. I’d rather these companies focused on making things that didn’t fall apart, or topple over, and got the details right, instead of focusing on gimmicks.


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male - ROME Imperial Army Reloaded: Infantry by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review (updated with comparison photos) TCFITBi
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GubernatorFan

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Stryker2011 wrote:All that die-cast metal honestly makes no sense to me, particularly if they aren’t going to provide a body that can take all the extra weight. Plastic, painted right, looks just as good as real metal, and at half the cost. I’d rather these companies focused on making things that didn’t fall apart, or topple over, and got the details right, instead of focusing on gimmicks.

Amen to that. I've always felt that way. The occasional blade in metal, so it is not easily bent, maybe. But we don't need to make things heavier overall.


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I'm liking some of the new metallic mail armours that are available now. But that is more because they actually look like mail rather than because they are made from metal. The HH Roman Aquilifer was such a disappointment because they spent all that effort creating real mail armour only to spoil the effect by making it the wrong way round.


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