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For the legionary infantryman from the same line, see HERE

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For the legionary infantryman from the same line, see HERE

Introduction

I just managed to finish and post my review of HH Model and HaoYu Toys' Rome Imperial Army Reloaded Infantry (legionary), but the next figure in the same line, the centurion, had already arrived. Given the natural interest in comparing the figures and the fact that the legionary quickly sold out in some of the most common venues, I have rushed ahead to supply a review for the new product. The figure is already available in Asia and on eBay, and is expected for immediate arrival in most US stores that will carry it (some appear to have it already).

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Packaging - 4/4 stars

The Roman centurion comes in a solid cardboard shoebox-type container very similar to but a little narrower than the one for the infantryman (legionary). The face and side panels are decorated with a single continuous promotional image 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 shields and other accessories. Everything is collector-friendly and safe, and I appreciate the use of foam rather than plastic treys, all the more so after recently revisiting the ACI and Kaustic Plastik Roman legionary figures for a comparison to the HH and HY legionary. As with the legionary set, the box includes a one-page cautionary sheet.

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Sculpting - 4/4 stars

This category includes both the head sculpt and the various sculpted or molded parts of the set. The face bears some possible resemblance to Gerard Butler (King Leonidas in The 300) and/or Michael Shannon (General Zod in Man of Steel). Perhaps it's just the beard; or the agitated, toothy grimace. I am not aware of who in particular (if anyone) the face is supposed to be, so I cannot judge whether it succeeded or not. Nevertheless, the sculpt is very good and seems a little more realistic than the one that was selected for the legionary figure. I might have preferred a more neutral expression, but it doesn't bother me much. The figure stands about 12 in (31 cm) tall, slightly taller than the legionary that preceded it in the line.

The other sculpted or molded items are all very well done, with plenty of fine detail on the decorations of the armor, weaponry, and military belt. The longer shield is sculpted in such a way as to convey the natural surface of wood, much like the one that came with the legionary; the smaller round doesn't have as much detail on the inside; both are finely executed on the front side. The detail on the phalerae (circular metal disks affixed on a harness over the centurion's chest and abdomen) is excellent, as is that on the helmet, on the belt plaques, on the greaves, and on the rather delicate gold-colored double hook for attaching the shoulder flaps to the chest (in fact, it hangs magnetically from them) and even more delicate torques. The vambraces feature an incised image of a "Roman" eagle (it looks rather medieval, but then again the vambraces are fantasy additions to what is otherwise a fairly convincing historical figure -- see in more detail in the legionary review). The sword scabbard also features a little delicate sculpting, but to me it looks less impressive than its counterpart that was provided for the legionary. The vine staff is sculpted convincingly but appears to be a little too short. As with the helmet that came with the legionary figure, it 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).

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Paint - 3.5/4 stars

The paint application is generally very good, although I was a little disappointed in the sword's scabbard (which looked more poorly painted than worn) and the inside of the smaller, round shield. On the outside of the shields, the smaller round shield is given a perfect, realistic look, whereas the larger shield seems painted a little too impressionistically to look convincing for a Roman shield. The vine stick and hair are given a perhaps overly flat paint job in brown, but on the other hand, the face and eyes are painted beautifully and realistically. The painting on the helmet and vambraces is impeccable, which is impressive, given the small details involved. As with the legionary figure, which has the exact same footwear, there are some minor imperfection on the straps of the boots (caligae), a common problem with strapped footwear that is sculpted with the foot.

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Articulation - 4/4 stars

The product utilizes the CooModel body (or something based on it), which allows for very good articulation and reasonable sturdiness. Despite the heaviness of the cast metal and plastic elements, the overall articulation is not overly impeded. Unlike the legionary figure, there is no stiff armor to restrict even the ab crunch here, so the centurion is even more poseable. The legionary can take wide stances, sit, kneel, raise his arms fairly far, etc. The only obvious improvement would have been double-jointed elbows, but I suppose appearance won over articulation, as it did with the legionary figure.

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Accessories - 4/4 stars

The Roman centurion comes with the same action figure stand, decorated with an image of a Roman eagle above the acronym SPQR, as the legionary. There are also four extra hands, making a total of six: a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of grip hands, a slightly different right grip hand, and a left fist. Then there are the dagger (pugio) and the sword (gladius), both with metal blades fitting into scabbards, each of which is suspended from its own baldric. There is also the vine staff, which is a bit undersized. I have already mentioned the easily-removable harness with the seven phalerae, the double hook which attaches to the chest via magnets, and the delicate plastic torques suspended from a strap of cloth worn around the shoulders. ACI did those better, from soft metal (as did Kaustic Plastik, but theirs could still snap easily). The choice of lightweight and probably brittle plastic was a poor one -- I feel that they could easily break, and moreover they do not hang naturally. I resorted to magnet magic (made possible by the magnet already in place for the double hook), slipping a couple of small magnetic disks into the cloth. There are two shields (although the promotional images only showed one, the round one): one is smaller and perfectly flat and round, while the second is a larger curved rectangle, but with curving lateral sides. In popular culture the legionary shield is normally imagined as a curved rectangle (like the one that came with the legionary), but the present shield seems to be more representative of the most widespread type used in the Roman army. The helmet and its transverse crest are two separate pieces, and you need to attach the stem of the crest onto the helmet (sliding it into the fitting from the front) -- or you can forego the crest altogether.

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Outfit 3.5/4 stars

All the outfit items that come with the centurion set are very well made. These include the tunic, the military scarf (focale), and the cloak; all are given in stereotypical (but not historically universal or invariable) red. The "chain" mail corslet is actually made of silverish sheer fabric, with sown on brown leather (or pleather) straps (pteryges) ending with gold-colored tassels. In reality, the leather pteryges would most likely have formed part of a separate garment worn under the mail corslet.

As with the legionary figure, the centurion also comes with pants (braccae or feminalia?), which are a little out of place if the centurion is going to wear greaves, as he does here. The problem is that by the time pants were adopted as standard legionary equipment, even centurions had stopped wearing greaves (some cavalry units do appear to have worn both pants and greaves, but that is a different story).

The centurion has been outfitted with vambraces on both forearms (the legionary only had one, on the left forearm, since the right was covered in his case by the rare but less fantastical manica). This type of equipment is the result of giving in to screen fantasy and aesthetic preferences over historical evidence (only archers appear to have worn a vambrace, on the hand holding the bow). Unlike the vambrace that came with the legionary and was made of leather (or pleather), the centurion's vambraces are made of molded plastic; they are very finely sculpted and painted. I suppose those of us striving for historical accuracy could easily remove them as needed.

Finally, there are the Roman military boots (caligae), same as with the legionary (see that review for details and the image of the sole).

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Fun Factor - 4/4 stars

Like the legionary before him, the centurion is is generally well executed, well articulated, and fairly sturdy, which makes him a good figure to pose and display. And since the legionary is already out there, the two can interact, team up against vile barbarians (Kaustic Plastik has produced a couple of Roman-period Celts), or the centurion could scold the legionary for improperly tied caligae-laces or what not. These figures do integrate well enough with earlier Roman military personnel produced by other companies.

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Value - 3/4 stars

As I wrote about the legionary figure from this line, 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. While it has fewer regular accessories than the legionary (also one less weapon, but then again one more shield), the centurion comes with more "bling," allowing for more variation when it comes to display. This sweetens the deal somewhat, and since this is an officer, you will probably not "need" to pick up more than one (the way you might be tempted to do with a rank and file soldier).

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Things to watch out for

Generally, very little, just apply the same amount of caution that is always appropriate for handling higher end collectibles of this type. The only thing that made me nervous were the little plastic torques which I didn't want to break. Although I was too lazy to do it myself, it is always a good idea to use a hairdryer (or hot water) to soften the plastic of the hands before swapping. Unlike some other companies, HH Model and HaoYu Toys have not provided spare parts for products in this line (if you do break a wrist peg, your natural choice for replacement would be CooModel, since that seems to be the body they used).

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Overall - 3.75 stars

With all the variable options (cloak on or off, phalerae on or off, torques, vambraces, choice of shield), I found this figure quite fun. And it doesn't hurt that he has the legionary to play with... err... boss around. Without going as far as to declare this figure perfect or its price unobjectionable, as with the legionary, I am very pleased with the quality, sturdiness, and range of accessories in this set.

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Where to buy

You can find it below or look for it on eBay.

Big Bad Toy Store for $200 (pre-order)

Cotswold Collectibles for $200 (pre-order)

Ekia Hobbies for $200

Monkey Depot for $200

Timewalker Toys for $194 (pre-order)

Toy Origin for $200 (pre-order)

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

For the legionary infantryman from the same line, see HERE

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#rome #roman #legions #infantry #centurion #military #ancient #historical #male #hhmodel #haoyutoys
Search in: General Talk  Topic: ROME Imperial Army: Centurion by HH Model/HaoYu Toys review  Replies: 8  Views: 532
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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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
Part II: The search for Superhero Fireman Chad continues...
For Part I, see post 1 above.

Same disclaimers apply as for Part I.

More leaked documents from IAFOOSHA shed additional light on the continued investigation, which was apparently going nowhere fast...

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Appendix A: covers of additionally identified volumes (outside the firefighter-related genre)

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Appendix B: front and back covers of volumes collected and filed by agent Goodenough

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I hope you have enjoyed this new installment of (hopefully) humorous inanity, created in response to some of the comments above.

#humor #parody #satire #romantic #erotic #fiction #fireman #firefighter #modern #male #ancient #rome #medieval #middleages #starwars #scifi #superhero
2019 has already seen the release of five sixth-scale Roman-period military figures by two companies, and there is at least one more in the works. Although they arrived months ago, it is only now that I've had time to begin some product reviews. I begin with the three Roman infantry figures by Kaustic Plastik.

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Introduction

The three infantry figures are a centurion, a legionary, and an auxiliary ("Auxilia Cohors") from Kaustic Plastik's The Legions of Rome - The Armies of the Roman Empire series. All three figures purport to portray the Roman military of the 1st century AD, i.e., the Julio-Claudian and Flavian periods of the Roman Empire. Kaustic Plastik figures are designed on the advice of archaeologists/military history consultants and claim a high degree of historical accuracy. That said, one should note that there is plenty of disagreement over the interpretation of pictorial, written, and archaeological evidence, and some of the design choices would be open to doubt.

The sets employ Kaustic Plastik bodies (KP04) and head sculpts and stand about 11.5 inches (29.5 cm) tall.

Packaging - 3/4 stars

All three figures come in identical boxes featuring a dark posterized version of a photo of two figures' helmeted heads overprinted with the Legions of Rome logo on the front, a general historical introduction on the back, and images of all four figures of this line (the three reviewed here, plus a cavalryman whom I will review separately) on the sides. Inside the box there is a relatively thin black foam sheet, under it a thick foam trey for the figure and some of its accessories, and under that a second, more shallow foam trey for additional accessories, including the action figure stand and the shields. The use of foam treys is commendable, and everything is reasonably safe, although some items do become loose. Inside there is also a little paper slip with a printed notice that the helmets are very delicate, should be handled carefully, and if any of the small fittings become loose it is recommended to affix them with Gorilla Superglue. So why take off one star? Because of the reusing the same box and decor for all figures in the line. This is arguably lazy, but while I do not care much about the boxes (as long as they do their job), the figures come without any instructions, and having more, larger, and varied images of each figure (on its respective box) would have been handy when trying to kit it out fully. On the other hand, if this cost-saving measure accounts for the relatively inexpensive price, that aspect is appreciated.

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Sculpting - 3/4 stars

By sculpting I mean primarily the head sculpts, although there are plenty of sculpted details on the plastic and metal accessories that make up each figure's armor and weaponry. In the latter case, the detail is fairly accurate and quite exquisite, even if not always super sharp. In the former case, two out of the three heads are very well sculpted, while that of the auxiliary has the same high production quality, but suffers from fairly caricature-like features that detract from the intended realism. Moreover, all three head sculpts are reused from Kaustic Plastik products we have seen before: the centurion's head came with the KP03B body, the legionary's head came with the KP04B body, and the auxiliary's head came with "Valerius - Roman Legionary" ("Ancient Rome - The Roman Army - Legio XIV Gemina, Invasion of Britain circa 49 AD"). While I appreciate any savings in cost, this reuse is hardly something that impresses in the new products.

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Paint - 3.5/4 stars

Generally speaking, the paint job is very good -- and even in instances where it is not particularly clean, that is perhaps on purpose, certainly contributing to the look of worn, used equipment. The most elaborate and detailed paintwork is on the head sculpts (see photo above), and that tends to be excellent, with plenty of good detail and nuance. There is also some fairly intricate paintwork involved with the various tiny sculpted details on the armor (centurion), sheaths (all figures), and shields. The "chain" mail on the auxiliary (and also on the cavalryman I would be reviewing separately) is made of molded rubber and has a very convincing paint treatment ranging from silverish to dark grey.

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Articulation and Poseability - 2.5/4 stars

Why add "poseability" to the description of this category? Because it is different from the articulation, as I will show. In terms range of movement (articulation), the Kaustic Plastik bodies are very good, featuring almost everything you might want, including double-jointed knees and elbows, good ankles and wrists, ab crunch, etc. Naturally, the outfits and especially the armor (whether the molded rubber "chain" mail or the hard plastic "muscle" cuirass) get in the way a little bit, but that is normal. In fact, I am surprised at how little they hinder the range of movement (though I have not necessarily shown its full limits in the photos). A bonus for the kitbasher are the removable arms, which are pretty much a must if you want to remove or swap some of the outfit. However, when it comes to the ability to pose the figures, the products are plagued with difficulty. The knee and ankle joins in particular are fairly loose, and when you add to this the weight of plastic and metal weapons and armor, it becomes exceedingly difficult to achieve a balanced unassisted standing pose in any animated stance. For example, see the legionary in the photo below? He had to lean on his shield to stand in this stance, which wasn't even what I was going for in the first place. So while the articulation is good in itself, the poseability is fairly poor.

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Accessories - 3/4 stars

Since we are looking at three figures at once, let's start with what they have in common: the "deluxe" figure stand, the dagger (pugio) with its sheath hanging from the military belt (cingulum militare), the sword (gladius) with its sheath hanging from a baldric, the two sets of hands (spear/sword/knife grip and trigger grip -- the latter is somewhat surprising given the nature of the product). The weapons' blades are made of metal, while the hands are made of fairly soft plastic -- something this reviewer appreciates, given the typical challenges of making a figure hold a shield or swapping weapons. Each figures comes with its own distinctive plastic shield -- the centurion and legionary have a similar and familiar design (scutum), but with slight variations, while the auxiliary sports an oval shield with painted decoration. At least generally speaking, this appears accurate for the period, although the universal reliance on red is a bit of a modernist cliche. The centurion sports an extra (and extra wide) belt to go over his armor. The belts are made of thin leather-like material with affixed and embossed metal plaques -- this works better in theory than in practice (see below). The auxiliary has a short spear or javelin (lancea) with attachable spearhead -- which also works better in theory than in practice (see the photo in the Paint category above). He has also been given two Gallic-type wrist torques. The legionary comes with a coiled rope and with three interchangeable shanks of varying lengths and weights for his javelin (pilum).

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The legionary set comes with metal Roman numerals which you can use to affix a legion number of your choice to the appropriate "field" on the shield. You will need glue and possibly a coat of paint or dull finish (I have not yet applied the latter). This set also comes with additional pendants that could be attached to the ends of the danglers, but that seemed too fragile and too much trouble for me to affix.

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I am subtracting a star from this category because of the overly fragile or flimsy attachment of many of the elements, a source of much annoyance: see below.

Outfit - 3.5/4 stars

The centurion wears a red tunic, a leather-like jerkin (subarmalis) with two rows of pendant straps (pteryges) at both the bottom and the shoulders, and a muscled cuirass (whether it is intended to represent one made of leather or bronze is not specified -- although the color appears far too dark for ancient bronze). He also has red-brown pants (feminalia) reaching down to the upper calf and his lower legs can be protected by greaves (ocrae). On his feet he wears closed boots (calcei) with silverish hobnails. His lower neck is protected from the armor by a red military scarf (focale), and a heavy velvet-like red cloak hangs rather loosely from specially designated holes in the muscle cuirass. He has a metal Gallic Type E helmet with an attachable transverse crest. Apart from perpetuating the simplistic notion that the Romans employed red consistently or uniformly for such items as the military tunics, the choice of pants for a figure representing typical 1st century AD military personnel is somewhat surprising -- they are generally agreed to have come into common use late in that century, closer to the Year 100.

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The legionary wears a red tunic, leather-like armor, knee-length light brown pants (feminalia), military boots (caligae) with silverish hobnails, leather-like wrist bands protecting the lower arms. His neck is protected by the red military scarf (focale) and he has a red hooded cloak to wear. His metal helmet is of the Coolus Type G, with a beige plume. The leather armor and wrist bands are of debatable historical accuracy. Generally, discrete wrist guards are not believed to have been part of typical legionary armament, and are common only among archers. The evidence for leather armor as anything more than an underarmor jerkin is particularly contentious. The promotional materials indicate that the leather armor that comes with this set is based on a drawing in Robert von Spalart book on historical costume (from 1798). Although not everything dated is necessarily wrong, that does not carry much weight with military historians today, and most interpretations based on pictorial or sculptural evidence are open to debate. Allegedly fragments of Roman leather armor have been found in Egypt, and Raffaele d'Amato's Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces 31 BC-AD 195 does include an illustration of banded leather armor worn by a city guard (not a legionary), citing pictorial evidence from an Egyptian linen shroud and from Anatolian monuments. Using "chain" mail would have been a considerably less controversial and more convincing choice; the use of pants is also possibly questionable, as they became more common late in the 1st century (as noted above).

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The auxiliary wears a red tunic, molded rubber "chain" mail with short sleeves and additional leather-lined "chain" mail shoulder guards (giving the armor the overall impression of a Greek linothorax), and . He had brown long pants (braccae), with his calves additionally protected by leg wrappings. He has been given Gallic closed sandals without hobnails, although it is likely that many or most infantry auxiliaries would have worn typical military boots (caligae). I suppose there is something to be said for variety. The pants (though more typically of the shorter type, feminalia) are less questionable here, as they appear to have come into common use among auxiliaries earlier than among legionaries, by the mid-1st century. This would have been especially true in the northern provinces along the upper Danube and the Rhine, and in Britain. The auxiliary sports a metal Coolus Type C helmet without a plume or crest.

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Fun Factor - 3/4 stars

With four different contemporary figures produced at the same time, not to mention any of Kaustic Plastik's earlier Roman releases (gladiators and military alike), the fun factor for these products should skyrocket. Historically debatable choices aside, the attention to detail is commendable, as is the range of options we get at once and over time. What hurts these products in this category is the common issue of limited poseability (due to overly loose joints) and the flimsiness of a number of articles that break repeatedly with minimal handling (more on that below) -- which makes posing these figures a frustrating rather than fun experience. On the other hand, if you just want to stick them on the provided figure stands and forget about them on a shelf, that frustration largely disappears.

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Value - 3/4 stars

Retailing at about $140-160 (USD), these are not particularly expensive for high-end action figures these days (something relative, of course). Given the research, care, and large number of fine accessories that come with these sets, I would have given this category a full 4 stars had it not been for the frustrating issues mentioned above.

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Things to watch out for

A lot. With all the layers of clothing and armor (including helmets), accessories (weapons and shileds), your figure could get relatively top heavy, easily lose balance, and topple over. In fact, given the loose ankle and knee joints, it might fall over even sooner. The many and intricate tiny details are not likely to hold up well if the figure fell from any considerable height, and many of the items are fragile or flimsily attached. I lost count of how many times I had to use super glue on something that came loose, including the plaques on the belts, and what seems like half a dozen buckles. One of the auxiliary's wrist torques snapped in two. The auxiliary's spear head and the legionary's pilum shanks do not attach very well, making them look limp and fall out easily. While they are not likely to break easily, they are likely to get lost or to stab you should you tread on them. And all this fresh out of the box, with minimal and careful handling. (The centurion's crest came badly misshapen and required some water treatment, and now looks like the sonic hedgehog...)

Overall - 3/4 stars

What should have been a set of great products has turned out to be a set of pretty good products. There is a lot here that can be appreciated, enjoyed, and possibly improved with little effort. And a lot that adds to existing or future collections. Box imagery apart, what you see in the promotional images is exactly what you get, at a fairly reasonable price for our times. But there are far too many small annoyances to make these perfect products.

For some kitbashes based largely on these sets, see HERE. Sample photo below.

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What do you think?

Where to Buy

Various options, including eBay sellers, for example these:

Big Bad Toy Store

Cotswold Collectibles

Timewalker Toys


#kausticplastik #kp #rome #romanempire #legions #military #historical #ancient #male
Search in: General Talk  Topic: Roman Infantry 2019 Kaustic Plastik Review  Replies: 25  Views: 609

Early Imperial Roman Infantry Kitbash - Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:21 pm

The newly released Roman military figures from Kaustic Plastik and Haoyu Toys (all of which I intend to review) inspired and made possible a little kitbash attempting to recreate some of the most typical appearance of the early imperial legionary and auxiliary infantry -- about the time of Claudius I (41-54).

The most obvious differences in the look of these early imperial forces from the "classic" look of late-1st-/early 2nd-century Roman troops are: the use of simpler bronze or bronze-colored helmets; the use of chain mail for both legionaries and auxiliaries; the absence of long (braccae) or knee-length (feminalia) pants; rectangular shield (scutum) with curved side edges for legionaries and oval shield for auxiliaries. Obviously, there was plenty of variation (for example, as to which side to place the sword and the dagger, tunic color and shield devices); moreover, this is still a work in progress, and I am planning some upgrades and changes (e.g., repainting the auxiliary shield with a different decoration).

Most of the pieces were from the new KP sets, with some others from Ignite and other sources. I used KP bodies because you could easily remove and replace the upper arms, something very useful when dealing with these tight rubber chain mail tunics, but these KP bodies have some weak joints and stiff hands, and this was a pain to pose and photograph. I hope it is still presentable.

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This last photo (below) shows a couple of Roman infantrymen about to attend to camp tasks, having taken off their armor. The pants indicate they belong in a slightly later period.

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Hope you liked them.

#roman #kitbash #custom #kp #kausticplasik #ignite #romanempire #legionary #auxilia #ancient #historical #military #infantry
Search in: General Talk  Topic: Early Imperial Roman Infantry Kitbash  Replies: 10  Views: 346

Ancient Greek Clothing in Sixth Scale - Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:09 pm

Since yesterday's post about kitbashing Greek hoplites with pre-existing elements (e.g., ACI armor and weapons, TBLeague bodies), it occurred to me search out some of the basic garments that would go with these. I did find them, and since anyone can make this with a modicum of skill and end up with garments that are more representative, accurate, and less expensive than what is commercially available, I decided to post a few photos here.

Keep in mind that these represent the simplest versions of these garments, and although ancient Greek clothing generally consisted of rectangular pieces of cloth and did not resort to (permanent) stitching, more elaborate versions eventually did develop with additional clasps or stitches creating more permanent closures of the open sides and something like real (as opposed to merely apparent) sleeves.

The long tunic (worn by charioteers, elite or mature males, and women)

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The short tunic (worn by young or mature men, some sporty women; children wore it without a belt)

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The exomis version of the short tunic (worn by working or fighting men)

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The long cloak worn by men and women alike, an ancestor of the larger Roman toga (if you are using a standard sheet to improvise a toga for a costume party, you are actually wearing a Greek himation!)

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The short cloak, a favorite for military, hunting, or traveling men

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Hope this is helpful for anyone kitbashing ancient or fantasy characters.

#clothing #male #ancient #historical #Greek #custom #kitbash
Search in: General Talk  Topic: Ancient Greek Clothing in Sixth Scale  Replies: 18  Views: 820
To help with sorting and searching through this forum as we accumulate more and more topics (threads), I invite all members posting a new topic to add hashtags at the end of the first post. If you have already created a topic, you can go back to it, and edit the first post to include the hashtags of your choice. I have gone through a few topics started by others and myself and included some hashtags as a test, but feel free to add more of your own, where applicable. We do not seem to be limited in number of hashtags, so some redundancy is ok (e.g., both #lordoftherings and #lotr).

By clicking on a hashtag, you will be able to see all topics (threads) tagged with it -- you will be taken to a page containing the first posts in these topics (there may be further posts with additional info and images, so you might want to enter the respective topics and follow through). In Profile you can follow specific hashtags of your choice.

Working list of common hashtags below. You are not limited to this, and feel free to supply additional suggestions; so as to minimize the number of hits during searches, please do not put the # in front of your suggestions, which I will integrate into the list. At any rate this should demonstrate the principle of the thing. There are basically three types of hashtags that would apply: descriptive (like #historical or #outdoors), franchise (like #starwars or #aliens), and maker (like #easyandsimple or #hottoys).



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Product Review Star Ace Queen Gorgo - Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:12 pm

Product Review of Star Ace Queen Gorgo from 300

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Introduction

Queen Gorgo is Star Ace's third product from the 300 movies, following upon King Leonidas and Themistokles. She also happens to be my first complete set from this series: I already had the Hot Toys Leonidas and only bought parts of the Star Ace Themistokles. You can find detailed reviews of the aforementioned products (as well as Star Ace's Leonidas) by Michael Crawford here: http://www.mwctoys.com/reviews-all.htm

The historical Gorgo (one of History's first recorded victims of creative and inconsiderate parents where name-giving is concerned -- who names their daughter after a gorgon!?) was the niece and wife of the brave Spartan king Leonidas (himself the offspring of an uncle-niece marriage). She was noted as an outspoken woman, whose good advice was ignored (by her father, for example, to his loss), and who dared to speak out among her fellow citizens. Then again, this sort of assertiveness was expected of Spartan women (to the dismay of other Greeks), and the sort of things she said inevitably reinforced the values and priorities of Sparta's militaristic society (e.g., "come back with your shield or on it!"). The historical Gorgo did not go on to lead Sparta's (largely fictitious) navy to decisive effect at the Battle of Salamis after her husband's death at the Thermopylai. Considering that 300 is about as historically accurate as its parody, Meet the Spartans, I suppose I should not really go down that path. In the 300 movies, Gorgo is portrayed by the beautiful Lena Headey, now better known as Game of Thrones' Queen Cersei.

Packaging: 3.5/4 stars

The rectangular box opens its front cover to reveal the figure and its accessories in a transparent plastic tray, but you need to open the box from the top (or bottom, I suppose), to get to the goodies inside. Everything is pretty collector friendly. The outside of the box features what appear to be images from the highly stylized film, including Greek hoplites pushing Persian troops off a cliff into the sea, a hillside littered with skulls, and the signature blood spatter effect. All this is with a matte finish, but over it is superimposed a glossy still of Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo. As attractive as this is, in a way it backfires: it provides a glimpse at what the product should look like but it does not -- in terms of the actress' features and even her outfit!

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Sculpting: 3/4 stars

The face sculpt is nice enough in itself, but it does not seem to capture the features of Lena Headey very well. Despite an attempt to pay attention to detail (like the mole on the right of the nose), to my eyes it seems closer to Daisy Ridley (Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy). Looking at images of Lena Headey, it appears to me that the forehead is a bit too tall and vertical, and the face a bit too long. The hair is partly sculpted, partly rooted. The sculpted part of the hair is the front part, around the face. Unfortunately, it is made up of two parts, and the seam line between them is bit more obvious than it should be. The rooted hair is partly held down over the top of the head by sculpted braids, which was nice idea, but once the rooted hair clears the braids, it tends to jut out in an unrealistic manner. Perhaps with enough product one could get it a little more under control. The hair itself is wavy, which is a nice touch and an attempt to replicate the onscreen look.

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The toes of the sandaled feet appear rather naively sculpted, and there isn't much in the way of detail there or on the hands. The shield is pitted to make it look worn and damaged, but only in places, while the sword appears perfectly pristine. The body is partly seamless -- the upper torso including the breasts and arms is one piece, and the elbows and ankles are covered by the flexible rubbery material. While the overall shape is pretty decent, there is woefully little detail -- for example, the very pronounced and fine shoulder blades on the back are nowhere to be seen on the action figure. The seam between the upper and lower torso is quite noticeable every time the top pleather strap on the front of the dress slips down a bit, and that happens a lot.

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Paint: 3/4 stars

The paint is uneven, with some areas very nicely painted, and others very basic or incomplete. The eyes are nicely done, though perhaps not as glossy as they might have been. The lips and eyebrows are very finely painted, though the eyelashes are a bit too simplistic/obvious, while at the same time failing to make the eyes as expressive as those of the actress. The face shows plenty of subtle paint variation and freckling, but that is not extended to the body, except perhaps for a little bit on the neck. Considering how much of the flesh shows, this is not enough. The finger- and toe nails are painted in a rather modern shade of light pink; I don't know if that is movie-accurate or not. The gold or brass color of the earrings and arm band are perhaps a tad dull, as is the rather flat brown of the sculpted part of the hair. Then there are outright mistakes: the face is painted a slightly warmer shade than the body, and the sculpted sandal straps are not completely painted: the narrow sides are left the same color as the feet.

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Articulation: 3/4 stars

The body has very decent articulation which, as so often, is limited by the outfit. Considering what the outfit consists of, this is quite the negative achievement. Shoulder, ankle, neck, abdomen, and waist articulation are great; wrist articulation is more limited. The elbows can bend to a 45 degree angle between upper and lower arm, while the knees can bed to a 90 degree angle between the upper and lower leg. The thigh articulation is more limited, at least in part because of the narrow lower part of the dress. Still, it would be possible to make the figure sit. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to give her wider stances. I do not know what were the functional limitations of the movie costume, but either its costumers or Star Ace are completely ignorant of the nature of ancient Greek clothing, which would have left a long (if concealed) slit on one side of the dress. A better-designed outfit and a better seamless body (like those by Phicen/TBLeague or Jiaou Doll) could have earned this category an easy 4/4.

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Accessories: 3/4 stars

Onscreen, Gorgo does not have much in the way of accessories, so their scarcity with the figure is partly excusable. It also depends on your definition of accessories. There are spare parts: two extra hands, making a total of four (or two pairs) -- the relaxed hands she comes with, and the grip hands you can replace them with. There are a couple of additional items that form part of her costume but come separately in the tray: an arm band and a wolf fang necklace. There is also a standard base and stem action-figure stand with a waist-grip; the stand's base features the 300 logo. Then there are a sword and a shield of the same type as Leonidas'. These accessories are nicely sculpted and fit well into the grip hands, and the shield is easy enough to put on her arm (although its flat inner surface is historically inaccurate). The hands swap easily enough without the need for heating.

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Outfit: 3/4 stars

Gorgo/Lena Headey wore several similar Greek-ish outfits in the movie, not counting the battle-dress at her (fictional) involvement in the Battle of Salamis. One of these outfits is provided with this product. It is visually fairly accurate, and appears to be made of a linen or linen-like cloth. I have already mentioned the unfortunate tight fit of the lower part of the dress, which ruins the leg articulation. There is a long scarf-like extension of the dress that starts from the front left side of the waist, and is intended to wrap around the back of the dress and be held or wrapped around the lower left arm. To keep it wrapped in place there is a button, but additional futzing may be required to get it to "drape" in a more or less realistic fashion. This is all rooted in the film's unrealistic (or unhistorical) rationalization of Greek dress, where the dress (or tunic) itself would have been one piece, and the almost ubiquitous wrap (or fuller-scale cloak), another. Two pleather straps hold the uppermost part of the dress (also an unhistorical design) into place. The straps passing just under the breasts have the tendency to slip down and reveal the seam between the upper and lower and torso of the figure, requiring extra futzing. As mentioned above, you need to place the arm band and wolf fang necklace on the figure, which is easy enough to do. Another minor shortcoming: the wolf fang is so light, that the string it hands from does not hang realistically.

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Fun Factor: 3/4 stars

The articulation limitations get in the way of this figure's potential, but at least she has two buddies to play with: her husband (and uncle!) Leonidas (whether you go for the Hot Toys or Star Ace version) and Themistokles. Of course, a more accurate depiction of the actress would not have hurt. As far as mixing this with more historically-accurate figures (such as the ACI hoplites), that would depend on your tolerance for lack of realism or accuracy. Of course, Star Ace was depicting a movie character, not a real and realistic Spartan queen.

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Value: 2/4 stars

This depends on how much you pay for the figure. There are still places (check eBay) where you can find it for under $200, but they are few and far between; in most places she sells for $220-290. That is Hot Toys pricing, and even though Hot Toys itself is not always flawless, this product is not really in the same category. So, for the most part, I would say she is quite overpriced.

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Things to watch out for

Nothing unusual. Be gentle with the hair, a few little strands became detached here and there. The figure managed to fall on its face a few times during posing and photographing, and unless I am imagining it, got a little blemish on its nose. I think she also developed a small stain on one shoulder -- but how remains a mystery.

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Overall: 3/4 stars

This is a very decent, even good figure, but it is not great. The imperfect likeness, the uneven paint job, the partly limited articulation, are all noticeable, and a significant factor especially at this relatively high price point. Unless you are a completist or a kitbasher or just like the appearance of the figure, you might be disappointed in one or more of these areas. Whether that keeps you from getting this figure is, of course, up to you.

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What do you think?



#productreview #starace #gorgo #300 #ancient #film #female
Search in: General Talk  Topic: Product Review Star Ace Queen Gorgo  Replies: 38  Views: 1180

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