Agema Miniatures first came to widespread attention with their range of 28mm plastic models for the Republican Roman period. However, like most manufacturers they also have metal miniatures for sale. Today’s review concerns their Triarii and Princepes character packs, both £6 for four models (plus metal shields) from the website listed above. In the tradition of Wargames Foundry, these are designed to add spice to the rank and file rather than replace command sections.
The models are an average of 27mm from foot to eye, though given the variance in the height of their stances this number is somewhat arbitrary and misleading. They are tall but slender, so their realistic proportions should see them fit in with lots of different sizes of range. The Triarii are sculpted in their traditional role as a reserve, leaning on their shields in a confident manner. The Princepes are much more dynamic, and are clearly in the battleline. The sculpting and casting are top notch in both sets. The animation and detail is superb, and crisply, cleanly realised. The only appreciable flash I found was around the shields which, like nearly all ancient shields I have come across, have no wood grain on the back. Hands are often a dealbreaker for me, but Agema’s sculptor has done an excellent job on these too.
So, the Princepes, the principle men of the ancient Roman army. Two of them are holding greek-style kopis in the air, and a third is drawing a gladius. The fourth man is hefting a pilum, ready to throw. All of them wear the classic Roman chainmail, in the style of the Greek linothorax. A Greek influence is obvious on their headgear too. These tunicked, sandalled men have quite dramatic feathers on their helmets – a historically accurate nod to the semi-barbarian nature of the Roman army at this time. They all wear greaves on their left – forward – leg, cementing their look as part of a shieldwall. Of course given their dynamic poses, they would also be excellent miniatures include in a skirmish game – Song of Dust and Shadow springs to mind as a specifically Ancient option.
As heavy infantry, the older Triarii also wear left leg greaves. Their armour betrays more of a Italian influence than that of the Princepes, with a mix of breastplate, lamellar, linen and scale armour. They and their long spears are single piece casts, which will please those who prefer convenience and upset those who, like me, are prone to getting white metal spears bent all out of shape. They have been designed to be usable not only as Triarii, but as old-fashioned second line troops among your Princepes, or even Latin Extraordinarii – the personal bodyguards of the Consul leading an allied army.
Overall, these are very lovely models and I really like them. Combined with the low price of their plastics and the continued popularity of games like War & Conquest or Hail Caesar, there is no reason not to get a small – or large! – Republican Roman army from Agema in the very near future.