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In-Box Review
Roman Centurion I.Cent.A.D
Roman Centurion I.Century A.D
  • 9015-26

by: Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]

general info

The Roman Army was made up of men from all over the Empire, no women were allowed to join. The only job of these men was to fight and defend Rome. They could not see their families for years and they could not marry their girl friends until they left the army. But the wages were good and there were other benefits such as a payment of land or money when they retired. Sons often followed their fathers into the army. These professional soldiers of the Roman Army who would have to stay in the army for at least 25 years are called Legionaries. Each troop of about 80 legionaries( may differ 60 to 100) was called a Century. There were 59 centuries in a legion and about 30 legions in the Roman army. There were also other soldiers called auxiliaries who included the cavalry.

Legionaries wore armour made from overlapping iron bands called Lorica Segmentata and a metal helmet on his head. They carried a short sword - Gladius for stabbing, and a throwing spear - Pilum. Pilum was made with sharp iron points and softer metal shafts behind. When the spear hit an enemy's shield it bent making it very difficult to pull out. The spear shaft would drag on the ground and trip up the enemy who would then have to throw his shield away. They also carried a large rectangular shield - Scutum which curved around his body. They marched into battle in a flexible line with their shields next to each other. If the enemy shot arrows at them, the legionaries in the rows behind the front line would lift their shields over their heads like a roof to protect them. This was called a Testudo, which means tortoise. The legionaries were expected to march 20 miles a day wearing armour, carrying their own shield, some food and camping equipment.

about the figure

Each century in Roman army legions was commanded by a Centurion. Besides being brave, clever and skilled to fight; some other qualification were needed to become a Centurion. He must be over 30 years old, have a social status and good education and a few recommendation letters from important people were helpful to get the status. In addition to command the century, they were tasked to train, give awards and punish( even an execution) to their legionaries. Centurions had the privilege of choosing his second in command - Optio, riding on horseback during marches and live in the garrison with their families if they will be let to marry. On the other side; they were responsible for their men during battle, and led from the front, fighting alongside their soldiers. Their increased prominence put them at higher risk, and casualty levels for centurions were correspondingly high.

The Roman centurion was distinguished by his typical uniform. As the well known Lorica segmentata armor came into use among legionaires, Centurions continued to wear chainmail armor like auxillaries, standard bearers and musicians. He carried his gladius on his left as the legionaries were allowed to carry it on the right side. He also carried a short wooden vine stick named as Vitis or more properly Bacillum Viteum as a symbol of authority and also a punishment tool. It was elastic and knotty to inflict more pain.

The figure represents a Roman Centurion on I.Century A.D. on a commanding pose, holding a short sword-gladius and a large rectangular shield-scutum.

The figure comes in 210 x 155 x 40 mm.standard big size Romeo Models light blue cardboard box. The front cover shows 2 photos of the figure painted by Italian master painter Danilo Cartacci – right view and left view .

Inside the box, there is an A4 paper sheet including detailed historical info about Roman Centurion and painting instructions of the figure. This document is represented in 2 languages; Italian and English. The historical research of this figure and preparation of the text is made by Giuseppe Marseglia and translated by Riccardo Carrabino.

Parts are well protected between two slabs of thick white polyfoam and figure base is placed under the polyfoam not to damage the figure parts.

The figure is sculpted by Russian master sculptor Victor Konnov and made up of 12 white metal parts. All parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details. There is only a little need to clean up a few slightly visible seamlines.

The main part is full body with legs. He wears a chainmail armor named Lorica Hamata over his short sleeved neckless tunic. Another coat named Subarmalis is worn between tunic and armor. As the well known Roman armor Lorica segmentata came into use, Centurions continued to wear chainmail armor. Chainmail was silvered and generally about waist length with a curved lower edge in imitation of the classic bronze muscled cuirass. The decorations and awards are prominently on his torso in battle, to show his bravery to friend and foe alike. Attached to the subarmalis were the rows of flaps called Pteruges, generally two rows at the bottom and one row at the shoulder. They can be straight or with fringed ends. Chain mail, decorations on torso, leather straps and flaps, fringes are well defined on the figure. The cloak is attached on the right shoulder with an oval metal brooch called Fibulae. He carries a well decorated belt named Balteus or Cingulum with no groin guard.
Long metal greaves- shin guards cover the front of the leg from the ankle to above the knee and are held on by straps and buckles.covers. He wears standard Roman army heavy leather sandals named Caligae. These military sandals were as important as armour, because the legions won wars by fast marches as much as by battle. They were strong and well-ventilated. with patterns of iron hobnails especially designed to take weight and withstand miles of marching. All details are very clean and crisp on the body part.

Other parts are ;

  • Cloak : He wears a rectangular, blanket sized, hoodless cloak named Sagum. The cloth folds are well defined and it makes a good fit to the body part. Centurions were authorized to wear red or white cloaks as the legionaries should wear earthy shade of brown, from yellow-brown to rust.

  • Head : Sculpted in nice facial details; it makes a very good fit to the helmet and also to the neck part of the figure. There are 2 holes on the temples to attach the face/cheek guards. He wears a scarf or foulard - Focale on his neck. The tied strap of the cheek guards under the chin is well represented

  • Helmet : He wears a Gallic type helmet with a long neckguard and cheek guards. The trimming on the edges and other details are well defined.

  • Crest : Centurions wore typical transversal ear-to-ear crest named Crista transversa on their helmets which allow their legionnaries to recognise them in the thick of the fight . It is made of horse hair or feathers. The crest is given as a seperate part in the kit . Crest holder makes a good fit to the hole on the top of helmet. The feathers of the crest are well defined.

  • Face guards : Two cheek guards shows good details and must be attached to the holes on the face.

  • Right arm : He carries a Roman short sword on the right hand. Though there are some more times of short sword, the one in this figure looks like a Mainz pattern short sword called Gladius Hispaniensis, since it was supposedly copied from a Spanish sword in the Punic War era. Both edges are sharp for cutting and triangular tip is for stabbing. It has a wooden hilt with a round pommel. The right forearm is covered with a lamellar overlapping metal protector like lorica segmentata. The leather flaps and fringes are well represented. The ring on the hand is a very nice touch.

  • Left arm : Posed to hold the rectangular shield – scutum. Two holes on the arm makes the shield assembly easier and correct fit. Fringes and straps are well defined.

  • Scabbard : Unlike the legionaries should carry their swords on right , centurions were allowed to carry swords on the left side. They were made of wood covered with thin leather and were decorated with a frame made of brass or iron. The scabbard shows good details and makes good fit to the hole on the right waist.

  • Dagger : He carries a Roman Pugio dagger; a leaf shaped blade with a centered rib, on the right waist. Besides being a lethal weapon; it was a utility knife. Most items of Roman military equipment were decorated to some degree, but it was the pugio scabbard that the individual soldier paid most attention to. The amount and nature of this decoration appears to have been determined by the amount of money the legionary was prepared to pay, thus reflecting his pride and wealth. The sculpting and casting of this piece is incredibly good.

  • Shield : He carries a Scutum on the right hand. It is a rectangular or semi-cylinderic wooden large shield which covers the front anf the sides of the wielder. The metal boss and interior detials of the shield are well defined.

  • Figure base : Nice ground texture and a few small rocks makes it a good base. Two holes makes the assembly easier and stronger.

    Osprey Publishing Warrior Series No.71 Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69

    Osprey Publishing Warrior Series No.72 Imperial Roman Legionary AD 161 - 284

    Osprey Publishing Men-At-Arms Series No.46 The Roman Army from Caesar to Trajan

    Osprey Publishing Men-At-Arms Series No.93 The Roman Army from Hadrian to Constantine

    And 2 excellent reference websites;

    Legion XXIV

    Legion XX

    Clean casting, ease on assembly and a very unique subject sculpted in extra good details. I believe it will a pleasure to paint this figure for all , not only for Roman Army fans .

    Very Highly Recommended

    Highs: Perfect sculpt and cast. The torso awards and decorations are cast together with the body and makes the assembly very easier. The details on the dagger scabbard are awesome.
    Lows: It is not a low but for my personal taste, I would prefer a more detailed figure base....and be careful to add pins on bigger parts when working with 90 mm figures.
    Verdict: Absolutely a very nice figure sculpted in elegant details by Konnov and casted perfect in Romeo quality.
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 90mm
      Mfg. ID: RM 90-15
      Suggested Retail: 74.50EUR
      PUBLISHED: Jan 02, 2008
      THIS REVIEWER: 92.20%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.18%

    Our Thanks to Romeo Models!
    This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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    About Engin Kayral (Graywolf)

    Born in 1962,married and having 2 sons. I started modelling about 8 years old building USS Fletcher with mom. It was a model dad brought from USA., I think in those days only a few people in Turkey had info on scale model kits. Grown as an AF officer son , I built many aircraft models in years. Som...

    Copyright ©2021 text by Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


    Nice review. Thanks Engin
    JAN 02, 2008 - 08:27 AM
    What a wonderful figure; the pose and the details... the box art is fantastic. Thanks for the review Engin, Mario.
    JAN 02, 2008 - 09:48 PM
    Beautiful piece and a masterful review . Thanks Engin !!
    JAN 03, 2008 - 12:52 AM
    Beautiful figure, I wonder why the Centurion wore his sword on the left as the scutum makes it very difficult to draw. Much easier to have the sword on the right, as the blade is short enough to allow it to be drawn quickly without causing problems for anyone standing next to you. David
    JAN 03, 2008 - 10:29 PM
    Hi David, As I know ; centurions do not carry scutum/shield in general. IMO, the figure is represented with a shield to make it more attractive as painted and to give an impression he is on the battle field.... the answer to your question was on the LegioXV homepage ; Although most people today prefer left-side hanging, the combined effect of the armour and the legionaries' big scuta would prevent drawing from the left side. Only the centurion wear the sword at the "blind" left side, a sign that his job is to lead the troops, not fight himself. bestest regards
    JAN 03, 2008 - 10:57 PM
    Hi Engin I was speaking from personal experience about drawing the sword on the right side of the body The armour isn't really a hindrance to drawing the sword either on the left or right side, it's not good practice to draw the sword inside the shield arm. And you certainly can't draw the sword over the shield. The manica (segmented armour) on the sword arm might have been worn to protect against the Dacian falx in the wars of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, though IIRC the surviving examples (like nearly all Roman armour) are poorly dated. So it's possible it may have appeared earlier on. All the best David
    JAN 04, 2008 - 12:07 AM
    Hi David, Happy New Year, mate! Check out Dr. Mike's response to a similar question on MedRom: Roman swords HTH Rudi
    JAN 04, 2008 - 01:09 AM
    Happy New Year to you too Rudi! Small world! Despite us being from the same home town I don't recall ever meeting Mike Thomas, though our paths must have come very close at points (specially the Legionary Musueum in Caerleon). But we evidently have similar ideas on some things (but not on topics like the colours of legionary clothing.....) The quick-draw was always one of the fun parts of my time working as a costumed interpreter in the museum - that and picking out people to demonstrate the use of the edge and boss of the shield on. University lecturers were a popular choice, specially once we'd had the why the pilum really bent disagreement David
    JAN 04, 2008 - 01:39 AM

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