Victrix Athenian Hoplites

I managed to get my eager paws on a sprue of Victrix Athenian Hoplites, scheduled for release in the first week of June.  Of all of the Greek hoplite releases in the last couple of years, this was one upon which I had the highest expectation.  As there are three further sets of hoplites to be released – Spartan, Theban and Mercenary – it is important that this first offering is top drawer.  The box set will be £22.95 for 48 models and you'll be able to order them from the Great Escape Games shop soon.  We'll also have a couple of deals for buying multiple boxes. 

Over the next week I am going to assemble a few of the hoplites and get one painted so we can all have a good look at them.

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Below are four shots of the sprue, each focussed on a section so that you may examine the models.  I split the sprue into 4 sections so you can get a close-up look at the models.  Two of these quarters are body/spear shield, one is right arms and the other is heads.  Just click on the photo and a larger one will appear in a new window.

There are 8 hoplites on each sprue, 4 different poses.  Three wear the linen cuirass and one sports a muscle cuirass.  Three have greaves, one does not.  Two of the poses have one foot forward, as if they are pressing against the enemy shields. Two have the left arm moulded into the body (which will reduce your assembly time quite a bit). The inside of the shield has good detail and look well-sized at 15mm diameter.  The spears are well proportioned with a well-sized butt spike a strapping around the shaft, each is about 5cm long.  Various sheathed blades are included if you wish to add that extra level of detail to your models (personally I never add these bits).  A nice touch is that the separate left arms have the strapping of the shield moulded into the hand.

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On the next section of the sprue are three arms holding swords, eight right arms, one left arm and a hand holding a sword for simple conversions.  Also included are two shield curtains, used affixed to the bottom of the shield as protection from missiles.  There is quite a variety of right arm positions and it will be interesting to see how much variation I will be able to get out of them. 

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Next is a shot of the first section from behind, followed by the last section of the sprue. We have a cloak, horn arm, a left and a right arm, crests and (you can’t quite see it in the photo, a left arm holding a helmet – very nice!  There are eight heads with a variety of helmets (including one with a mask) and one unhelmeted one. 

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Mould lines are minimal and the detail is sharp. My initial impression is very high indeed. These are lovely models and will be quick to assemble for plastics.  Each model can be built out of between four (e.g. body, head, sword arm, shield) and seven parts (e.g. body, head, helmet crest, right arm, spear, left arm, shield).  That’s probably as good as it gets if you want to maintain the variety and modelling possibilities that most gamers do.  My only criticism is that the set could benefit from having a couple of extra heads, but it’s a minor gripe considering the overall quality of these models.  Next blog post will look at cleaning and assembly.

Here are a couple of shots comparing various hoplite manufacturers:

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Left to right: Wargames Foundry, Wargames Factory, Victrix, Warlord/Immortal

 

Onto some more assembly!  In the box there is a handy flyer which gives a brief history and a guide to putting the figures together.  Each component has a code (H3, B2, etc.) and the guide tells you which parts go with which body - very handy. Please note that I did not glue the shield in place for the figures and, for some of them, have not yet glued the spear in (sorry about the white-tac that is visible).  The first batch I did as if they were advancing with purpose at the front of the phalanx. I think they will be very easy, with a little planning, to rank up into units.  I like the look of the hoplite preparing a possible thrust at a downward angle, so I did two like this and two with spears level.

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There are numerous combinations and a very healthy mix of possible poses.  I like the distinguished looking dude with the sword on the left; he may be an officer type so I wanted him to look as though he was stationary, perhaps taking a moment to asses the situation before adding his weight to the fight.  The second gets a kopis and is advancing, perhaps a front ranker after having lost his spear. Next we have the helmet holding arm that I previously mentioned.  Enjoyed doing this one and I want to see someone doing a whole rank of hoplites at ease, some holding helmets, some with them pushed back on their heads, just like the final model. I love the way the spear rests on his shoulder and his hand bracing the weight of the shield.  This guy is taking the chance for rest before his phalanx is ordered into action.

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Well, I had to get some paint on them. Besides, the waste of money that is the jubilee was coming and I'll be away working then off to Normandy for a nose around, so this weekend is my last opportunity to get some painting done for a while. All refernces are to Vallejo colours.  I painted the whole thing Charred Brown then picked out the skin with Tan.  The bronze was painted with a mix of Brass and a touch of Charred brown, highlighted by adding Natural Steel.

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Flat Brown highlighted by adding a bit of Red Leather and white was used for the belts and pteruges. The tunic was done in Khaki Grey and the spear in Earth mixed with white and a bit of black. I then gave it a quick wash with Umber and Skin Wash.  Her'es a shot of the progress with a Warlord phalangite (left) and an Old Glory Hellenistic officer (right).  The Old Glory figure isn't upright so the comparison may be a bit misleading. The second shot is with a more stiff-backed Old Glory figure.

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Skin was finished off with Tan, followed by a Tan/Medium Fleshtone mix, then a couple of successive layers by adding white. The tunic was highlighted with Khaki Grey lightened by white.

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And here's the finished figure, complete with shield transfer and base decoration for which I used two-colour tufts summer and a bit of oak foliage summer.  Images are of the same figure from the front, left, rear and right.  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

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