I backed the War and Empire kickstarter campaign by Forged in Battle a while ago, which was very successful, and ended up with quite a lot of figures as a result which arrived a month or two ago. Since the figures are now about to appear on the open market, I thought I’d do a quick review of them. I’ll add pics here and there throughout this post of the figures, starting with the ones I’ve painted so far (still on their painting sticks).
The figures are all 15mm, and look fine alongside my Corvus Belli and Donnington 15mm figures. As with Old Glory and Blue Moon, they come in fairly large packs (24 infantry, 12 cavalry, 8 camelry, 2 Elephants or large chariots, 3 small chariots), with a variety of poses.
The number of poses per pack varies quite a bit – my Graeco-Bactrian pike only have a couple of poses, whereas some of the cavalry packs almost have a full complement of unique poses. In some cases there’s only a bit of difference between some of the poses, but there’s still enough variety that I’m happy with the result.
I’ll be basing these for Sword and Spear / Impetus, so 80mm bases in width, and either 20mm (for skirmishers), 40mm (other infantry) or 60mm (cavalry, elephants, pike blocks) in depth. I’m aiming for around 3 cavalry for Light Horse, 4-5 cavalry for Cavalry, one elephant and a few hangers on for Elephant bases, 4 infantry for Skirmishers, 8-10 for Medium and Heavy Foot, and around 24 for Pike blocks. That gets me a lot of units for my figures.
Quite a few of the poses available are fairly static, at least in the packs I bought, which means fewer bits to break off (though a few of my spearmen have lost the tops of their spears). Pikemen comes with open hands, so you can add your own pike. I do have a few figures waving their weapons around in a more active pose though.
There wasn’t much flash on these figures at all, just a few bits of venting that were easily removed. I did spend a little while evening up the bases, not so much because of flash as because they are quite small compared to other ranges and so were more likely to topple over if not entirely level, but that didn’t take too long either.
I ended up buying quite a few bags to take advantage of the special kickstarter price, and swapped half a bag of Numidian Cavalry and Roman Cavalry with my old mate Ernie (in return for some Cretan Bow and Slingers and some Roman Velites), which in the end meant I had enough figures to field not one, not two, but three armies for Sword and Spear, with enough units to ensure I had choices too for 600 point armies for each force.
I ended up with Graeco-Bactrians, which I’ve been wanting to do for ages and which are good for any Successor-era battle, and a matching set of Later Carthaginians and Mid-Republican Romans, so that if any of my mates want to try Sword and Spear but don’t have an army, they can borrow one and we can have a decent historical match up. That way I won’t just be using my HYW armies all the time.
I’m interspersing pictures of the packs I bought throughout this post, as you have probably notices. I ended up buying 20 packs altogether, plus the freebie kickstarter figures, so have quite a bit of painting to do. Some, like the Campanians and Thureophoroi, I intend to split and use as allies for several of my armies. I can also use the Spanish Scutarii and Gauls as part of my Carthaginian and Roman armies (with enough units that both armies can field them at once).
I decided to paint up some Velites for my Romans to start with, since I only had 12 figures to do (which would give me 3 units of Velites for Sword and Spear), and I’m pretty happy with them. The variety of figures in the pack meant that I didn’t have any doubled poses on each base, which is something I always try to avoid if possible, except for large units where it’s inevitable. I always prefer a variety of poses in my units rather than uniform poses, even with armies where drill and equipment meant uniformity was prized.
The figures themselves are really nice to paint, with plenty of detail that’s easy to pick out. I started with a dark grey gesso undercoat, then worked from the inside out – so flesh first, then tunics, then wolfskins, helmets, weapons and shields. The figures took the paint well, didn’t lose any detail, and ended up looking pretty good (for my painting skills, anyway – I’ve seen other people make masterpieces of these figures). I’m certainly happy with my end result anyway.
I’d rate these figures as better than Old Glory and Essex (the industry standard in my opinion), about on a par with the Corvus Belli figures I have. They’re certainly a lot more even in size than the various ranges from Xyston, and the sculpting isn’t far from their (very high) standard.
For the Graeco-Bactrians, which Forged in Battle didn’t initially offer until I whined, I’m using packs from several of their ranges. The Bactrian cavalry come from their Late Achaemenid Persian range, for example.
For Iranian / Eastern Lancers or Cataphracts, I’m using Parthian Cataphracts. because I whined so thoroughly, Firged in Battle decided to do two packs of Graeco-Bactrian pike (one with pike held at the ready, one standing), which I’m thoroughly pleased with (they have the proper Graeco-Bactrian helmet and everything). I bought 2 packs of each (the only packs I doubled up on), in order to field 4 large units of pike, each consisting of 24 figures. Hopefully other people will buy this range as well, since there aren’t a lot of good options for Graeco-Bactrian pike out there.
I’m really quite impressed with these figures, in all. They’re inexpensive, they have some nice detail, paint up well (and easily). When it comes time to expand to another army, I’ll likely look to Forged in Battle first, and if they do more 15mm historical kickstarters, I’ll be sure to join in. These figures (and many more in the Ancients range) are now available at Forged in Battle. They come highly recommended with the Lemming Seal of Approval.