To the left is a picture from the First Legion website of the latest addition to my miniatures collection. It was a Christmas gift my son and daughter-in-law.
My other Roman figures from the period represented are from King and Country and they are fine figures, but frankly this Centurion from First Legion has them beat in quality.
Having said that, it’s also honest to point out the price differential. The First Legion figure prices out at nearly twice the price that the King and Country one did.
In fact, the reason I had not purchased the First Legion figure and had to get it as a gift was due to the price.
I’m a relative novice when it comes to collecting military miniatures in the 54mm-60mm range but one thing is true; the higher the quality, the higher the cost. This means your budget will drive your favorite collections which is why I have a couple of dozen figures by King and Country and only one from First Legion.
But this brief piece is about more than stating the obvious. One of things I really liked when I received the First Legion Centurion was what it reminded me of. I had recently bought myself a Christmas present and that Christmas present was a subscription to Ancient Warfare Magazine.
To say that I enjoy the magazine is an understatement. It’s the perfect blend of scholarship, graphics and everything of interest that archaeology has uncovered or is uncovering. And that’s what struck me about the First Legion Centurion. He looks remarkably like the cover of Ancient Warfare’s special issue on the Battle of the Teutoberg Wald or as the magazine puts it The Varian Disaster.
The magazine cover features a full-color rendition of a Centurion, surrounded by German tribesmen. Near the Centurion lies a dying Signifer his standard lying in the foreground. It is this brave officer’s last fight.
Remarkable with the First Legion Centurion is the careful reproduction of the Centurions awards he wears on his chest. The medals can be seen on the cover of the magazine as well. A close-up of the figure will show embossed phalerae, medallions worn on a harness over the Centurion’s mailed shirt. Each medallion is for personal bravery in a previous engagement.
Casualty rates among Centurions (about 60 per legion) were high. This is because they were expected to lead from the front and had won their medallions from doing so.
Three legions were destroyed in the Varian Disaster and among the dead would be 179 more Centurions like the one on the cover.
First Legion’s figure is a tribute to a brave man and courageous leader.