February 19, 2013

REVIEW - Roman Signifer


SUBJECT

Roman Signifer
Pegaso Models - Ref. 90-057
90 mm - Metal
Sculpted by Ebroin
Box art painted by Diego Ruina

This recent Pegaso Models' figure (ref. 90/057) joined the ranks of my grey army just a few weeks ago. It was a gift from a friend who unselfishly wanted to part from such a beautiful (and pricey) figure. Something for which I am utterly grateful of course.


Admittedly the Roman Signifer is a subject that has been done already more than once but most versions are in 54 mm or 75 mm. To my knowledge only Miniaturas Andrea has released a Signifer in 90 mm. So although the theme is far from original, in the end this Pegaso edition certainly deserves its place in any Roman collection if only for its size and the degree of detail that comes with it.

The figure comes in the well-known Pegaso Models' package which offers excellent protection to its content. Sculpted by Ebroin the box art of the Signifer has been done by Diego Ruina, respectively a new and a veteran wonder boy affiliated with this Sienese manufacturer.

THE PARTS

Let us now take a closer look at the 31 parts - base included - that make up the figure, starting with the components that constitute the main body together with the helmet's cheek guards and the groin protection with its metal studs and pendants. This last part fits securely into a slot positioned at the front of the belt.


The observant viewer will have noticed that both hands are lacking on this photo. This is no oblivion from my part but the right and left hands are casted to the sword hilt and the standard respectively, which is in my opinion the best option.

I did a little measuring and the figure stands 120 mm tall, with the lion hood included. Without the cape this is still 105 mm to the top of the helmet. Considering these sizes it is a rather big 90 mm figure indeed.


A close up of the face and helmet. This is a reproduction of the Imperial-Gallic type - or Weisenau type - which probably came into use in the first century AD during Augustus' reign and was derived from Celtic helmet designs. Most of them were made of iron with brass fittings and decorations. Important features were the deeper and broader sloping neck guard, the cut-outs in the bowl for the ears and the large cheek pieces.


The scale armour deserves a closer look too. The figure's scales have a width of 1 mm and are 1,5 mm tall. Archeological findings show that on the average these scales measurements were about 12,7 mm wide and 25,4 mm tall. Recalculated for a 90 mm figure each scale should have a width of approximately 0,63 mm and a lenght of 1,27 mm. In theorie this means that the scales are too big but as already mentioned the figure is standing taller than 90 mm on itself already (see my comments above). Secondly, and maybe more importantly, scale armour came in many different smaller and bigger sizes. So in my humble opinion the scale armour of the model looks just fine as it is. The photos show that its casting is top rate with every individual scale nicely rendered.


The lion head and pelt with the animal's claws, tail and 'dentures'. These teeth seem to be too large compared with those of the real animal. On the average the lion's canines are between 6 to 8 cm long although larger examples have been recorded. Nevertheless I believe that downsizing the canines a little will make them more credible; an operation that should not be too hard.

Secondly there is the animal's tail. On the photos of the painted master the tail is positioned almost pointing upwards. Of course the sculptor did that to enhance the impression of movement, the tail being swept up by the wind, but the more ambiguous amongst us might see something completely different in it... So I suggest to bend the tail slightly down with its tassel pointing to the right, more or less following the curve of the left paw hanging next to it.


A front view of the lion head with its manes.


Over to the sword with the cast on right hand and its finely embossed scabbard, the dagger, the round shield and the carrying belt. Obviously and only by the look of it, the infamous Roman stabbing sword - even in this scale - must have been a terrifying weapon in the hands of a well trained legionary. The figure's sword is a representation of the so-called gladius Hispaniensis, also known as the Mainz type. Typical features were the tapered blade and the long point.

Archeaological representational evidence always show the Signifer carrying a smaller and round shield. No doubt the combination of the big and heavy rectangular shield of the common legionary together with the standard, would have been too cumbersome while on the march, and even more so during battle.


The Signifer's standard with all its bling bling. Note that the plate is not engraved with any number so the choice of the legion is all yours.

Some of the standard's accessories and the left hand holding it are cast in place. The rest of the parts have to be fixed piece by piece. I am very glad that the standard is engineered like this because I intend to replace the stick by brass rod anyway. This will not only add to its strenght but it is nearly impossible to straighten a soft metal rod and to keep it that way.


The last part: a simple base plate. Not much to say about that.


MY PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS

At first sight and as we all have come to expect from Pegaso Models, all parts are well casted. Of course there are a few mold lines that will have to be removed prior to painting but all in all cleaning up will be minimal. One thing is clear also: the Pegaso atelier has done its best to hide the joints of the main components by other overlying parts - the concept of a nice lasagne, so to speak. Pegaso Models is an Italian company after all... Anyway, this is another piece of clever engineering and I really do not foresee any major problems during the construction of the figure although painting of some parts prior to attaching them will be necessary. Nothing that will scare off an experienced figure painter. 

As mentioned there are some issues with the dimensions of the lion's teeth, and if you want to avoid sexually tinted jokes then I advise to reposition the tail too. But these are little problems which can be fixed very easy and never can be a reason to discard this impressive figure with its agressive attitude.

So though a Roman Signifer is not an original subject in the world of figures, I still can recommend it warmly  if you are ready to part from a nice sum of money. We all know that 90 mm figures do not come cheap. Therefore I praise myself very lucky to have such an incredibly generous friend.  


BOX ART PHOTOS


(c) Pegaso Models - Painted by Diego Ruina

(c) Pegaso Models - Painted by Diego Ruina


(c) Pegaso Models - Painted by Diego Ruina


(c) Pegaso Models - Painted by Diego Ruina



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