12" Roman Imperial Legionary

With films like Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Troy, and others becoming popular in recent years, there's been an upswing in interest in ancient warriors. Ignite has been stepping up to produce museum quality sixth scale figures of some of the most interesting, and deadly, of these fighters.

They've done a ton already, and they're newest release is the Roman Imperial Legionary from the 1st Century A.D. Ignite prides itself on the quality of the outfit and accessories, and their historical accuracy. They also use quite a bit of die cast metal in making the various accessories, which is fairly unique in the current market.

All that quality and steel comes at a price though, and Ignite's figures are always more expensive then the competition, unless you find yourself a good deal on the net. The suggested retail on the figure in tonight's review is $75, but you can probably find it around $60 if you shop around wisely.

Packaging -  ****
Ignite does a nice job providing historical text on the boxes, along with some nice graphics. The boxes are also completely collector friendly, and you can very easily return the figure to his plastic coffin if you so wish, with no real damage to the box or insert.

Sculpting - ***
I was rough on Ignite's last figure when it came to the head sculpt, which was soft and weirdly proportioned. No such problems this time around, with a much better looking Roman.

Ah, but who is he? Ignite likes to base their head sculpts off actors most of the time, and we've seen the likes of Orlando Bloom, Sean Connery and Russell Crowe in past Ignite head sculpts. I'm not quite sure who this is, although he looks familiar. Pierce Brosnan with a beard, perhaps?

The detailing isn't quite as strong as some of the competition, but the expression works well. He's steeled to the task, but not yelling like a monkey.

The hands are sculpted in traditional grasping style, and he can hold most of the accessories pretty well.

Paint - ***
Another area that took a lot of flak from me on the last Ignite review was the paint. That's not a major issue this time, with a much cleaner application, and no odd skin tones.

The skin and hair color is consistent, and the hairline very clean. The eyes are straight and even, and the paint ops work well with the serious expression.

The paint work on the accessories is even better, but that will be included in the score for that category.

Articulation - ***1/2
The Ignite body has all the articulation for the current industry standard, but doesn't go beyond that. I wish the ball jointed neck had a little better range of movement, and the wrists are still fairly 1970's in their design. Still, the joints were nice and tight, and he was very capable of holding the heavy metal accessories in a variety of poses, and standing great on his own.

Outfit - ***1/2
The outfit consists of his metal helmet, plastic cuirass, cloth tunic and skirt (and yes, he's going commando just like any manly man), sandals and decorated belt. This belt has metal rivets and bling bling attached, giving him some color and pomp.

You've seen these sandals before, but that's not too surprising, since it's a fairly standard appearance for the Greeks and Romans of the time. The helmet will look familiar, but I don't believe we've gotten this exact model before, and it's very well built and quite heavy.

I was a bit surprised that the cuirass is plastic and not metal (they used a very thin metal for the cuirass on the Greek Hoplite), but considering the complexity of the item and the size, it would have probably been both cost and weight prohibitive. The plastic works pretty well, and they did a nice job getting the color and finish to match up with the actual metal helmet.

There are actually two more belts, one for each bladed weapon. The sword belt wraps perfectly around the shoulders, while the knife belt goes around the waist on the outside of the armor.

Accessories - ***1/2
Warriors need weapons, and Ignite always comes through. This Roman has two spears, a long sword and sheath, a short sword (or knife) with sheath, and a full sized shield to protect his sensitive parts.

The majority of the die cast metal is used in the accessories, such as the spear tips, or the sword blades. It's a good quality metal, and the heft and feel of the weapons is great.

The large shield can be held in either hand, and protects the body from the slings and arrows of his opponent. The swords fit nicely in their sheaths, and the general quality of the accessories is excellent.

There is reuse here however, so the shield, sword, knife, one of the spears, etc. might look a tad familiar. Some are identical to previous releases, others have slight changes. This kind of reuse does hurt them with the die hard historians, who will be quick to point out that this is at times not accurate.

Fun Factor - *1/2
These figures are lovely to look at and nice to hold, but if you give it to your kids, the cat won't get old. Because little johnny will skewer him with the spears and swords.

This doesn't weight much against the overall score for me though, since I understand that these are meant as historically accurate display figures, not toys for my young son.

Value - **
These are at the top end of the sixth scale market, and without a license, they are a much tougher sell at this kind of price. But if you can snag him for down around $60 or so, you can add another half star, considering the high quality die cast metal parts.

Things to watch out for - 
There's not much. I'd be careful with the thin metal tip to the one spear, as it is bends quite easily, and will break if you do that enough times. But otherwise, the quality and construction are rugged enough to survive normal handling, and there's no tricks to any aspect of the figure.

Overall -  ***
I was rough on Ignite's last release, because the head sculpt was soft and the paint job ugly. Those things are out of character for the company, so it was surprising to see. This Roman is much more in line with what you expect, and while he's awfully expensive, he is a great version of a great warrior.

I'm really looking forward to their next release, the Roman Vexillum Legio X Gemina, because the guy wears a wolf skin on his head. Just how cool is that! It was a look I was seriously considering for work, but after the gerbil pelt derby received less than enthusiastic comments, I gave up on the idea.

Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value - **
Overall -  ***

Where to Buy -
You can buy the Hoptite directly from Ignite for $75, or hit your favorite online sixth scale dealer. Shop around and you should be able to find him for as little as $60.

Related Links -
I've reviewed quite a few of the past Ignite figures, including:

- there's the Viking Bowman, German Knight, Knight of Outremer, Crusader and Viking, Gladiator, Greek Hoplite, and my favorite, the Napolean Guard.

- Dragon has also done some early warriors, including the barbarian Atilla and the viking Olaf.

- and of course Sideshow has their Vlad the Impaler from a similar time frame.

- and if you want to check out Ignite's upcoming product, hit their website for details.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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