Khurusan Miniatures Review

khurusan02sA Quick and Dirty Review of Some 15mm Romans. First, the background. Way back in 1981, I happened to be flicking through a mate’s copy of the old WRG “Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome”. I was rather taken by Phil Barker’s illustrations of the various Late Roman shield designs from the Notitia Dignitatum. When the book was republished later that year, I grabbed it, and continued picking up information relating to the Roman Army of the second half of the Fourth Century AD.


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Fast forward to 2008. Despite trying every 15, 18, 25 and 28mm range of Late Romans that came my way, I’m still not satisfied. Some have got a bit of what I want, whilst the only ones I’ve truly been happy with (the Foundry’s 28mm range) are simply out of my price range. All too often the ranges have “Legionary” figures clad in the leather “muscle cuirass” depicted by Barker, with no infantry whatever in mail or scale armour. Whilst I’m not prepared to categorically deny the existence of the leather armour (I have seen photos of sculptures which appear to depict them), I cannot believe that metallic infantry armour had entirely disappeared.

In 2008 a new company, Khurasan Miniatures (http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/), emerged with a spate of new ranges of miniatures, many of which had rarely, if ever, been covered in 15/18mm before. One range announced as forthcoming was Late Imperial Roman. What immediately grabbed me about this planned range was its depth of coverage – no less than four different packs of armoured infantry, plus unarmoured foot, lots of cavalry types and so on. Further, it was to be sculpted by a chap known as “Clibinarium”, whose work on Pendraken’s 10mm Late Romans I had been admiring for some time.

khurusan02When Khurasan announced the release of their first five packs of figures, I just had to get some. They arrived in less than a week from the date that I put in my order online, and I was not disappointed by what I got. They were as follows:

 

KM-500   LIR Armoured infantry advancing, lancea, ridged helmet, chainmail. Two variants. These figures are posed as advancing, holding their spears (lancea) between about 45-60 degrees from the horizontal. Both wear variants of the ridge helmet – a type occurring in many Late Roman archaeological contexts – one being crested, the other not. Both wear standard military clothing of the era -  a tunic, long breeches and shoes. The mail loricae worn by both comes to the mid thigh, leaving an edge of the tunic exposed, and they have short sleeves. One is further kitted out with a mail “cape”, similar to those worn by Celtic warriors of an earlier time. Both wear belts and neck scarves (to reduce the chafing of the mail against a bare neck); and both have pouches and sheathed spathae on their belts.

Shields are separate, conforming to the generally accepted large, oval shape with a pronounced central boss. Two variants are supplied, one with a pair of spears held behind it, the other plain.

Accuracy of these figures is very good. My only real quibble is with the lancea – they are a bit heavy, with clumsy looking heads. Not a real problem, however, as they are easy enough to cut away before drilling out the hands and substituting a pin or wire spear.

 

khurusan03KM-504   LIR Armoured infantry command, ridged helmet, chainmail (includes one armoured infantryman).

One officer, one Standard and one musician, plus one ranker from KM-500. Poses are nice, the officer advancing with raised sword, the standard advancing and holding the staff in an aggressive manner, and the musician apparently playing his Cornu as he advances. All three wear mail, with the officer additionally wearing a cloak. The officer has no crest on his helmet, whilst the musician and standard do.

A nice feature is that the pole of the standard is bare, allowing you to attach either a Vexillum or a Draco, both of which are supplied.

The unarmoured infantryman included is one of those already described under KM-500.

 

KM-508   LIR Unarmoured infantry advancing, lancea, ridged helmet.

Similar to KM-500 above, but lacking the armour. One figure has the tightly bound “puttees” seen in MacDowell’s Osprey “Warrior” series book, the other in the loose breeches, secured at the ankle, which seem more common.

 

KM-512    LIR Unarmoured infantry command, ridged helmet (includes one unarmoured infantryman)

Again, and officer, standard and musician, plus one soldier from the relevant pack (in this case KM-508). The musician is blowing on a simple horn and is quite nice, as is the standard bearer. (As with the armoured command pack, the choice of vexillum or draco is provided). The office, however, leaves me cold. I don’t know why, but the pose just seems a trifle “off” – though this could be personal taste, as in terms of detail and accuracy, I can’t fault him.

 

khurusan04KM-516   LIR Archer infantry shooting, pillbox hat and bareheaded

Four different figures, two drawing their bows, two depicted as having just loosed their arrows. One of each pose is bareheaded, the others wearing the large pillbox hat as depicted in MacDowell’s Osprey (which is, in turn, based on surviving sculptures).All are armed with a sword in addition to their bows.

Since I obtained these miniatures, Khurasan have added to the range with the following packs:

 

KM-521   LIR Heavy cavalry spatha, chainmail and spangenhelm

 

KM-524    LIR Light cavalry lancea, bareheaded

 

KM-527    LIR Light cavalry horse archers, shooting

 

KM-533    LIR Mounted high command (general, musician, standardbearer)

From what I can see on the website, these should be very nice indeed.

More are promised to follow, including cavalry command, further packs of armoured and unarmoured infantry with Spangenhelms, armoured infantry in scale, packs of helmeted archers (Ridge Helmet & Spangenhelm both), more cavalry, Cataphracts and so on. I can hardly wait!