As part of an on-going process of converting armies to Triumph!, I did a quick inventory of my DBA Spartans, and discovered that I needed four elements of elite Spartiates, which I wanted to be distinguishable on the tabletop from the rank and file hoplites, along with a couple javelin-armed helot Rabble elements.
To make them distinctive, I decided I wanted the Spartiates to have red cloaks and Corinthian helmets, instead of the Pilos helmets worn by the rank and file. I could have made Xyston work, except for the lack of cloaks. I was very tempted to go with the new Museum hoplite figure range, which includes bare-chested Spartans in Corinthian helmets and cloaks inspired by the movie 300. Then Google brought me to Forged in Battle’s Early Greeks: Spartan Hoplites (WE-GH03).
I had followed the FIB kickstarters and have been frequenting their catalog for quite some time. There are several tempting ranges there if I was looking to start a new Classic or Dark Ages army from scratch. But because of their 24 figure foot packaging, I have not considered them an option for filling out the ranks of existing armies, until it occurred to me that 24 Spartan hoplites would give me four elements of Spartiates, with an acceptable number of leftovers. And I managed to find a U.S. source through Noble Knight selling on Ebay.
On receipt, I discovered the 24 figure pack included six different poses: a Spartan officer and piper, four Spartans in pilos helmets (single pose) and three poses of Spartans (18 figures) in Corinthian helmets and linothorax armor. Plenty to field my Spartiates plus an additional element of pilos helmeted allies. As another plus, unlike the FIB catalog image, the Hoplites were cast with their shields on, so no attaching required.
Then I compared them to my existing Xyston Spartans to make sure they would mix. I had heard that FIB figures were “True 15s” and I knew Xyston were heftier figures in the 18mm range. To my pleasant surprise, the FIB Spartans were 18mm to the eye and 20mm to the top of the plume, and matched well with the Xystons.
Here are the three poses (with one duplicate) of the FIB Spartan hoplites in Corinthian helmets and linothorax armor with cast-on shields next to my Xyston Spartan hoplites in pilos helmets expertly painted by David Kuijt.
And here are the four FIB Spartan Hoplites in the pack who came with pilos helmets, again next to my Xyston Spartans for size comparison. Again, good height. The Xyston figures are a hair taller and more well fed, but the difference looks less obvious at arms length than in this photo.
Finally, a note about the metal. The FIB spears are bendable, but use a harder alloy that is more resistant to bending than Essex and other brands. A couple of spears had bent slightly in the pack, and I was able to straighten them without getting the sense that they would easily break; they weren’t prone to spaghetti bending and were not brittle like many harder alloy figures I’ve seen.
As an aside, my Xyston Spartans are armed with steel pin spears, which can draw blood if you’re not careful handling the miniatures. I am going to give the FIB spears a try before I consider swapping them out for metal pins.
In sum, I was pleasantly surprised with FIB’s Early Hoplite Spartans. Good poses, well-sized with good detail, and in my estimate, sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear of the tabletop.