Thursday, 24 January 2019

I Hate Warlord Games' Persian Immortals

Warlord Games' ancient range has been one of my two main sources when building up my ancient armies - the other being the Victrix plastics range. Warlord's plastics are excellent - lovely models and well priced. Their metal figures - well, I have my doubts about some of them. Their Companion Cavalry, for example. Nice figures individually, but really too delicate for wargaming, especially the spindly legs of the horses. And they also suffer from a more common fault with modern figures that I find particularly irritating - the apparent need for variety in figure poses, and for those poses to be of the 'action' variety. So those Companions are all waving their xystons around with gay abandon, doubtless poking each others eyes out and wounding each other's horses.

This exasperation with the need for action poses reached its peak when I purchased a unit of Warlord's Persian Immortals. Of course, they look great in the beautiful pictures on the Warlord online shop, but I got increasingly frustrated as I put the figures together, then painted and based them.


In my opinion, the problems are twofold - history-wise, and wargaming-wise. Historically, I am under the impression that the Immortals were basically heavy infantry, relying on cohesion and formation to fight effectively in melee. Yes, I know many gamers might class them as 'mediums', depending on what rules one is using, and also that they carried bows and had a significant shooting ability. But nevertheless, to fight in the line of battle (as they did), they fought in formation using big shields and long pointy things. And those shields in particular had to form a solid front if they were to provide proper protection to the formation as a whole.

Sadly, Warlord have decided to model these guys basically as a bunch of skirmishers. As the photo shows, the poses are varied and decidedly of the 'action' variety. Most figures seem to be running, and in true Warlord fashion they are also waving their spears around and flinging their shields wildly at their neighbours. How they will reach the enemy without tripping over their shields and getting gored by their comrades is hard to imagine. And the hoplites they're charging are probably laughing their heads off at how easy it will be to get inside that ineffective line of shields and swiftly gore the Persians to death.

And from a wargaming point of view, all this variety causes real problems when basing. Getting them to fit on my fairly standard heavy infantry bases (20mm per figure) needed a lot of fiddling around, as the shields and spears took up way too much space and the selection of poses creates too many problems in the way figures interact with each other. Arranging the group bases is made even more tricky by the tiny individual bases the figures are cast with - the buggers just won't stand up reliably whilst you juggle them around, trying to get a suitable set-up. And when this is finally achieved, the result is so irregular you can hardly pick up the finished bases to move them around without inadvertently bending a soft metal spear or breaking off a shield.

Having completed 8, I have decided to set these guys aside and buy something more suitable. I'll probably get the HCH Figures Early Persian Immortals, ready painted. Check the link - that's how heavy infantry for wargaming should look. Now, for 16 figures that might well set me back nearly £70, but I reckon I will treat myself. That new tyre for the car will have to wait until next month. At least I'll keep my sanity.

Cheers - until next time.


Steve J. said...

Hmmm, not great poses IMHO for infantry that fought as you described. I think todays market demands/expects a wide variety of poses which, whilst fine for skirmish games, simply do not work for 'rank and file'. They are also far too delicate as you say, which was a common fault with GW minis when they went multipose.

I remember seeing a FoG game where two beautifully painted phalanxes closed for combat but, due to the various angles of the spears, simply coud not make contact! Far better to have had them all vertical from a game point of view. Both changed their figures after the game.

Keith Flint said...

Wise words Steve. The order for the HCH figures is in. Let sanity reign!

Natholeon said...

Hopefully Warlord Games will re-release the Wargames Factory plastic Persians. Certainly that is what I'm waiting for before I put together a Persian force.

Keith Flint said...

Good point. The photos of those figures I've seen look good.

Wargamer Stu said...

They seem to have deprecated lots of the wargames factory stuff where they have overlapping metals. IMHO the WGF Numidian infantry were a super set being useful for many classical infantry types. Wish I bought more when you could get um