Monday, June 13, 2016

Review; Orion 1/72 Gladiators Roman Figures miniatures soldiers Colosseum

We review again a set of figures with these singular set from Orion, the mighty Gladiators.

The Box 

Indeed a curious artwork, as it is using a 18th century painting. It actually does quite well the trick, and it shows that manufacturers could use historical paintings more often. It leaves no doubt about what you are buying, and personally I was hooked the first time I saw it and bought it without hesitating. 

The Figures

As typically in Orion, you get a large selection of poses, all of them made twice. Is a system as valid as any other, and while it leaves you wanting more of some poses, for a subject like the Gladiators is quite perfect. It gives you the chance of painting each figures of two different ways, while you can make them appear all in a diorama without having to disregard some figures.

The first thing we notice about this set is that Orion has been influenced by the film Gladiator, even to the extent of showing captions of the film in the rear of the box (I wonder if they have paid any royalty to the film producers, a thing which I have my strong doubts). 

Some of the figures are clearly based on the film, like the starring Rusell Crowe, and some other of the Gladiator figures. All the same, the accuracy level is quite high, with only some inaccuracies and doubts with the trumpeters helmets, which should never be like that, the man with the bull's head and some of the other helmets. 

But we have to keep in mind that there is plenty of scope for strange ornaments and gear in a subject such as this, we can only say for sure that the trumpeters are wrong, and even they could be in a special garment only used during a very brief period, that has never been recorded in history :).
The poses are extremely lively and full of action, and you can recreate beautifully the action in the arena. It is worth mentioning the superb figures of the lions and tigers/panthers, that are one of the best 1/72 renditions of this animals. 

There is a couple of poses a bit strange, such as the civilian that apparently has fallen into the arena, which holds his hand in his head of a rather strange way, and the man that has lost his hand, which looks completely unnatural.
The sculpting is very well done and anatomically correct.
There is some very small level of flash surrounding many of the figures, which will give you a long afternoon to aconditionate them to painting, which is absolutely necessary if you are going to paint the figures, and you can skip it if you don't.

The emperor figure is one of the best Roman emperors in casual gear you can find.

The only real criticism I have on this set is that I would loved some more civilians to assist as public, but I suppose this could be fully done in a separate set.

Another of the great things of this set is that you could use many figures for special leaders or commanders of other factions, such as using some as Thracians, or using them as roman rebels or bagaudae, as not all of them carry the conventional gladiator gear, besides having some civilians always useful for dioramas.

Note that in this set there is sometimes a bonus figure, a joker, of a gladiator with a pistol. Sadly, I wasn't lucky to get it. I think that he must be present in all dark-blue plastic sets, and mine was in reddish plastic. I bought mine quite a long time ago, but I think the joker was on the first editions only.

                                        The Verdict

Possibly, and in my opinion the best Gladiator set out there. There might be the more accurate Pegasus one, but it doesn't have so much life as this one. I feel that this is really the best set that Orion has ever produced, and while it can be a bit expensive in comparison with other figure sets (at least it was back in the day, when it was 12 € against 8 € that was the normal price) it is still fully worth it, more considering the good quantity of men and poses you are getting.

Historical Accuracy; 8/10, Acceptable.
Mould quality; 7/10, Good.
Fun level; 10/10, Superb.
Price/Quality; 7/10 Good.

My version

I have tried to paint every figure in two very distinct ways, and I am quite proud of the result. It was quite tiring, as first I basically painted most of them, after 5 or 6 years left them nearly finished, and I applied the last touches only recently. I wanted to paint them in a very high standard, and you cannot use fast methods to paint these figures, as they are mostly flesh in colour. Note I modified one of the men without hand, as I found it a very unuseful figure, and I added a sword to the saluting gladiator, and a roman legionary shield to one of the sword gladiators.

If you have enjoyed this review and want to say thanks, the best way is to click in one of the advertisings in the blog. Every little help will be appreciated.

Click on the images to see them at full resolution.


  1. Real nice painted figures and a very good presentation! Good to have a beach near where you're living!


  2. Ave Argenta, a great post with awesome pictures, congrats!

  3. Many thanks :) . I had to cycle for about an hour to get there to make the pics, but it was worth it.