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Thursday, July 19

Xyston Miniatures Figure Review

Late Achaemenid Persian 420BC - 329BC and Ariarathid Kappadokian

Xyston is currently my favourite Ancient historical figure manufacturer.

When they get it right the figures are well sculpted, with a lot of character and are relatively straightforward to paint. Generally, up until the latest couple of batches, the figures have been flash free and I have only had the odd mould line that has needed to be removed.

This review will look at figures from the Late Achaemenid Persian range and some from the linked Ariarathid Kappadokian range. These are my personal opinions so feel free to disagree.

ANC20063 - Persian Mounted Generals

This pack comes with 4 figures - 2 generals and 2 standard bearers. In the above pictures the central and lefthand figures come from this pack. The right hand figures come from ANC20068 - Persian Satrapal Guard - with a variety of helmets, cuirasses and leg protection. I like the general figures - they are distinct and have an air of command about them - its a shame there are only 2 designs - I like at least 3 commanders and sometimes 4.

Last Bunny Rating: 8 out of 10

ANC20069 - Persian Colonist Cavalry

4 figures wearing conical bronze helmets - they all have bows and shields slung on their backs. 2 figures are in the process of shooting while the other 2 are brandishing their spears. These are very nicely executed and together look impressive.

Last Bunny Rating: 9 out of 10

ANC20077 - Babylonian Colonist Cavalry

These figures are all wearing the 'Babylonian' cap (NB: the figure on the left in the second picture is from ANC20086 - Persian Colonist Cavalry with Fillets).

I think these are particularly nice figures and some of the best in the range. Personally I would have liked another bow shooting figure in both this and the Persian Colonist packs - preferably shooting to the front although I know this is difficult to achieve in production terms - however a two piece casting or a separate arm might have worked.

Last Bunny Rating: 9.5 out of 10

ANC20061 - Kappadokian Hillmen Infantry

4 different designs all wearing cloaks and holding small round shields. They are a little static but the scuplting is well done.

Last Bunny Rating: 7 out of 10

ANC20050 - Persian Archers

I find these rather disappointing. The figures seem much slighter than the others in the range and the facial features are not as well defined and the poses lack originality.

Last Bunny Rating: 5 out of 10

ANC20105 - Kappadokian Noble Cavalry

This stand has 2 Kappadokian Nobles flanking a figure from the Satrapal Guard pack. These are on partially armoured horses. The figures from the Kaddadokian pack are well proportioned with good realistic positions. They really look like elite troops. The Satrapal Guard aren't quite of the same quality in my opinion, the head position sometimes seems a bit awkward and ungainly.

Last Bunny Rating: 8 out of 10 for the Kappadokians, 7 out of 10 for the Satrapal Guard

ANC20127 - Kappadokian Cavalry

The figures in this pack are all wearing the 'Kappadokian' cap with its characteristic bumps and ties, light body protection and cloaks. They ride unarmoured horses. I like these figures and they make a good show en masse.

Last Bunny Rating: 8 out of 10

ANC20128 - Kappadokian Light Cavalry

No cloaks or body armour this time as befitting their light cavalry roll. Once again they paint up well and give a good impression on the war games table.

Last Bunny Rating: 8 out of 10

ANC20087 - Persian Scythed Chariot

This is a splendid model. There are 2 driver model avaiable to give variety to the unit. The horses are well designed. I would have preferred 4 individual designs but there are only 2. Put together the whole just about fits on a 40mm by 40mm base. Positioning one next to another requires a bit of pre planning as the wheel hub scythes can clash. I solved this by bending the scythes on one chariot up and those on its neighbour down. It doesn't require much to enable them to sit comfortably side by side and isn't noticeable. It would be possible to drill out the driver's hands and insert reins for added realism.

Last Bunny Rating: 9 out of 10

General Comments

With all Xyston figures, if they are carrying a standard or a spear you will need to drill out the hand and supply your own spear. I use a minicraft drill and a 1mm drill bit. For the spears I use 7 inch stubb wire - which fits perfectly into the 1 mm wide holes. When you are doing the drilling you will need to hold the figure securely but not so tightly you damage the detail. I use an ordinary pair of pliers with kitchen towel in the jaws to protect the figure. (Don't hold the figure with your fingers, quite apart from the danger of drilling into yourself, the metal can get quite hot.) To get the point on the spears, I use the drill again with a grinding bit - it takes a couple of seconds for each spear point. All this drilling together with the gluing into the hand is a bit tedious but the results are worth the effort.

I believe there are 4 unarmoured horse poses - and Xyston provide a random selection. This is enough to provide variety, but I would have like one or two more poses.

Recently there seems to have been a change in the metal Xyston use to cast their figures. This is a harder alloy, which make drilling for the spears a bit more difficult and if the flash I observed on the figures in the last but one batch continues it will be more difficult to remove with this new alloy.

Xyston figures seem to be on the big side of the 15mm spectrum and some ranges appear to be bigger than others.

As you can see you can get 3 cavalry onto a 40mm wide base - but I do wonder how you would ever get 4 cataphracts side by side should Xyston get round to making them.

Currently a pack of 4 cavalry or 8 infantry comes in at £2.75 plus postage and handling. The scythed chariots are £5.00 each.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just get in you review. Impressive! You did a great job. I just start a LAP army and your advices are very useful to me.
Eric from France