Friday, February 8, 2013

Showdown of the plastic Romans. Round 1!

Warlord has finally released their plastic Caesarian Romans, a set of figures I've been dying to get my hands on for months. I've been using Wargames Factory's similar offering for a few years, and while I agree the sculpting on them is a bit odd, I think once painted and ranked up they are more than acceptable. I'm planning on investing in a large number of late Republic era legionnaires, so I want to make sure I choose a manufacturer that look good and don't dent my wallet too badly. My first thoughts on deciding which to pick up after the jump.

The first thing I noticed about Warlord's set was the apparent odd weapon mix. They are offering two boxed sets: one for Romans armed with gladius, and one with Romans armed with pila. While on the surface this seems a strange choice, it actually matches up with the Wargames Factory weapon assortment. Warlord's boxes are 24 figures each, while WGF boxes are 48 figures. If you pick up the same number of figures from each manufacturer, the number of pila and sword armed figures should be the same.

A horde of Wargames Factory Romans

Plastic's big advantage over metal has been cost. The initial manufacturing costs for plastic are much higher than metal, but the result are mass produced figures that typically wind up cheaper for the buyer. I'm always on the look out for deals and managed to snag two boxes of Wargames Factory Romans at half price when they were initially released. I don't think I'll be so lucky in the future, but both WGF and Warlord are offering discounts for larger orders. How do they stack up?

Comparing Discount Deals on Plastic Caesarian Romans

I'm in the U.S, so I'll be using 'murican pricing and shipping costs. A single box of WGF Romans of 48 figures runs $19.99. Two get the same number of figure from Warlord you'll need two boxes at $29.99 each for a whopping  $59.98!

Ok, no need to panic. Warlord has just released their unit deals. Surely the discount will drop the Warlord pricing to something competitive with Wargames Factory. Wargames Factory offers a 10% discount when you purchase 3 boxes of figures:

144 Wargames Factory Romans = $66.79 (53.97 with 10% discount + 12.82 shipping)

Warlord is offering a free box of figures when you buy five boxes. Hooray! That turns out to be...

144 Warlord Games Romans = $145 (buy 5, get 1 free + free shipping on orders over $75)

That's.. .wow. That's quite a price difference. No doubt the quality on the Warlord figures is better, but to date I've only seen test shots of greens on the Warlord site. Perhaps a full view of the sprue will tempt me to their more expensive option. I suppose it could be worse. Buying the same number of figures from Foundry would run over $300. Rather than compare Warlord to other plastic ranges maybe I should be comparing them to metal competitors?


  1. Thanks for the post. I've had my eyes on these as well. Those price differences are massive... I've asked this before on my blog, but is Warlord becoming the Games Workshop of historicals?

    1. I don't think they can go the GW route. GW has such a lock on the 40K milieu for example, that competitors always look like knock offs. Warlord's historical designs are essentially open source. You can freely mix and match figures from various manufacturers to play Hail Caesar or Bolt Action for example.

      Perhaps they are targeting new historical gamers? The production value on their packaging and rules is top notch, they have an ever expanding catalogue and offer a number of starter sets. Without knowing about the more niche competitors, new gamers are likely to begin with Warlord and then stick with them for their entire collection.

    2. Great point about new players and I think you are right. My comment wasn't meant as an attack on Warlord, just an observation of the sweeping direction they are going with rules and models to support those rules. You are right, their production value is top-notch!

    3. They do cost more, though nothing like GW prices. I have the Warlord EIR plastic Romans and they are great sculpts. If you can't swallow the prices then my advice would be to buy Warlord for the front ranks and Wargames factory for the rear ranks, where their crap sculpts will be less noticeable.

      Your painted units look great, but I think the Warlord plastics are going to be great looking models to put your great paint job on top of. I think you'll also enjoy the building process more as well.

      All of the above assumes that the new models are as good as the old ones. A safe bet in my book, but you never know until you get your hands on them.

  2. Good article. But for me, before I ordered my first minis - I did some research and decided on Aventine's metal mini Romans. I've ordered from Warlord and Foundry also. But hands down Aventine's are far superior. Price wise I am happy due to their great quality but yes Aventine metal minis are pricey.

    1. Ed,
      I've been considering some Aventine for front rankers with Warlord plastics behind them. I'm not sure yet though.

  3. Great post! I think Wargames Factory get a lot of unjust hate- when you look at price vs quality WGF are actually pretty good, I have some of their hoplites and they all look good painted up(you romans look great for example!). Not to mention I got my Persians on some crazy sale from their website so I got around 70+ Persians for like £25!