04 September 2011

Wargames Factory Persians - First Review

 I put together a few of the Wargames Factory Persians today. I've got quite a few of them (some cavalry as well) stashed away for when I jump back into the (barely started) Macedonian/Diadochi project. At any rate, I very quickly put together a few of the archers so I could post some pictures. Here we go...

My comments are based on cleaning several boxes off their sprues and assembling just those few pictured above. I have't painted any... yet. I also haven't touched up some of the joints on the figures above, yet.

I think WF (or at least the original crew) was progressively getting better with each kit, and I think these Persians really show that. The detail is more pronounce, and the design is easy to paint. One of my biggest complaints about the Celts & Germans was the detail being too fine to easily paint on massed hordes of troops. They seem to have resolved that in this set.

I also think the faces are and improvement over some of the earlier sets. Although I am puzzled by the fact that they used two different neck joints. Some heads/bodies are flat, some are ball & socket joints. I haven't attempted to mix the two, though I suspect with a bit of work they should be OK.

As with earlier releases, there are a lot of different bits, a variety of heads and plenty of opportunity to make a huge horde of Persian levies look like it's got variety rather than a synchronized chorus line of the same three figures.

All that said, I think there are a few proportional/consistency issues that stand out on this set more than some of the past sets. The hands, for example -- the hands gripping the bows are big and meaty (almost like some of the worse GW examples) while the right hands drawing/releasing the (imagined) arrows are smaller. I realize there's some clothing & drapery there, but the upper torso of the the kneeling figure looks smaller than the lower torso and legs. The other two figures have one piece bodies, so appear more consistent.

A mix of weapons and shields are included, to build a variety of troop. But there are not enough of any one weapon to devote and entire box to one troop type. For example, if you just want a huge unit of archers, there are only enough bows for part of the box to be equipped as such. Personally, I'm going to use them as archers and javelin armed skirmishers (some conversions) so I think I will be OK.

As I said with earlier sets, if you're looking for a cheap way to bulk out units/armies, I think this is a good way to go. In fact, unlike the Germans, where I decided to stick with mainly a mix of Foundry, BTD and Crusader, I will end up putting most of my Persian stash to use, and even trying to convert a few for other purposes. Although not as flexible as their "Numidian" set, I do think that these offer some opportunities to be used as more than just Persians. (Well, "Persian" is a bit too general a term anyway, but that's a whole other discussion...)

I'll post some painted examples when I get to them. I feel bad for saying this (even considering my bumpy relationship with the new WF mangement,) but their own painted examples on their web page are really doing a disservice to these figures. But I guess that balances out with the fact that I've just given the figures a generally positive review. ;)


  1. They look great. I was fairly impressed with their Numidian Light Inf. box. The bows were particularly nice. Best, Dean

  2. A friend of mine has the mounted Persians - they seem to suffer from the same torso issue as the kneeling figure. The chest is a bit small and the tunic puffs out at the waist to a distracting degree.

    I do like the look of the 2 one piece figures. Are we looking at the work of 2 different sculptors (before and after the WGF drama)?

  3. I'm not sure. From what I understand, they had Persians sculpted before the drama and part of the drama was that only part of the kit was shipped over to the US, and they were waiting for a long time for the remaining bits. Whether the new team added to this before the final release or not, I don't know.

    I also liked the Numidian kit. I think I'm also one of the few fans of the Romans as well. I'm less fond of the Celts & Germans. But like I said, I think they were improving with each set.

  4. All of the sculpting was done by Tim Barry. It looks like after "The Incident" as all of us original founders of the company call it - the factory completely missed the sizing of the kneeling figures/cavalry and made them too big in the case of the figures and too small in the case of the horses! I'm not sure what they did...but it was typical of the ongoing nonsense we had to live with with them. Thankfully - the new company - Defiance Games - is using all US-based manufacturing so we won't have to have the low-quality that hindered us from the start.

    Nice review Thomas!


    Tony Reidy
    Defiance Games
    former Wargames Factory CEO

  5. Just FYI, the kit seems to be based on the pavise-protected archer unit that was common in Early Persian armies. That's why you can't really field a unit of all archers, since typically they would have had a rank or two of spearmen with large wicker shields protecting their front.

    Thanks for the comments, very illuminating.