Saturday, 26 November 2016

Antiquity's Next Top Hannibal: Who's gonna lead my army?

Welcome to the pilot episode of 'Antiquity's Next Top Hannibal' where we scour the 28mm landscape to find a general worthy of crushing Rome, or at least make a good show of it.


We are looking for an iconic presence on the battlefield and one with a passable resemblance to the original general from Carthage.

For a younger Hannibal a clean-shaven look is preferable, unless recently down from the Alps or after a long time living rough in Magna Graecia.

He must be at ease with his staff and capable of banishing any doubt that this is the commander-in-chief.

Sartorial leanings must be Hellenistic, though some nod to the Old Land further East is most welcome.

Our contestants hail from Armorum & Aquila, Crusader, Relic, Foundry and are joined by a surprise entry from Aventine.

The first event is the infantry lineup, followed by a joint cavalry and foot lineup, then the contestants must mingle with the men and win their respect.


Aaaaand.... here they are!

From left to right: Hannibal (Crusader); Hannibal/General (A&A); Hannibal/General (A&A); Hannibal (Relic); Hannibal's lieutenant (Relic - get him off stage!); Greek Mercenary General (Foundry); Carthaginian Officer in Samnite cuirass (A&A - what's he doing there? This stage is Hannibals only); Spartan Command (Foundry - Hey, the auditions from Sosylus are next week).


Now we have the staff out of the way let's have a look at the real contenders.

From left to right: Hannibal (Crusader); Hannibal/General (A&A); Hannibal/General (A&A); Hannibal (Relic); >gasp< a Roman Officer (Aventine); Greek Mercenary General (Foundry).

The last contestant from Foundry doesn't have a matching mounted figure and we were unable to find one. If any of the audience has a good suggestion to match this Steve Saleh sculpt the producers would be pleased to hear it.

Using the Roman from Aventine as Hannibal is a little scandalous, but I love their sculpts and they match very well with the look of Victrix. This one is fairly Hellenistic, but has a crested Montefortino helmet with scalloped cheekpieces.

We don't normally see this on Carthaginians in the wargaming world, but the archaeological evidence from the wrecked ships at the Battle of Egadi suggests that Carthaginians did use Montefortino helmets, and we also know from archaeological studies by Fernando Quesada-Sanz and others that the popularisation of the Montefortino amongst Iberians matches the Barcid conquest of Iberia.

All those actually named Hannibal were gathered for a special equestrian selection from the judges:

From left to right: Crusader, A&A, A&A, Relic

I've commented on the first three on the left from Crusader and A&A in the previous post, but they are all by the same sculptor. The Relic sculpt stands out from the others because it is sculpted in what Relic calls "True 28mm". This means the eyeline is the same as the other models, but its proportions are more naturalistic, eschewing the thick limbs and wide bodies and heads that Games Workshop helped popularise.

This makes the Relic figure an uneasy match with the rest of my troops (drawn from chunky 28mm), though it is a very detailed sculpt, easily the closest in resemblance to the historical evidence and comes with a personalised mount. He just looks rather slight compared to the competition.

Now, skinny models tend to win on the life-size catwalk, but not necessarily here in 28mm land.

The standing Relic Hannibal does look rather leaner since the mounted version has the bulk of his horse to make him more imposing. There really is some fine detail on Hannibal's horse. Some review spoke of the need for jeweller's glasses. I can see why.

Since we're talking about standing, let's move to the last trial: mingling with the men.


The staff officers that our Hannibal's need to pass muster with include the A&A Carthaginian in the Ksour Essef cuirass, he's perhaps a veteran officer who will fight all the way from the Alps to Magna Graecia and back to Africa. A recent Osprey renders someone like him as a shield-bearer.

The second officer in the back represents the Spartan Sosylus, Hannibal's tutor in Greek and his historian. A civilian would probably do better, but I don't have one and nothing says Spartan like this getup.

The third chap is a Relic senior officer from their Hannibal on an Elephant (that will be considered in a separate post on elephants). His animal skin gives him a rather Roman look, which could make him another veteran of the Italian Campaign. Like the Relic Hannibal he is rather slender of build though we must allow thin people their moment on the field of glory.

They will be mounted on a circular command base at least 60mm wide.

1) Crusader's Hannibal

This Hannibal looks fairly grizzled and hunched (though this is the typical Crusader pose adapted from a Macedonian pikeman maquette). The beard sets him apart from the younger Hannibal of 218 B.C. I've thought about using him as Hamilcar Barca for the First Punic and Truceless Wars.

2) A&A Hannibal 1

This one from A&A looks fairly young, round-faced, perhaps too young and fresh for a Hannibal. He may be a good candidate for one of his brothers, Mago or Hasdrubal since he comes mounted.

3) A&A Hannibal 2

A&A's other offering as a possible Hannibal. Good detail on the cuirass, a nice crested helmet, not much can be seen of his face. His pose makes him to mind more of a sub-commander, delivering the general's orders rather than the great man himself. Once again, a good candidate for one of the Barca brothers.

4) Foundry Greek Mercenary General

This is a nice figure, but I'll admit I'm partial to Steve Saleh's work. This is substantively similar to the Philip II offered by Foundry except this one has a sword instead of a pike. He's imposing, Hellenistic, sharply attired and carries himself like a battle boss. But he does look a bit old for Hannibal during the Italian Campaign. He may make a good general for Zama. He also lacks a mounted counterpart unlike the other contestants.

5) Aventine Roman Hannibal

Like almost anything Aventine this chap looks good. He also comes with a mounted analogue, with different armour and leg gear but with the same helmet. His main drawback is that he's facing 100ยบ from where he's pointing and his weapon hand is optimised for a spear (or is he crushing Roman will?).

6) Relic Hannibal

He doesn't look too skinny and definitely looks like a cerebral general. He brandishes no weapon because it's his double envelopment tactics that will slaughter Romans by the thousands. He's just watching it all unfold.

Placing Sosylus to his rear helps offset the relatively huge size of the Spartan. One could argue that he is a lean, parsimonious man driven by the iron will to break Rome. Thus he stands out from his well fed troops. Putting the Relic officer next to him also helps soften the scale clash.

7) Relic Hannibal Mounted

Here's the other approach I took to blend Relic's True 28mm with chunky 28mm. I put Hannibal on his horse so that he would loom over his attendants on foot. I have to say that this does look alright.


I really do want the Relic Hannibal to work. Besides the fact that I coughed up for both the general set and the Hannibal on elephant, it really is nice to have a figure modelled on the historical representations of Hannibal (however accurate they may or may not be).

At the same time, some of the other contenders are strong and most will definitely serve as sub-commanders, perhaps with small retinues of their own.

What do you think? Who should win 'Antiquity's Next Top Hannibal?'

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