Both Sides of the Fence: A 15mm Romanian infantry FireFight | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Thursday, 26 February 2009

We had some very bad Dutch helmets, which dropped over our eyes, and when by instinct we lifted the head for a better sight, we became an easy target… Not to mention that when it rained, the shape of the helmet allowed the water to pour along the throat, along the spine and down to the boots. Once I fitted a German helmet on my head. It was a luxury compared with what we used.

                                    Sgt Sandu Aurel, in his memoirs on WorldWarTwo.ro 

In World War II, the Romanian soldier was ill-trained, well equipped, but with sometimes inferior equipment, and lead by men who could be callous and cruel.

But they were the third largest European army in the Axis, and they fought from the beginning of Barbarossa until the very end of the war, first under the Germans, later under the Russians.


 


We brought the four 15mm vendors that we could find with a selection of 15mm miniatures into the Wargames @ Nordalia painting areas to see what’s available on the market, the fact is that these four vendors offer a better selection of figures than all of the vendors that offer some of the more primary combatants. Since all of these figures go together relatively well, your options are great, and several of the vendors offer a large variety of poses.

 We are truly pleased with the selection, considering that there are only four vendors. There were some questionable items that we had to question the various vendors for – like leggings/no leggings and the bedrolls. We were told what we expected in response to all of our questions – this was the Romanians, any gear you outfit them in is fair game. None of them are too crazily outfitted, so all is well.

Romanians were equipped with some familiar gear during World War II – a version of the Bren gun, a predecessor to the MG34, and a development of that predecessor, Czech and German (and later Russian) tanks, French helmets, even some German gas masks. You’ll see all of the above that is infantry except the gas masks in this review.

This review (like many of our reviews) was initiated at reader request. We have no use for Romanians, so these figures are even now being placed into a Flames of War Vanatori Company with Armored Support, and for the first time we are going to sell them off. We only mention that because it is presumable that if you’re reading this article, you have an interest in Romanians, so watch the forums for more information in the coming weeks.


Quick Reaction Force


We brought in QRF Infantry, HMGs, LMGs, and Mortars for this review, trying to give you a cross section of their Romanian offerings. The QRF models come eight or ten figures in a bag, giving you some flexibility in building your army. The price of the bags is reasonable, meaning you can mix and match as desired.

These aren’t the best figures in the review, coming across as thin front-to-back, as in from chest to back is thinner than realistic, and few of them won’t stand on their own – not a problem for most people, but annoying if you don’t normally use bases for painting. Though QRF is far from the only vendor in this review that the standing issue is true for, and certainly not the worst about it, it is worth mentioning.


 

An interesting bit about the QRF HMG figures, the gunner and the gun are a single mold, with the front support being the only separate bit. If you like to customize your gunners, this is a negative, otherwise we don’t see it as too different from other solutions, perhaps a bit harder to paint because they’re not separate pieces. The HMG comes with three figures (counting the gunner) for each gun, a gunner, loader, and commander.

The guns are nice enough, and match well to the HMGs actually used by the Romanians, the crews are all the same, but positioning and terrain bits on the base can take care of that issue if it concerns you.


 

The LMGs come with two walking 2-man teams and two prone 2-man teams. The MGs are accurate enough that you’ll be convinced, and they look good enough on the table. In all you get four poses with two of each pose, and the LMG is molded with the gunner.  As with the HMG, if you like to customize your MG teams, this can be a negative, but the painting issues that merging gun and gunner can cause are not really an issue with this figure, because there is enough space between the arms and the ground to allow you to move a brush around in there.

 

The QRF mortar teams come as two teams, each consisting of a mortar and three crew members. Our package had one pose with two figures and four poses with one figure each. The unbalanced distribution says that your package will likely contain some other combination of these figures – and we like that for some uses, then our mortar teams don’t all look the same, though basing can counter the “all the same poses” syndrome that other vendors offer.

Models:

NRI01 Romanian Infantry

NRI03 Romanian LMG Teams

NRI04 Romanian Command

MSRP: £2.00 GBP per pack

 

True North Miniatures

This is our first review for True North Miniatures, and we’re pleased with what they have to offer. There are little niggle-bits on some of their figures that we found disconcerting, but this is true of every vendor when you first pick up their figures – you have to “get to know” the style of the sculptor, and once we did, these are pretty nice. Our issues really were all little annoyances, nothing more – like the peak of the NCOs caps are a little more pointed than we would like, or the pistol that feels (to us) like it is a flare gun. All are easily fixed up with file and/or paintbrush, so they’re nothing to keep you from purchasing their products.

 



These figures all come with bedrolls, and are equipped with rifles. The figures are well proportioned and the faces are expressive. The package comes with eight poses, three figures of each pose. Not too many of any one pose, enough figures to deck out the better part of a squad.

 



The command teams are a little less appealing, pose-wise, with three poses, each with four figures. The poses are nice enough, but in the close-up above you can see both the peaks of the caps and the large pistol mentioned above. They’re nice enough, and they round out our command teams, if this mix is good enough for you is a question only you can answer.

 

The True North Heavy Weapons pack comes with two AT Rifles, two HMGs, two Medium Mortars, and four LMGs. The weapons are nice enough, with the HMGs being the non-MG-34 style weapons that the Romanians had a ton of, and the LMGs the Bren Gun variant, they’re also distinctly Romanian. Well, all of that combined with the uniforms and rejected French helmets ;-).

 Model Numbers:

TNP15RO01 Romanian Infantry

TNP15RO02 Romanian Infantry Command

TNP15RO03 Romanian Infantry Heavy Weapons

MSRP $6.00-$12.00 USD per pack.

 

Legions East


There’s a reason they’re called Legions East, they deliver legions in their platoon packs. This is the only pack that is comparable to Battlefront in number of figures per package. We have never included this brand in a review before either, but we have their Winter War Finns here, waiting for their turn under the brush in a single-product review.

There are 10 poses in the pack, with a variable number of figures per pose, and two mortars with three man crews. The figures are very smooth, which depending upon your painting style is either good or bad. The folds in the pants and all are there, but they’re swooping rather than cutting. It is easier on the brush and paints up nice enough, but some will find it not realistic (we would disagree). The poses are varied, there’s enough here to use as the base for a company – we do – and they’re nice enough.

 

Legions East dropped an assault infantry squad in the box with our order, so we included it in the review and will be including it in our forthcoming FoW Romanian army. These figures are great – only three poses, but panzerfausts, flamethrowers, and AT grenades are some great poses. There are ten total figures in the pack, and that makes a great basis for a Pioneer platoon in Flames of War.

Model Numbers:

ROM-1 Romanian Army pack 1941-1945

ROS-20 Romanian Assault Infantry 1941-1945

MSRP: $5.00 - $25.00 USD

 

Battlefront Miniatures


 

These are standard fare for BattleFront, with one notable exception, there is a pose where the figure is running, and the right arm is separate. A nice enough pose, and a few other sets have it, but we liked it here. The pack is large – an entire platoon’s worth of figures, including 12 poses with a variable number of figures per pose. The platoon leader and two light mortars are included, as is an HMG – German style.

We like BF miniatures in general, and we like these, with our only complaint being that there are more poses in this pack that don’t stand on their own than in most BF packs. We’re used to gluing some vendors to pennies for painting, BF isn’t one of them. But honestly, you only paint once, and as soon as you glue these figures to the base, it no longer matters, and if you normally base all your 15mm minis for painting, then it doesn’t matter at all.

Model Number: RO702 Infantrie Platoon, Companie Infantry

MSRP: $30.00 NZD

Conclusions

All of these figures go well together, all have varying poses, and all have accurate though not identical kit. If we have to choose a winner, it’s going to be Legions East Miniatures. We really like the different feel to painting them, the cool equipment of the assault squad (we had to look up the flamethrower to paint it accurately), and the volume included in the package means that you can very nearly build FoW armies with platoon packs from Legions East.

 

 

Measurements


As you can see, the Romanian figures available are closer in scaling than a lot of the figures on the market for other armies.

Even with bases included, they’re pretty close – close enough in height that they could be used together. The problem is the musculature and level of detail – While from three feet they are passable together, the closer you get the more the differences stand out.

 

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