My West Wind / War and Empire Nikephorians finally arrived a few weeks ago, delayed by the pandemic disruptions and at the end of the queue because i had taken so long to get my Kickstarter order in. Wendy was great on keeping me appraised of progress though, and also answering random queries.
Which does raise the first issue, which is that some of the figures have been slightly miscoded on the site – the Nikephorian lancers are in the Thematic section and coded as Thematic Lancers, and vice versa. The key difference is that the ones with the Thematic code have the teardrop shields which only really came in at the very end of the Thematic period, and the ones with the Nikephorian codes have the round shields, which are fine if a bit old fashioned for the Nikephorian period – although useful if you want to distinguish between Tagmatic and Thematic regiments.
Overall the range is comprehensive as well – there are specific figures for the menavliatoi for example (3 poses, plus command) which a lot of ranges skip. It would be nice to have some light archers (i.e. not in epilorikon), some of the heavier artillery (although maybe I haven’t looked and there might be a specific section for that) and some fire-siphoneers (although that is pretty niche and probably not commercially viable). But everything else is there.
First impressions (so far I have only painted up some of the infantry):
A good amount of variety in poses. Sculpting reminds me somewhat of Old Glory – not quite as crisp as Xyston or Legio Heroica, but easy to paint and certain good at wargaming vision distance. There are a couple of the armoured bowmen where the straps disappear on the front side of the body though, which is a bit of an oversight. This bodes well for the Germanics I also bought, who I want to mix in with a mixture of Old Glory and Baueda – I think they will fit right in to give my warbands even more variety.
Historically they are pretty accurate – all in epilorikon and with a good variety of helmets and turbans as headgear. Most of the archers have the specified two quivers, and they all have a small shield and axe or sword. Spears are maybe a little short, but given they are cast in, I wouldn’t want them any longer. The standards feel wrong to me though – they are cast as vexillia type, whereas I think by this stage most Byzantine banners were flag type, so am cutting off the vexillias and adding my own steel spear and flag banner with LBM Byzantine standards.