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MOC Ancient roman minifigures - genuine LEGO parts [updated 2021/07/18]

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I'm a huge fan of roman history and wanted to build a roman army but unfortunately LEGO produced just 3 Romans - 2 soldiers and one emperor.

The roman legionnaire (col090) came with a red tunica, a lorica segmentata (laminar armour), a cingulum militare (belt), a galea (helmet), a scutum (shield) and a spear. Nowadays the minifigure is expensive as hell.



The roman commander (col147) came with a dark red tunica, a lorica musculata (muscle cuirass), dark brown pteruges (leather strips) at the waist, a galea with a crista transversa (crosswise helmet crest), a dark red cape and a gladius (sword). The crosswise helmet crest identifies him as a centurion.



I found it quite monotonous to build an army of just two types of soldiers so I looked for other minifigure parts to pimp them up or create different types of uniforms.
As I'm a purist I only used genuine LEGO parts and no 3rd party parts.

First, I thought the legionnaire was quite "naked", so I added red short sleeves to his tunica, shoulder armor for the lorica and a red cape.
As roman legionnaires didn't carry spears but pili, I built a pilum consisting of a harpoon, a lightsaber hilt and a 3l bar.
Some of my legionnaires wear a leather utility belt (from Catman).

col1.jpg inf.jpg


I also found the centurion naked, so I added dark brown short sleeves to depict leather pteruges protecting his shoulders. I gave him a vitis (vine staff) as symbol of his rank and authority.

col2.jpg cen.jpg


Now I started to create some new types of troops.
As the only other scutum produced by LEGO is the black Baturion (coltlbm24) shield, I decided to make some soldiers with a darker color scheme. Because the black shields look similar to the pretorian shields from the 2000 movie "Gladiator", it seemed obvious to build some pretorians.
I took the commander torso (which ist the darkest torso) and looked for other legs assemblies that look "roman". The only two good looking legs assemblies are from the Gladiator (col066), which has pteruges and dark tan boots, and from Sherry Scratchen-Post (coltlm2-6), which also features pteruges but dark brown boots. I chose the darker one (Sherry Scratchen-Post) and added a dark purple cape, dark purple short sleeves and a black pilum. Voilá: A "Gladiator"-style pretorian.



Next, I needed some cavalry.
Roman cavalrymen wore lorica hamata (chain mail) which is more flexible on horseback. They also carried spears and a parma (oval shield). The most realistic chain mail is the Kingdoms series chain mail of 2010. As I haven't used the Gladiator (col066) legs assembly with the dark tan boots yet and boots seem to be a logical equipment for riders, I decided to combine the chain mail with dark tan boots. Matching dark tan short sleeves and a dark tan cape complete the cavalryman. Unfortunately LEGO sells only odd oval shields, so I had to use a round shield.



The archer auxiliarii have nearly the same outfit but they wear an etruscan helmet (from the Prince of Persia sets) instead of the galea.



I had a lot of capes, so I made some cold weather gear soldiers with long sleeves and a second cape over the shoulder.



Officers and NCOs
The legion is commanded by a legatus (legate). To emphasize his position I gave him a unique color - white. I took the helmet crest from Battle Goddess (col183) and white boots and skirt that resembles pteruges from Tennis Player (col269). The legate wears an officer's bronze muscle cuirass from Spartan Warrior (col018). White short sleeves and a white cape complete his outfit.



The second in command is the tribunus (tribune). He also wears the officer's bronze muscle cuirass but the more common dark tan boots. I added a fur overcoat inspired by the character of Maximus from "Gladiator".



The signifer bore the standard for a cohort or century. As I haven't used the third typical roman armor yet, the lorica squamata (scale mail), I decided to equip him with that armor. The scale mail torso is from the 1988/89 castle sets. Signiferi mostly wore bearskins over their helmet, but as there are no bear headgears I used a fox/wolf headgear (as it is often depicted in modern media). The signum had a small statuette of an animal at the top and several phalarae (medaillons) were mounted to the staff. The signifer carried a parma for protection, lacking a oval shield I gave him a round shield too.



The pretorians have their own signifer. He wears dark purple clothes and a leopard fur over his helmet (as seen in "Gladiator"). 



The vexillifer bore the banner. In order to distinguish him from the signifer, I used the chain mail instead of the scale mail and a regular helmet with feathers.



The cornicen played the cornu, a big round horn. I made the cornu of 1 nozzle, 2 sausages (!), 2 hinges and 1 cone.



Update 2020/08:

As I got a new blue cape, I decided to make a naval commander (the historical sources state that naval officers wore blue capes, seriously). I added the legs assembly from Cheerleader (col002) to depict white pteruges with blue decorations.



A victorious military commander on his horse. To emphasize his festive apparel I gave him the pearl gold muscular armor from Flying Warrior (col233), the large cape from Queen (col243) and the headgear with gold laurel wreath from Roman Emperor (col133).



A cavalry (see above) signifer (see above) on horseback.



A roman officer without his armor. In the 2016 movie "Ben Hur" roman soldiers wear light leather vests under their metal armors to protect themselves from chafing. The leather vest is from Hun Warrior (col180). I added arms with wristbands.



Update 2020/12:

With the release of the 2nd Harry Potter Collectible Minifigure series I was able to get a lion hide headgear from Luna Lovegood (colhp27). This part is perfect to make an aquilifer who usually wore a lion hide over his helmet. The aquilifer bore the aquila, the eagle of the legion. The staff of the aquila wasn't decorated with phalarae. The aquila was the most important and sacred idol of the legion and was defended at all costs.



A veteran centurion with a neckerchief.



A legionnaire without his helmet. The idea of a bandana came from the movie "Gladiator".



A legionnaire off duty. Legionnaires wore their cingulum also off duty to show their status as soldier. The torso is from the Star Wars Royal Guard.



An officer with bare chest.



A fancy black dressed officer.



Some civilians. The first one wears a toga from Roman Emperor (col133) the others wear a knee long tunica with short sleeves.

nobleman.jpg   white.jpg   green.jpg   dark-tan.jpg   civ10.jpg


Women may not be missing of course. They are created from different female parts from Battle Goddess (col183), Lady Liberty (col048) and Star Wars Princess Leia. I used hairpieces with typical roman hairstyles (many curls and braided updos).

wnoble.jpg   wsand-green.jpg   wwhite.jpg   woman5.jpg


Update 2021/07:

The optio was the second-in-command of a century. He wears a plume on his helmet and a hastile (staff) which was used to keep the legionaries in line.



The praefectus alae was the cavalry (see above) commander. He wears the same dark tan cape and boots as the cavalry auxiliarii but the muscular armor from Roman Commander (col147) and the fur overcoat from Queen (col243). To emphasize his position I added a small yellow helmet crest (hairpiece from Captain Marvel (sh641).



I reworked the legatus (see above) and gave him a plain white skirt from Tennis Player (col046)...



...because I needed the skirt with the dark red decoration for the legatus Augusti pro praetore (pro-praetor). The pro-praetor was the govenor of a province and commanded the legions that were stationed there. Pro-praetors wore tunics with a band of purple so the legs assembly from Tennis Player (col269) was perfect. A matching purple cape and the golden muscle cuirass from Flying Warrior (col233) complete his outfit.



The numerus Batavorum was the imperial personal guard. Because the early emperors didn't trust the political powerful pretorians they established their own personal bodyguard recruited from Germanic tribes or other foreigners. The bodyguard wears a bronze splendor armor from Spartan Warrior (col018), an golden shield with an eagle from Aztec Warrior (col098) and a spear with a golden tip.


Edited by Bohannon

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The difference the "short sleeves" arms make is surprising.  Love the variety you've come up with for each position.  Can't wait to see more!

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Fantastic work! Hopefully you've got a whole legion for these!

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Really cool. I like how you came up with all the different characters with so little roman-like pieces. They all look very Roman! 

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Just reading book about Roman military history so timing of this post was great. Really like all the minifigs, may put some of them together myself. Great work!

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One could wish the Lego Group would come up with such a plethora of variations itself.

Well done!
What's next? More Auxilia?

Edited by GeoBrick

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Wonderful job.  Very informative too.  

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They do look great, although I'm not a fan of the one in the tennis skirt. I wish LEGO did one decent Roman skirt style piece for fleshie legs.

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I love these designs, they look great, and authentic too.
It would be cool for Lego to have a more variety of historic figs of the ancient period.

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Wonderful I'd love to see them in fleshies, but to each his own!
You made a great job with this, and I guess that you've spent hours before finding all the possible parts!

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Looking great. 

Just wish they were cheaper cause the 2 Roman figs are getting super expensive on Ebay!

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Awesome collection of Roman figures! I'm amazed at the diversity you've been able to create, even though there are only several "official" Roman LEGO minifigs. I like that you've added a bit information on some design. Always interesting to read. The hair pieces of the commoners are also well-chosen. The frizzy/curly hair reminds me of those Roman mortuary portraits they found in Egyptian sarcophagi of rich Romans citizens.

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Nice update.

The women are most convincing.
The third male civilian not so much in my view.

Nice to see some off-duty wear of the soldiers.

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These look amazing! I would love an official theme consisting of ancient sets. Apart from the CMF series, this has been something of a blind spot from Lego, which has produced seemingly everything else (except for modern warfare, for obvious reasons).

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