Tent, Catapult, 4-Horse Chariot, Mounted Soldier, Emperor, and a few Specials
by Mr. Stinkhead
Centurian, Centurian! does anyone else remember those old Steve Martin skits? Pure gold. Much like these brand spankin' new playmobil sets. Playmobil just launched this Roman theme in Germany this month. I was really lucky, and got to check out a few a bit early, thanks to some overseas connections. Today we'll be looking at the smaller Roman sets, and Friday I'll show you the super-sweet colosseum. It's 3 feet in diameter! I will also be picking up the boat and some additional soldiers when I travel to the Orlando Fun Park next month. I'll review those closer to Halloween.
Catapult The catapult features a brand new source of ammunition. Flaming fireballs! Woo-hoo! These little suckers are a light weight, and nice-n-squishy variety of rubber. Just tap briskly on the front of the catapult, and you can send the fire balls flying. They're soft, so I don't think you could sting the back of your sister's leg even if you tried. Oh how I miss thee, orange Hot Wheels® track. No, playmobil has taken into account a child's safety when designing their toys with projectiles. You get three. I will probably need to order more from the parts dept, as I can see these getting lost forever under the couch as I aim at my new kitten. Oh, I'm just kidding. I wouldn't do that. Me lose playmobil? You gotta be nuts.
This catapult is a little bit smaller than 3653 Castle Catapult, but it works really well. It's a completely new design, and I must say, I love the fireballs. You can really get some distance too. If you were to get one set to take into the office, this is it. You get two handsome looking Roman soldiers, and can fling soft fireballs at your cube mates. Sweet.
Four Horse Chariot I can't stop looking at this beauty. Of these smaller sets, I think this chariot is my favorite one to look at. The gold and blue work really well together, and though I am not a fan of the improved horse design (bring back that minimalist geometric horse design, please!) I think the whole thing looks wonderful. The chariot itself has spikes and knives on the hub cap for gouging other competitors, there is a raised bubble on the floor for the driver's feet. This is a nice subtle touch. The four horses are all connected to the harness array, but then each has flexible rubber "reins" that the driver can hold. I am a big fan of the basic Roman Soldier design that playmobil has just introduced (with the raised armor and sandals) but I think the color scheme on this one just looks amazing. This guy will be creaming the two-horse chariot in my Colosseum shortly.
I also like his cape, it's of a new design that has a small drape across the front, it's also cast in a soft rubber. The capes of old were hard plastic, and snapped around the neck.
Mounted Soldier This is a nice figure, an update on the Centurian Special from so many years ago. He has nice sculpted sandals, the new style of cape, and a proud horse for him to ride on. I am a little bit disapointed, the cape doesn't allow him to sit all the way upright, he's kind of hunched over. But this is a nice figure to have. He looks great patrolling around the Colosseum. I also use this figure to point out the new hairstyle. It's a bit longer than the traditional male hair style, and it has a "layered" look. It's true, the helmets do not quite lock on to this particular hair style as they do others. They're a bit prone to popping off. But it's good to have some variety. Frankly, I'd rather the hats were a little easier to remove rather than impossible to put on. The blond hair from the 1982 McDonalds Happy Meal Sheriff is just a tiny bit too big nigh impossible to get the cowboy hat to go on.
Emperor I love this emperor figure. He comes with a marble pillar with a flame on top, a scroll, a golden chalice, a plate, and grapes. He's got a great purple tunic, and a golden leaf laurel on his head. (Which fits perfectly, mind you) This figure is great. He looks like he's having a great time. He's a hedonist. He lives for the pleasures, and he's not ashamed. This is a great figure, and looks perfect when perched at the highest spot in the Colosseum.
This is a great playset for your Roman battle field. The tent walls are made of a thick felt. You can easily bring down the awning flap and close up the tent. I like the four soldiers you get with this set as well. I can easily see myself acquiring more "foot soldiers" to mill about the tent as the upper brass come up with the next course of action. The details both screen printed on all of their torsos, as well as the little details sculpted on, all look terrific. I love how you get the one helmet with the traditional crest, one with a lateral crest, and one with a lion pelt. You also get a foot soldier with no crest, but a nice looking helmet none the less.
You also get a horse, some fencing, and a bit spot of hay. I also like the SPQR pole. (Ok, what do you call this thing?) You get a stool, and finally, a firing mounted crossbow thing. Load in one of the arrows, and firmly press down on the tab at the back, and it'll squeeze the arrow out at a high velocity. You actually get some good distance with these things. You get four arrows total, and a clip piece that holds three of them together in a bundle. Overall, this set is pretty sweet. I love the tent and variety of people.
Specials If you're new to the world of Playmobil, the term Special means a stand alone character with a handful of accessories. Sometimes they are independant of a current theme, other times they support a line currently going on. The first special I'm looking at is the Gladiator. Specials actually come out shortly after their debut in Germany, so you should be able to find this fella now. Comparing him to the other gladiators that come with the Colosseum, they all look really nice. He's got some facial stubble, a shield, an armor sleeve, a plumed helmet and a sword. He's got a kick-ass outfit as well. If you're chomping at the bit for anything Roman, this is just about the only thing you can get in America for now. But he's worth it. I can see myself buying a few more of these, switching around weapons and helmets and adding to my stable of gladiators.
I also lumped the Cleopatra styled special in with this group. I know she's probably not capable of visiting the colosseum, but ancient Egyptians visited Ancient Romans, right? I love the intricate work on her accessories. The tiny cobra headband is a great touch. The printed detail is nice too. I'm not a huge fan of playmobil with pupils, but its necessary to show off the eye make-up. The accessories are a nice touch too. I don't know if they're a sign of royalty or what, but they look nice, and are not recycled from earlier. Does this mean that the genius playmobil designers are possibly dreaming up an egyptian theme? You can reuse the chariots... but that would be awesome.
We love playmobil at MillionairePlayboy.com, check out our review of the centerpiece of this entire Roman collection, the Colosseum! And then check out the rest of our playmobil coverage
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