by: Engin Kayral [ ]
Greek fire was a burning-liquid weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. It is said to have been invented by a Syrian Engineer, Callinicus in the seventh century (673 AD). The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles and it was largely responsible for many Byzantine military victories, and partly the reason for the Byzantine Empire surviving as long as it did. This liquid fire was hurled on to the ships of their enemies from siphons and burst into flames on contact. As it was reputed to be inextinguishable and burned even on water, it caused panic and dread. Its introducation into warfare of its time was comparable in its demoralizing influence to the introducation of nuclear weapons in our time.
Medieval sources mention weapons sometimes referred to as Greek fire as being also used by Arabs, Chinese, and Mongols; however, these were most likely another incendiary weapon of a different composition and not Greek fire based on the original formula. Both Arab and Greek sources agree that it surpassed all incendiary weapons in destruction. The secret behind the Greek fire was handed down from one emperor to the next for centuries. It which was a highly protected secret of the Byzantine Empire and not even discovered by the Latin Empire or the Ottoman Empire. Rumors about its composition include such chemicals as liquid petroleum, naphtha, burning pitch, sulphur, resin, quicklime and bitumen, along with some other secret ingredient. The exact composition, however, remains unknown.
RM-54084 represents a Byzantine Elite regiment Officer next to a Greek fire siphon replaced on a forecastle deck of a ship.
box & parts
The figure comes in 210 x 155 x 40 mm.standard big size Romeo Models light blue cardboard box. The front cover shows 4 photos of the figure painted by Italian master painter Danilo Cartacci right, left, front and back view .
Inside the box, there is an A4 paper sheet including historical outlines about Greek fire and painting instructions for the figure. This document is represented in 2 languages; Italian and English. The historical outlines of this kit is prepared Giuseppe Marseglia and text is translated by Riccardo Carrabino.
Parts are well protected between two slabs of thick white polyfoam and base and some parts of the Greek fire siphon are placed under the polyfoam not to damage the figure parts.
The kit is sculpted by Italian master sculptor Gianni La Rocca and made up of 30 white metal parts. 11 parts are to build the figure and the other parts are to build the Greek fire and deck scene. All parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details. No need for a serious clean up, filling or sanding as in many Romeo Models products.
The figure in the kit represent a Strator, a Byzantine officer belonging to the elitist regiment Opsikion. This figure sculpt is inspired by a fresco that goes back to VIII century and now displayed in Santa Maria Antique Church in Rome. The figure is made up of 11 parts sculpted and cast in very good details.
Upper Body : He wears a long cloak with hood named Chlamys over his lamellar armor reinforced with leather straps and decorative plates. This kind of armor is called Klibanion. The arms are covered with chainmail and upper arms are cast together with this part.
Lower Body : The lower part of the lamellar armor , leather straps on the skirts of armor - Pteruges and the wide leather belt with golden decorations - balteo are represented very well. He wears knee length leather boots and his trousers are reinforced with metal studs on the knees.
Head : His face is fully covered with chainmail mask/coif. He wears a riveted rounded top metal helmet over his mask. The head makes a very good fit to the upper body part and there is a hole on the top for the crest assembly.
Crest : He carries a longitudinal horsehair crest with a metal crest holder over his helmet. This type of crest is engraved as an indication of the high rank of the wearer.
Right hand : Posed to hold the lance. The forearm is protected by leather gloves reinforced with metal studs on the wrists as the figures trousers knees. You may need some attention as you try to insert the lance pole to the hand.
Left hand : Posed to carry the shield. The leather gloves is represented in good details on this hand too.
Shield : He carries a circular shield named Thureos with metal reinforcements on the edges and a big boss on the center. The decorations on the boss are perfectly represented on this shiled. Extra thanks to Gianni la Rocca for this masterful sculpting.
Sword : He carries a ByzantineSpathion ,a long, double-edged and heavy sword about 90 cm on his front. The scabbard of the sword has a blunt nose.
Dagger : He carries a dagger on its scabbard hanged on the right side.
Spear pole : Supplied as a 7 cm. lenght thick copper wire.
Spear head : a long diamond shaped spear head. The spear on this figure is probably a Rhiptarion.
Greek fire Spyhon & Base
The parts to make the Greek fire spyhon are cast in good details and looks like aged and heated metal. Two cylindiric tanks, the barrel part with decorations, metal pipe between tanks, the firing mechanism, rings and wooden parts with metal studs are very well defined.
Anyway, I think a small scheme supplied in the kit to assembly the Greek fire apparatus would be great help.
The accessories like axe, hammer and rope to place on the figure base are very nice touchs.
Base is a 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm. square piece representing a ship deck. The wooden texture of the deck, wooden side railing and supporters of the Greek fire are all very well defined.
Exactly an excellent piece from Romeo Models. A very nice posing figure sculpted and cast in good details and a fantastic base with an extreme cannon. As always clean casting, easy assembly and perfect fit on parts.
Very Highly Recommended