Comparative Review: LEGO and BrickForge Spartan Helmets

One of the most sought after figures from LEGO set 8684, Series 2 Collectible Minifigures, was the Spartan Warrior. Never before seen in an official LEGO set, this exciting character has inspired many to recreate the Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans sacrificed their lives to fend off the Persian hordes. The only problem is that The Spartan is one of the rare figures (three available on average of a case of 60) from the set, and secondary market prices can be quite high. What is a collector or customizer to do?!

Fear not citizens of Minifig Nation. As we all know TLG is not always the final word in the land diminutive ABS heroes. Custom house BrickForge offers up similar offerings for your half-pint hoplites and brick based empires. The objective of this review is to compare the LEGO and BrickForge versions of three elements of the Spartan arsenal to allow fans to choose the right product for themselves.

A hoplite was a citizen soldier of one of many Greek city-states and primarily fought in the phalanx formation. Spartans, or Lacedaemonians, were some of the most feared of these warriors, beginning their military training around age seven and ending their military careers at age 60. There were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will cover each element in separate reviews over three days. First up, the helmet...

LEGO Hoplite Helmet (front, side, rear)
The Corinthian helmet was made of bronze which covered the head and neck while allowing for openings for the eyes and mouth. This style of helmet came in many variations, some including a crest running from front to back or side to side to distinguish military rank. The LEGO version of this helmet, appears in a metallic gold color with a red, printed crest running front to back. The helmet and crest are one molded, ABS piece with firm connection to the minifigure head. The opening for the eyes and mouth are angular in design, resembling the helmet design depicted in the film '300'.

BrickForge Hoplite Helmet with Officer Plume (front, side, rear)
The BrickForge piece is actually a modular design. The helmet and crest are two separate items (shown here in bronze with a red crest). You can decide if your hoplites will or will not bear one of the many color crests that are available. A picture of the post hole where the plume can be seen here. The design of the eye and mouth openings are more rounded and appear to more closely correspond with the classic Corinthian helmet design. All parts, helmet and crest, are made of ABS. The helmet has a nice, tight connection to the minifigure's head and the crest fits snugly in the post hole.

(Left to Right) No Plume, Officer Plume, Commander Crest
There is also a style of crest called 'The Commander's Crest' which attaches to the hoplite helmet and runs from side to side. This style of crest was often used to identify officers in the phalanx. 

The hoplite helmet is available in bronze (pictured), black, blue*, brown, dark blueish gray, dark gray, and silver. Both the officer's plume and commander's crest are available in black, bronze, red, silver, trans dark blue, trans green, trans red, and white. The officer's plume also comes in blue, brown, dark gray, dark orange, light gray, and tan.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Hoplite Helmet
Custom House: BrickForge
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Bronze, Black, Blue*, Brown, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray, and Silver
Retail Price: $1.50 USD

Additional Stats - BrickForge Officer Plume
Colors Available: Black, Bronze, Red, Silver, Trans Dark Blue, Trans Green, Trans Red, White, Blue, Brown, Dark Gray, Dark Orange, Light Gray, and Tan
Retail Price: $0.50 USD

Additional Stats - BrickForge Commander Crest
Colors Available: Black, Bronze, Red, Silver, Trans Dark Blue, Trans Green, Trans Red, and White
Retail Price: $0.50 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Hoplite Helmet
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Metallic Gold
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure) $7.51 USD** / Average BrickLink price (helmet only) $4.10 USD**

*This item is currently out of stock.
**BrickLink prices as of 9/12/2010

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