Friday, 21 September 2012

Chariots of... plastic.

For a couple of years I’ve toyed with building a large force of British chariots, to use with my Celtic army.  I collected no less than 20 metal chariots from five different manufacturers (Renegade, Black Tree, Gripping Beast, Newline and Foundry*).  Unfortunately, none of the models are good in all respects; some horses were too large or ugly, chariot poles long and very thick, and generally the chariot cabs looked like they had been knocked up out of offcuts of two-by-four timber.  As for the wheels, they varied from too small to absolutely tiny.

I had had been planning to chop them all up to make a dozen or so decent chariots out of them, but it always looked like an insuperable task.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some Wargames Factory chariot parts from Steve on the WAB Forum (thanks!).  I’d always been put off these models, by the dodgy (doggy?) horses, over-long pole and thick chariot floor.  However, looking at the models, afresh, the cup is more than half full, largely because they are plastic and easy to chop about.

I’ve replaced the thick floor with Wills plastic card, and cut new axles from brass rod.  I cut the pole length down by 6mm or so, and trimmed away the flamboyant up-turned ends off the yoke.  I’m going to position the axle slightly behind the midpoint of the cab, as I’ve seen on the Wetwang chariot.  I have some ideas for what to do with the WF chariot crew.  Finally, I will replace the chariot horses with some of the nice metal ponies from Newline, of which I bought earlier.  

I’m really pleased with them so far.   In an ideal world, I'd use a wheel with a thinner rim, but I've not yet been able to find a suitable alternative.  Because the models are plastic, the conversion is very quick and they are also much lighter and more resilient to dropping than their metal equivalents.

They are very cheap and have pretty much the look I’m after.  Wargames Factory; who’d have thunk it?

*I don't have any of the newer Warlord or Relik chariot models.  These look very nice but I suspect that they may be a little small for my needs
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