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

9 comments:

Robert Hingley said...

Looks like you know what you want. Looking forward to seeing the project when you're finished.

Thanks for the link to the Wetwang Chariot.

Richard Lockwood said...

Looks a good fix. WF not the best chariot I have seen: I have a project, half completed, to construct and paint a celtic chariot from every 28mm manufacturer I can find. I have all the chariots (that I have been able to access) and they are half-painted. I did something similar some years ago for Slingshot with 15mm celtic chariots...

BigRedBat said...

Hi Richard, sounds like a project worth completing. The different makes are so varied in size and design; mostly pretty ugly, though IMHO (except for the original Foundry range, and Warlord and Rellik).

Simon

Paul´s Bods said...

Battle taxis are great. I´ve got a couple of celtic ones, in 1/72nd but I reckon they are too big. The platform looks to long and wide (and thick) so I can understand you swopping the floors for thinner ones.
Cheers
paul

BigRedBat said...

I used to love the old Airfix ones, Paul. They were very good for their time.

Hi Robert, the Wetwang chariot is such a lovely vehicle!

Cheers, Simon

BigRedBat said...

By way of a footnote, after a comment by Rellik Mike on TMP, I've cut the poles down by a couple more mm each- they look even better, and have a smaller footprint, which is handy.

Silver Whistle said...

You are going to have yourself a very unique collection, look forward to seeing the end results.

Piotr Henryk Nowacki said...

Nice idea, I was leaning towards WF chariots too but I am collecting a Galatian army so I'm not sure if they even used chariots!

BigRedBat said...

Hi Piotr, the later Galatians used eastern-stylescythed chariots. OTOH, if you used fielded Galatians celtic fanatics or soldurii, they could have standard gallic chariots, I'd think.

The chariots are temporarily on hold whilst I await a much-anticipated delivery from Relik....