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HaT

Set 8139

Celtic Chariot

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2008
Contents 3 chariots with 6 horses and 9 figures
Poses 3 poses, 2 horse poses
Material Plastic (Fairly Soft)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

The Celts used their chariots as an anti-cavalry device, driving them around the battlefield making as much noise and confusion as possible while throwing javelins at the enemy. They were two-man devices, with one being the driver while the other would have been a high status warrior. If necessary this warrior might leave the chariot to fight on foot, in which case the chariot would retire until needed again. The Celts abandoned the chariot in favour of true mounted cavalry around the end of the third century BCE (as far as we can tell), but chariots continued to be an important element of warfare in the British Isles until well after Caesar’s landings there.

As is so often the case evidence for the design of Celtic chariots is very limited - mainly some coin images and grave goods (of which only the metal parts usually survive). HaT recently made a Celtic chariot in what is usually illustrated as typical style in their Warrior Queen set, but other designs are perfectly likely and this quite small example, which mainly differs in having larger semi-circular sides of wicker, is still reasonable. Recent experiments that suggest the floor might have been flexible (leather straps or wicker) to provide some suspension have not been reflected here as the floor is sculpted as wooden, but such things are no more than supposition anyway. Equally the wheels have more spokes than is usually shown, but again it is impossible to be certain on such things.

The two-horse team, which looks too thoroughbred to us and not enough like ponies, is attached via the traditional peg in the side from the central pole. Naturally this is a simplified model missing the traces etc, although unfortunately the holes in the horses are not quite set at the same height, causing some minor twisting of the pole or the horses. Both animals have pegs to take the yoke, but this has no holes to accommodate them, so you must either drill your own holes or cut off the pegs and glue.

The platform has two holes drilled to take the figures. The driver stands at the front and is presumably holding the rein, while there is a choice of warriors. As high-status warriors both work well, with one having full mail as well as an elaborate helmet. Neither are throwing javelins, so presumably both are preparing to jump down and engage with their swords. As poses they are nice, but we would have liked one to have had javelins to reflect the importance of this weapon.

The chariot goes together easily enough and makes a nice model, but the figures are not quite so good. The impression of clothing is not particularly well done, with fairly unconvincing folds in places. The two warriors are OK but the driver has a remarkably poor anatomy which is a shame.

There is no flash to cause concern here, and all pegs fit their holes well. However the sculpting is not all it might be and the absence of the main chariot weapon is frustrating. Still drawn up in numbers these chariots should make an impressive sight.



Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 7
Mould 10

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars" - Wargames Research Group - Duncan Head - 9780950029948
"Celtic Warrior 300 BC-AD 100" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.30) - Stephen Allen - 9781841761435
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030

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