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Set 32

War Elephant

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released Unknown
Contents 1 figure and 1 elephant
Poses 1 pose, 1 elephant pose
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey


In the last few centuries BCE elephants were a popular element of Asian armies, and when Alexander the Great met them during his epic conquest many were brought to Europe, where they were highly prized before falling out of favour towards the end of the Punic Wars. This set is simply called War Elephant, which is pretty vague, and the picture on the header is simply a photograph of the aforementioned animal, so no clues there. Therefore the first task is to decide to what use this product could best be put.

The elephant is almost 50 mm (3.5 metres) tall at the shoulder, which is very large even for such an animal, and the top of the head is smooth, so this suggests that it is the African species Loxodonta Africana. However it has quite small ears, a straight back, single point trunk and a dented forehead, which suggests it is the Asian species Elephas indicus. Then again the ears are perfectly round, which does not match any elephant species! In short, it is a real mess, with distinctive characteristics of both species. Of course in fact it is supposed to be the Asian (Indian) elephant, as the African species was not used for war and was only found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is certainly much too massive to be the small forest elephant as used by the Carthaginians. Trouble is, it makes a poor Indian elephant too. As an Indian it should be no more than 3 metres tall, have two lumps on the top of the head and have fan-shaped ears.

The other giveaway naturally is the mahout or driver, who has a very Indian look about him. He wears nothing but a loincloth and a turban, and is holding a bundle of short javelins which he could throw at the enemy. He sits on the elephant's neck with a peg attaching him to the beast, though if so placed he is leaning well back as the creature is raising its head, which looks ridiculous. With such an enormous mount, it seems a waste that LW did not provide any other crew, as there is certainly room for them.

So, not an impressive amount of research done here, and yet when this product is first examined it is not the curious hybrid nature of the animal that grabs your attention but the way in which the parts go together. The elephant comes as two body halves, two halves for the head and the separate trunk. From the picture it is easy to see these parts because absolutely nothing fits together. The two body parts are held together by separate pegs which are a good tight fit, yet the halves only touch in a couple of places, with yawning gaps everywhere else. The head is worse, with no firm pegs to hold it but a similar bad fit, so gluing is a waste of time as so little of the surfaces actually touch. Attaching the head to the body is equally vague, and the trunk leaves a very obvious join. Still at least having a separate trunk means it can be placed either above or below the tusks. We used Blu-Tack to keep the model together long enough to be photographed, but if a more permanent solution is required, a great deal of filing and carving would be necessary before there is hope of achieving a lasting glued join, and after that some filling would also be necessary.

As we have said, the animal is too big - bigger even than the Zvezda Elephants (which are a bit too big themselves) - and even a cursory look at some pictures of elephants will tell you that they are not well sculpted. If you need some of these impressive beasts for your Indian armies facing Alexander, are happy to accept something that is 'elephantish' in appearance and have a lot of free time (and patience) to make a halfway decent model, then you might consider buying this product. For everyone else, check out some of the elephants found in children's Zoo Animals collections - you couldn't do much worse.


Historical Accuracy 1
Pose Quality 1
Pose Number 1
Sculpting 3
Mould 6

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