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Atlantic

Set 1503

The Egyptian Cavalry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1976
Contents Varying number of figures
Poses 4 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Orange, Tan
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)

Review

Atlantic made a variety of figure sets while they were in business, and the quality varied enormously. By far the best were the ancient Egyptian range, of which this is a part.

Each set contains a varying quantity of a sprue that contains two chariots and six figures. Despite the set being called 'cavalry', the Egyptians never rode horses into battle, but acquired a fearsome reputation for their use of chariots. Two soldiers, a driver and an archer, manned each chariot. The chariot moved forward, the arrows were shot, and then the chariot retired. Most of the nicely proportioned figures in this set are indeed archers, but there are no actual drivers, though the figure with raised sword could be adapted to perform that function. Their costume, such as it is, is simple but accurate, though the figure with the large helmet may be meant to be the pharaoh himself, in which case his costume should be much more ornate. Also it is thought that many such crews became quite well armoured, so it would have been nice to see such figures here too.

Much more serious is that the chariot is not large enough to accommodate two men, even discounting the space taken up by the base of each. Furthermore, the chariot is much too chunky and solid. Egyptian chariots were extremely light, with thin but strong frames and wheels. The chariots in this set seem to be made of solid timbers, and would have been very much less manoeuvrable. The sides of the chariot are solid, which is necessary given the way the piece is moulded, but the real thing had largely open sides, further reducing the weight. Also the axle is placed midway under the carriage when it should be right at the back. The horses attach to the chariot via pegs in holes in their side - always something of a cheat in our view, although this was always intended more as a toy than a historic model. Given that we cannot be certain what the horses looked like, these seem a reasonable guess, although they may be rather large and more like modern breeds than those in use at the time.

The figures are nicely detailed, but many suffer from mould marks in obvious places that make them difficult to remove. In general the set could have been much better, though doubtless more complicated and therefore expensive to make. Better models have since been made by Caesar (see below), so while the figures are usable if uninspiring the chariots really belong in the nostalgic past of this hobby rather than as serious models today.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 4
Pose Quality 6
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Ancient Armies" - Concord - Tim Newark and Angus McBride - 9789623616461
"Ancient Armies of the Middle East" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.109) - Terence Wise - 9780850453843
"Armies and Enemies of Ancient Egypt and Assyria" - Wargames Research Group - Alan Buttery - 9780904417043
"Bronze Age War Chariots" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.119) - Nic Fields - 9781841769448
"Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World" - Greenhill - Simon Anglim - 9781853675225
"New Kingdom Egypt" - Osprey (Elite Series No.40) - Mark Healy - 9781855322080
"Qadesh 1300 BC" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.22) - Mark Healy - 9781855323001

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