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Caesar

Set H011

Assyrian Chariot

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2006
Contents 2 chariots, 8 figures and 8 horses
Poses 4 poses, 4 horse poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

The chariot was a fundamental part of Assyrian armies for centuries, but by the 7th century BCE, the last of the Assyrian Empire, its use was in decline as the obvious advantages of horsemen meant the cavalry grew in importance. The model in this set is of a large chariot with four horses and four crew, and represents the final appearance of the Assyrian chariot, i.e. the 7th century BCE.

The four-man Assyrian chariot carried a driver, archer and two shield-bearers. In this set the archer is drawing his bow but not looking where he is pointing it. Perhaps he is still drawing it, or perhaps the target is so large (i.e. a large body of men) that aiming is not necessary. The two shield-bearers are, well, bearing shields, although one has also drawn a sword. Since having two shield-bearers might suggest they were meant to protect from both sides, we might have expected one to hold his in the right hand, although we do not know whether this actually happened. The obvious omission in this set is a driver - no one is actually steering the vehicle, yet the horses are clearly at full gallop. Instead we are given a fourth man holding a spear.

Our evidence for the appearance of chariots is a small number of carvings, from which it would be unwise to assume that we know how all such chariots would have looked. However the model here matches those drawings well, and is entirely reasonable, although there seems to be some debate over whether the reinforcing bar down the middle was still used by this date. However since this is a separate piece the customer can leave it off if desired.

The men are all heavily armoured, much like the heavy infantry, so this would be designated a 'heavy' chariot. Their costume and weaponry are fine, and they fit into the crowded cockpit area thanks to pegs on their feet that slot into holes on the chariot floor. There are several of these holes, apparently distributed fairly randomly, so the customer has some flexibility in arranging the figures, although of course by cutting off the pegs and gluing the feet the men can be put anywhere.

The set is made in the same soft plastic as the rest of the Caesar range, which is to say a plastic of about medium flexibility for this hobby. All the chariot parts are well cast and fit together well, about as well as any soft plastic kit can. Pegs fit holes nice and tightly in most cases, so gluing is not usually required although still recommended. The horses are all in different poses, but we were not keen on several of them, which seem unrealistic. For some reason some of them have strategically placed tufts of grass to allow them to stand alone, although obviously they stand well enough when attached to the chariot anyway.

The usual high standard of sculpting from Caesar is on display here, with no flash and sharp well engineered pieces. The strange horse poses are disappointing but are largely lost in the close-packed formation of the team, but Caesar's inclination to give too many of the crew weapons, and the complete absence of the most important man - the driver - mar an otherwise very creditable model.


Ratings

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

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
"The Ancient Assyrians" - Osprey (Elite Series No.39) - Mark Healy - 9781855321632
"Warfare in the Ancient World" - Guild - Richard Humble - 9780304304882

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