Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Making the most of Pendraken Ancient British Chariots

A while ago I picked up a couple of packs of Pendraken Ancient British chariots off Ebay as I fancied painting something a bit different and I also thought that with my Carthage Gallic allies, Imperial Roman skirmishers and Roman Light Horse I could probably put together a small proxy British (or Celtic Irish) force for Warmaster Ancients.

The individual components of the chariot kit are fairly well detailed (for Pendraken), but when I put them together as a dry-fit there seemed to be two obvious missing parts - an axle, or at least axle-stubs on the chariot frame to attach the wheels to and a yoke or some kind of harness to attach the chariot to the team of two horses. Looking at the Pendraken site and other pictures of the models online it is obvious that these two parts are not part of the model. You are just meant to glue the wheels to the frame and leave the horses and chariot hanging and hope no-one notices!

As I was primarily doing these as a modelling/painting project I decided to convert these chariot by scratch building the missing parts, so that the finished article was a bit nicer. This is a step-by-step of the process as I know it is a fairly popular kit.

1) The base of the chariot is about 8mm, to attach the wheels I used a piece of florist's wire about 11mm long. The wire is is about d=0.9mm.

2) There is a small indent in the back of the wheel, you just need to clean this up with a pin-vice really, not drill to any depth into the hub, final depth of hole ~1mm.

3) dry-fit wheel, chassis and wire axle, then glue axle directly to base of chariot and attach the wheels. This pictures shows the axle, underneath the frame on a finished chariot

4) now you need to make a yoke to attach the horses. The exact dimensions will depend on how you are basing them, but I used another piece of 0.9mm florist's wire (which is fairly bendy) about 23mm long. You need to bend the wire into an elongated "M", with the backs of the horses in the top of each arch and the shaft from the chariot in the base of the central "V".

5) I haven't done any research on Ancient British chariot harnesses, I've just gone for what felt right, so you may want to vary the exact shape of this yoke.

6) Finally assemble the rest of the model. I found it was better to first glue the two horses down and the yoke over their backs, let this set and then glue your chariot sub-assembly from (3) to the base and the yoke. This is mainly because you have a very small area of contact between the round chariot wheels and your figure-base compared to the size and weight of the assembly, and being able to rest/glue the front of the shaft to the solid yoke helps keep it stable while the glue dries. You can also gently file down the bases of the wheels to give a flatter contact surface to glue to the base, but be very careful not to overdo it! Lastly attach the chariot team.

These ones of mine just need the chariot crew painting up now before they are ready to go.

I hope this has been useful, if so leave me a comment to let me know. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Ach so! Now it makes more sense. Looks brilliant and I guess I will have to do the same - only better .-). I found a picture of an ancient Celtic Chariot where the spoke is quite elaborate with gold/bronze working. Could be fun to simulate that. Picture on my site.
    But great work and thanks for the guide - I'll be bending wire for a while now :-).