Monday, February 19, 2018

The Housemartin Speaks, Chariot Racing

     Well, since Anton got all excited and started cranking off the drivers, I decided I should get my act together and get the rest of the circus under way. 

     The company 4Ground makes all manner of interesting things out of laser cut MDF in various scales.  In what they call 28mm (it might be 20mm) they happen to have a series of Chariots.  There is no particular rhyme or reason to the range as far as I can see consisting of Egyptian and Celtic, although both can be use for other groups with a little conversion work. 

     So in looking around I could only find the Egyptian chariots on offer from a company in Italy and they only had three sets (2 chariots to a pack) in stock so I ordered all three and picked up a pack of Celtic chariots from a U.S. Supplier.  Both were companies on Ebay and each pack came in for around 6 dollars including postage.  So 24$ total bought me the collection.  Herewith the assembly. 

       This is the Egyptian package out of the bag.  Plus my friend Elmer.  With a little patience it goes together easily enough. 

Here is a close up on the two sides of the actual Chariot.  With the Egyptian chariot you get a choice of two or four horse yoke.  To the best of my knowledge the Egyptians never used four Horse chariots so someone must have some conversion ideas in mind.

Here is a close up on the directions (literacy is optional with these) in case anyone really wants to see.   

Construction begins with the basic chassis.  The center pole glues into the "A frame".  You can see a wheel to the left and the two horse yoke sitting on a stack of included bases on the right.   

Here we have one of the "fiddly" steps.  They give you a little piece of cardboard colored to look generally like a chariot liner.  You have to find something about the right size and bend the cardboard in preparation for inserting this into the cab floor.  Meanwhile you ... 

Need to lay a bead of glue in the precut channel at the edge of the cab base.  This is a skill that requires a few tries if you want to get the bend and glue done serviceably.  A couple of mistakes by my hand are clearly visible above. 

Next you insert the bent cardboard into the glued track.  Not bending the cardboard is a bad idea as it is MUCH harder for some reason to get it into the channel.  Gluing after the cardboard is in place is also not a good idea as it does not hold well.  Finally, unless you like smeared glue dried on your work surface it is a marvelous idea to work on one of the plastic bags the kit comes in as the MDF does not glue down well to plastic.  The Bane of this project, the accursed wooden edges of the cab are visible in this picture as well. 

If you ever decide to build these, do not bother trying to get the hateful little rails to actually stay in place.  just run a bead of glue along the top of the cardboard and in the channel of the cab base and get the blighters in general place.  

Here we see both sides generally in place, speed in these steps is not critical, but the faster you get all three pieces generally in place the better from my experience. 

Once all three are in place the whole cab takes MUCH better visual shape, but it does not glue together very well if left unattended. 

After much experimentation I hit upon this method.  I have taken the cab, turned it upside down and weighted it down with a pen and a mechanical pencil.  The two provide enough weight to hold the whole in place, but not too much to distort the cardboard.  Upside down causes all the glue to stay at the point of contact for the MDF and cardboard.  As you can also see the curved shape of the cab will not stand up by itself so leaning it up against the pile of bases allows the entire to stand properly while drying.  

Once it is dried the cab easily lines up on the chassis and glues smoothly.  

The Wheels, which are the standard two piece gluing assembly used by 4Ground, are NOT intended to rotate.  You glue the wheel on, then a separate round hub is glued over the wheel.  The axle is rectangular so remember this is not intended to be freely rotating.  That said, they are a breeze to install. 

Finally for the Egyptian Chariot, the four horse yoke is glued on near the end of the center pole.  Both pieces are notched so they go together easily.  One odd thing I noted.  The four horse yoke would not balance on the center pole during gluing.  The driver's perspective right side is always heavier and sank down.  I discovered that placing one of the Two horse yokes under the right side balanced the situation out.  I could not detect the difference in length visually, but the effect was consistent all six times. 

With the Egyptians sorted I moved on to the Celtic Chariots.  Please allow me to start with an apology.  I neglected to take a picture of the kit out of the box.  As you will see the cab is different and there is a minor variance in the chassis.  Otherwise the only difference is that there is no four horse yoke option. 

To get around the lack of a four horse yoke I took the two, two horse yokes, included and glued each of them to two of the Egyptian two horse yokes creating two four horse yokes.  I then laid a bead of glue on the entire exposed single layer of the yoke to try and strengthen it. 

Next up glue the center pole and the "A-frame" together.  In this case the center pole goes under the axle of the chariot instead of ending at the axle as the Egyptian chariots did.  It is not as stable while drying, but still works well and creates a "step" for warrior boarding or exiting the chariot in action as existed historically. 

There are two side wall choices for the Celtic chariot.  I elected to go with the simple woven pattern curved design for two reasons.  First, I liked it better.  Second the other design came with little cardboard inserts that you were supposed to glue into the side panels and I had another use for those side panels. 

Here you have both side panels glued in place.

Next the cab glues onto the chassis.  Again very easy. 

Then the wheels are glued on.  The Celtic chariot possesses much more robust wheels than the Egyptian. 

Finally, my homebrewed four horse yoke is glued in place.  Amazingly these were perfectly balanced.  I figured for sure they would be off center and require propping, but both stood proud with no assistance. 

Here is the entire Mob.  The Celtic chariots are on the far right still drying. 

     And here they are the next afternoon when I had a chance to throw a coat of paint on them.  Two of each circus color for all four complete teams ready to race.  Now all I need is to get the horses squared away, figure out a track and paint the drivers once Anton gets them completed.  Future updates will follow as those steps fall into place. 

     I did have to pass along a bit of bad news to Anton, Pennies will not fit inside the chariot cabs so the pennies will have to go from the drivers.  

     And here is a view of the track that comes with the rules, enlargement is required, methinks.



  1. Great build review. I just picked up a 2 pack of the Egyptian for my stable of chariots. I noticed that there is an extra piece labeled "J" but it doesn't appear anywhere in the directions. Any thoughts?

  2. Hello Ogre42,

    This question is a welcome blast from the past. My apologies on the delay in reply.

    Let me start by saying that I did not keep the directions and do not remember the part you are asking about. However, I believe that part "J" is intended to be the quiver on the outside of the chariot. They usually contained some Javelins for throwing as the chariots tooled around the battlefield.

    Good building.