August 12, 2016

TOM STARK'S PLASTIC PASSIONS: The Persian Scythed Chariot by Expeditionary Force

Click on image to enlarge of PSN07
Hello to all...I am back again with a look at the Expeditionary Force (EF) Persian Scythed Chariot. (ref. EXP-PSN07) It is quite a piece of industrial engineering I must say. I had heard a few gripes about EF figures being kits and this piece will do nothing to dissuade those opinions. This nifty little chariot, which in the 60mm format of the Greek and Persian figures is not little at all, has no less than 13 pieces. Four horses, in two poses, each with a base and three pieces of body armor account for 20 more pieces and the two figures another 8. That’s 41 before you get to the weapons, whip, and optional bases for the men and a couple alternate heads.

Superglue compatible, assembly really is no trick at all except for the fit of the front chariot body to the chariot base. The three sides of the chariot body have a raised edge, a “tongue”,  to fit into a groove on the abutting pieces and on mine the base had deformed ever so slightly, likely from the plastic still being warm when ejected from the mold, preventing the tongue and groove from fitting properly. This may have been an exception on the kit I got and may not be a trait of the modeling itself. It took a whole 90 seconds with an X-acto knife to trim the tongue to fit but, unlike other EF products, this fit was not snug and clean. In fact, none of the fits on the chariot pieces are keyed “plug fits” and few will really stay together without gluing.

These are small criticisms in the scheme of things and Scott Lam, the man behind EF told me a story which speaks to the high degree of accuracy he demands of his products. The driver has a whip which is forked at the end.  Apparently, this type of whip was represented in archeological evidence relied on in planning the models. The whip is part of the mold with the main chariot pieces which he intended to mold in a harder version of the plastic he uses for his figures to give the chariot body some rigidity. However, the harder plastic does not flow as readily as the softer resulting in the whip losing its forked tip. EF’s solution is not to provide a whip without the historically-derived fork. Instead he shoots the mold twice, once with the hard and once with the soft plastic sending all of the soft chariot body pieces to be reground and reused. Just to get the whip right! I don’t know about you, but I’ll bet one in a thousand collectors would have been bothered by a straight whip. Not good enough for EF though.

Primed example to show detail
The assembled chariot is a thing to be feared. It is awesome and with the forward thrusting spear tips on the double yokes and scythe blades all around, I can see how these were an instrument of fear in their day. 100 % compatible in scale and color with past EF Persians I will be adding a few more of these to my collection to take on that herd of Greeks EF released in this series.

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