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Saturday 20 May 2023

Roman Anti Elephant Carts

I was inspired to make up some elephant carts after seeing the plate in the Osprey Pyrrhus army book. It looked great, sported a scorpion bolt thrower and was pushed by oxen, however I felt this was a bit fanciful. I envisioned the carts more like a wagon fort, being pulled and filled with missile troops and long spears. If they are meant to block elephants I would have thought any artillery would need to be placed behind the frontline. So I made my carts a bit more simplistically. 

To make these 20mm Roman anti elephant carts I started with 4 x Sea people ox carts (ANCH03) as 2 carts are needed to make 1 anti elephant cart. The 2 base components need to be glued together, the rear section  had the beam and yoke removed and both were filed to give a closer fit. Once superglued I used a few bits of cocktail stick to reinforce the joint on the underside.

Next I attached the wheels with difficulty and with 20/20 hindsight I would leave this step until AFTER the sides have been sorted. The side sections that join in the middle had their chamfers snipped off and filed to give a better join while all the other side parts were left unmodified, when it was dry the gaps were filled. Once the main cart was assembled all the components were painted up.

The carts were basecoated in dark brown then built up with various browns, khakis and beige colours until I felt it was done. The oxen were painted as well as the drovers which were spare Greek catapult crew that Sean at Newline Designs kindly and thoughtfully sent after I told him my intentions with the carts. Then it was the fighting crew.

The crew much like the chariots I left loose, so the carts could be generic baggage carts. I used Newline Velites (ANR05) for the unarmoured crew and armoured pikeman is a conversion using a Roman head in Montefortino style helmet and Carthaginian pikeman body:


When all the components were completed the oxen and drovers were glued to the base then the whole base was filled with filler for the ground texture. After the filler was dry and painted the carts were attached before the static grass was applied. It will be some time before I'll have a Pyrrhic war battle so I set them up with some elephants for a quick scene. 

The Roman ox carts attempt to impede the stampeding elephants of Pyrrhus:


  1. Unusual additions to your collection. Have not seen any of these on a Wargaming table before. Very creative effort. Good job!

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yes also not seen any also not found any present in scenarios! I'll have to look for or design one!

  2. I worked on the same idea when building a Pyrrhus diorama years ago - http://historyin172.blogspot.com/2011/03/pyrrhus.html

    1. Very nice Uwe yours looks a lot more potent than mine with those spikes!