The African forest elephant produced by HäT is even shorter than the original, it measures only 2.1 m at the shoulder. Forest elephants were too small to carry a tower, they were just ridden like horses. A Numidian mahout drove the animal and behind him sat an archer and a lance-armed infantryman. The tiny forest elephant shown here will be deployed in wargames without any infantry on the back, until a suitable archer or infantryman is found. By comparison, the African plains elephant shown next to it is 3.2 m tall and capable of carrying a tower with three soldiers. The model is a toy elephant purchased at a flea market. The tower was built from balsa, and the blanket was cut from an old T-shirt. The crew will eventually consist of four men, the mahout, officer, and infantryman shown above, plus an archer. The archer is missing, but the other three men were taken from the HäT kit of the forest elephant. The infantryman’s lance is 5.5 m long, it was called a sarissa.
- 18 miniatures in 4 Poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm height
- 6 Numidian mahouts (elephant drivers)
- 6 Carthaginian officers with standard
- 6 Carthaginian infantry with lance, in 2 poses
- 6 elephants in 2 Poses – 29,5 mm equal 210 cm height
- 6 towers – 14,5 mm wide, 13 mm deep, 21 mm tall
Good choice of subject. African forest elephants were captured and tamed by the Numidians, who used them in battle. However, these animals were too small to carry a tower, they were ridden like horses.
Satisfactory detail. Faces, hair, clothes, armour and weapons are in evidence.
Good poses, the elephant driver and the soldiers are sculpted correctly.
Satisfactory casting quality. Noticeable flash and thick mould lines need to be removed prior to painting.
The African forest elephant is not sculpted correctly.
- The elephant’s ears should be much rounder, and they would stand straight out when the animal is agitated in a combat situation. This threatening posture is shown correctly on the box cover, even if the ears are not drawn correctly there either, but the model has its ears folded back against the shoulders. This mistake is difficult to fix. Separate ears would have been a much more realistic option.
- The legs and feet are almost cylindrical, but that’s a feature of the Asian elephant. The African elephant has thin legs and large, saucer-shaped feet.
- The front feet have only three hooves, but four would have been required. In addition, the hooves are out of scale and they protrude too far.
- The tusks and trunk are sculpted in one piece, resulting in an unrealistic inward curvature of the tusks. Separate tusks would habe been a more realistic option.
The mahout ends up kneeling on the animal’s ears, because the neck is very narrow. Instead, the driver should straddle the elephant’s neck and ride the animal like a horse.
The rounded shields on the tower sides are shown correctly on the box cover, but the models are completely flat. Since the tower is too small to accomodate the typical three-man crew, serious modellers will want to build their own from balsa wood. The tower shown above is 22 mm tall and 17 mm square.
The infantryman should be armed with a lance 5.5 m to 6 m long if he is to be used inside the tower of a larger plains elephant. Since the plastic lance is too thick anyway, replace it with a «sarissa» cut from 0.5 mm pianowire. The tip of the sarissa may be scratchbuilt from paper, glued into place and hardened with superglue.
There is no archer in the set. The African forest elephant typically carried an archer or two who knelt on the back of the animal or straddled it like a horse. The crew supplied in this set may be used for a larger plains elephant with tower, suitably converted from a plastic toy, but an archer would be required in this case as well.
- DBA Army 31b, Late Carthaginians – 11th Element
The African forest elephant produced by HaT Industrie is unique in this scale. Other manufacturers have released models of war elephants based on the more impressive African plains elephant, which carried a tower. Even if HäT’s interpretation of the African forest elephant with tower and crew is not entirely correct, the kit parts will be very useful for a number of interesting conversions.