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"Armoured Successor Elephants from Aventine" Topic

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Phil Hendry Fezian11 Dec 2009 4:45 p.m. PST

And now I'm going to have to do a Successors campaign/project too, just so as I can justify yet more nellies.

I hate you, Aventine Miniatures. wink

CorporalTrim11 Dec 2009 5:04 p.m. PST

Beautiful model. What's holding that tower in place though ?


Spotter11 Dec 2009 5:10 p.m. PST


The tower is mounted on a base that has the securing points. The straps are under the side cloths, run around the rear of the elepant and across the chest.


Aventine Miniatures

Mark S11 Dec 2009 5:22 p.m. PST


What is the inspiration for this elephant?
I admit I do not have many pictures of armoured elephants, latest Osprey and WRG book on Punic Wars. Neither show successor elephants as heavily armoured as this one. I also have a picture from a Montvert on Seleucid Elephants but not the book.That one is even more heavily armoured, with scale armour over the body and trunk rather than plates.
Any info please.

AncientWarfare12 Dec 2009 4:04 a.m. PST

Hi Mark
Pictorial evidence for armored elephants is rare. All I can think of is a bronze sculpture (now in Munich) of an elephant's head (and a bit of rump) which seems to show scale armor.

Spotter12 Dec 2009 4:38 a.m. PST


Sorry wrong person to ask on this one, I will pass onto Adam for a full answer soon.



Atheling12 Dec 2009 5:10 a.m. PST

Absolutely fantastic stuff!



Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Dec 2009 6:35 a.m. PST

Lurrevly jubberly; I've ordered another elephant to wait in the wings with the other six I need to paint.


colin knight12 Dec 2009 5:09 p.m. PST


Smithy13 Dec 2009 3:51 p.m. PST

Glad you like the nellies and thanks to everyone who's mailed us with so much positive feedback. I quite enjoyed making them.
Sources for the armoured elephants are much thinner on ground than the others we produced. I could't track down a pic of the broken bronze statuette mentioned by Duncan Head in the WRG 'Armies & Enemies book mentioned by Mark above. However, as that book has two illustrations partly based on it I thought it safe to carry on.
The very long blanket is depicted on the well known small terracotta supposedly depicting the 'Elephant Victory' of Antiochus I. The terracotta, WRG 'Armies and Enemies' and the Osprey book by Constantine Nossov all show the method I adopted for attaching the turret.
Scale is mentioned on the broken bronze by Duncan Head. Quite whether you agree with 'upside down' scales is a matter of choice. I can think of several reasons against and in the end opted for the conventional.
The above terracotta also shows legs armoured with 'hoops'. Quite what these are made of is anyone's guess. One thing that did strike me was that although a lot of illustrations depict it as bronze rather than an organic material, none of them illustate how the 'hoops' were attached or held together. For that I turned to the recent work carried out on reconstructions of Roman 'Manica' This link may be useful to show it's construction.
Note the rivets holding the plates together and the strap arrangement. In this I think we have gone further than any other company in depicting it as a working plate defense.
As for the armoured trunk, again I've used the Roman 'Manica' as inspiration. Although there is no direct evidence for it's use in 'our' period 'armoured' trunks are known from India and some are illustrated in the Nossov Osprey book. I thought it looked both impressive and somehow appropriate. This 'trunk' armour can be of scale, lamellar, mail or over lapping plates as on the Aventine elephant.
I must emphasize that no known examples of elephant armour exist for the later Hellenistic period although Nossov's book does show armour plates from Taxila dating to the 1st cent BC/1st cent AD.
I hope this helps Mark. I've tried to produce a reconstruction that is as accurate as any other on the market and one I hope fires peoples immagination and keeps them playing.

JJartist15 Dec 2009 9:31 a.m. PST

I like Aventine's "Manic" elephant. It is more 'conjectural' than the conjecture of others based on one or two sources. I bought one because it looked cool- that's all. Certainly the manica often displayed on models (even by me) on elephant legs being hoops of bronze is crazy. What would hold something like that on? Elephant legs are not like the pillars of temples like some models depict, they are tapered like, er, legs.

The same principles apply to elephant legs as human legs, what would keep them on? They are not elastic. And if they are heavy, then how much does an elephant tolerate having his circulation cut off to tightly bind his legs??

My guess is to often paint the leg bands as leather, as this seems like it could be at least tied on --- if that wouldn't cut the circulation to the elephant's feet. The artist (Peter Dennis) for the Osprey on elephants makes a judgement that any leg protection must "be above the knee", this makes more sense as this could be supported by the trappings and belts, or if small eneoguh might float above the joint as in the Mughal illustration below. Most of the Mughal elephants with ceremonial armor do not have leg pieces, and in Indian art ususally only ropes are shown adorning feet. Of course the Indian commentators seem to imply the best protection for the elephant's legs are escorts, two men for each leg.





So as shown above, the Elephant and Gaul (Seleucid terracotta) is the most favorable image of leggings. The item gives no readily identifiable way of attaching these to the legs. The Mughal armor in museums and in artwork are interesting in that they use scale, and lamellar, and plates, but usually no leggings are depicted. Often they have ropes and even flowers around their feet, but that's because their feet are wider than their lower legs- which again taper.

The idea of upside down scale is equally problematical. Scale is layers of small plates held on top of each other mostly by gravity, turn it upside down and it does not hold together unless strapped together at the top of each plate, which kind of defeats the idea of scale overlapping. Not saying this is impossible, but seems impractical.


So are these leg bands cocked up and ridiculous? Probably so… like I said I usually paint them as leather or cloth, but in this case I went for bronze plate… lala la lala la….

So back to the point, I like the Aventine manica plate model, because it is different, fanciful, and cool looking (as opposed to different, fanciful, and dumb looking- or to big). As a complete reprentative of the Pergamum reliefs and other sources, a bit less historical probably, but would make for a nifty Roman Empire elephant in Britain :)


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