Friday, March 11, 2011

Improving on the Split Egg and Spool Horse

When I first saw Matt Kirkhart's cavalry on the Wargaming on a Budget forum I thought "well that's clever!" Matt had taken two wooden "split eggs" and a spool, along with a little pipe cleaner and paint, and turned it into a horse. My first cavalry figures used the same shapes, albeit larger versions, as I was working in 42mm.

Over time I started experimenting with changing the head, mostly by positioning the head to look in different directions, but also posing it so that the horse is rearing on its hind legs. The one thing I was unsatisfied with, however, was the neck. I put putty between the join of the split egg representing the head and that representing the chest and front legs, and it looked better, but I was still unsatisfied. As I was mostly doing work on infantry, however, I set the problem aside.

Well, a buddy of mine has purchased a fully painted 28mm Seleucid (lead) army, mounted for DBA, and he asked me if I had thought about getting into 28mm ancients; after all he would have an army to fight it. I cast about looking at the enemies of the Seleucids and came up with something different - the Armenians. As I started looking at figures I hearkened back to a question I asked on the forum whether anyone had pitted their wooden warriors against a traditional lead or plastic army; no one had. It was always wood on both sides. So, with that in mind I decided to try and build a wooden 28mm army to face off against some heavy metal foes.

The Armenians have 2 cataphract elements (Knights), 4 llight horse, 4 light-medium infantry (Auxilia), and two light infantry (Psiloi). The cataphracts are supposed to be 4 figures on a 60mm frontage, and I wasn't really sure I could so that, but I would see. The main thing is: half of the army is cavalry, so it was time to address the horse issue I had set aside.

So, how to represent a neck? The easiest thing to do was add a flat head plug between the two split eggs. The plug against the split egg for the head would be an easy join as both surfaces are flat. The plug to the second split eggs would be flat to curve, so hearkening back to my old tutorial, I would first sand the spot on the split egg flat to increase the surface area for contact. Second, I would drill a hole into the two split eggs, and through the plug, then insert a dowel to acts as a pin for the whole assembly.

You can see the results below.

One thing I did different from previously is that I raised the spool higher, allowing the shape of the "lip" of the spool to act as the front and back of the saddle.

So, is it perfect? No. I will probably put a gentle sand on the plug to make a slight curve, rather than flattening a spot on the egg. What I do like, however, is that I can position the neck and head in a number of positions (up, down, straight, left, right) and also sand the plug at an angle to tilt the head up or down in relation to the neck. I can definitely see the possibilities for having more variation in the horse.

Finally, the plug gives me a shape to glue yarn, hair, or fur to to act as a mane. All in all, I think I like it. Let me know what you think.


  1. I like your mane idea - there's something to be said for a model horse that feels like a horse.

  2. personally I prefer the older style ... right now this looks like a giraffe or camel to me... but I reserve judgement until your done...





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