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Raphia 217 BC - A terrifying colossus

Posted by krugi3 on 05 Dec 2021, 13:51

Hello!

The next little diorama is finished - this time we take a look at the battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Historical background
After the death of Alexander the great his empire disintegrates in several parts, when each of his former commanders tried to take his share. Long years of war between them followed, known as the diadochi wars. After the end of this conflict two of this successor states (the Seleucid empire and Ptolemaic Egypt) started a new series of wars - the Syrian wars (6 wars, lasting with interruptions from 274 to 168 BC). In the 4th war the battle of Raphia (modern day Rafah, near Gaza in Israel) took place and it was one of the largest of the whole conflict – especially famous for its use of war elephants on both sides (a rarity). The Seleucids used Indian elephants and the Egyptians smaller African forest elephants. The battle started with an attack by the elephants by both sides, but the Egyptian elephants on the left flank panicked before contact and were put to flight with the Seleucids persuing them, on the right flank the Egyptian elephants refused to move at all and only excessive cavalry attacks saved them from being overrun. The decision had to happen in the center by the phalanxes, where the Egyptians had the better end. This victory ensured Ptolemaic dominance over Syria, but not for long.

The moment depicted is the attack of the Seleucid elephants supported by some light infantry on the Egyptian right flank. Egyptian cavalry tries to stop their advance, but have extreme difficulties with penetrating the heavy armour of the beasts.

The diorama
The figures are from Zvezda and this elephant also deserves a seperate praise - perfect work! I added a little detail in creating a convincing throat (only slightly visible), some small gaps between the parts had to be covered with putty. The colouring of the elephant was the same problem as in the Zama diorama, but owing to the armour not as much skin had to be done.

The elephant is according to Zvezda a forest elephant, but for the species it is too large. As the animal is covered with a lot of armour, it is exceptable for an Indian elephant. The mahout in front of the tower controls the movement of the elephant and the fighting crew tries to shield the flanks of the beast. Additional light infantry also has this job. The main function was the sheer might and weight of the elephant to disrupt the enemy lines, but it isn't possible to steer the animal directly into a wall of soldiers with spears to their front - the elephant simply stops or even worse he got afraid and turned and crashed blindly through his own soldiers. A scared elephant is hard to stop and the mahout carried a hammer and a chisel blade for this moment - to ram it down through the forehead of the animal as a final solution.

Here you can see the final diorama:
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y__uYIv1ulU
Pictures: http://tkr172.blogspot.com/

And here a few teasers:

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Greetings from Austria
Thomas Krug
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krugi3  Austria
 
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Posted by Kostis Ornerakis on 05 Dec 2021, 16:03

Excellent work!! :yeah: :-D
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Kostis Ornerakis  Greece
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Posted by C M Dodson on 05 Dec 2021, 16:16

Excellent work.

There is a real presence here illustrated with top quality pictures and composition.

Best wishes,

Chris
C M Dodson  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by Minuteman on 05 Dec 2021, 16:51

Superb! Such a lot of action going on around this very well-armoured and powerful war-elephant. Great modelling and painting.
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Minuteman  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by Ben90 on 05 Dec 2021, 17:12

Wonderful! You did an awesome job there!!!
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Ben90  Germany
 
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Posted by Peter on 05 Dec 2021, 17:40

Small dio with a lot of action on it! Me like! ;-) :thumbup:
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Michael Robert on 05 Dec 2021, 20:02

Hello Krugi
A perfect success, your dio. Composition, colour and all. With all the Linear A stuff coming up you can enlarge and go on a real spree…
Concerning the elefant, the shape of the ears is African type, but I am not a button counter, the more so when it’s ears
Real pleasure
Greetings
Michael
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Michael Robert  France

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Posted by MABO on 05 Dec 2021, 20:32

I like it as well. Very dynamic scene and the painting of the figures is really nice. Better than the Alexander scene you posted recently! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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MABO  Europe
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Posted by Peter on 05 Dec 2021, 22:30

Michael Robert wrote:Concerning the elefant, the shape of the ears is African type, but I am not a button counter, the more so when it’s ears
Real pleasure
Greetings
Michael

Don't let the elephant "HEAR" it! :mrgreen:
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Erich von Manstein on 06 Dec 2021, 01:19

Excellent work on this well-implemented battle scene.
Great painting, really good scenery and a striking & action-packed composition.
:thumbup:
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Erich von Manstein  Barbados
 
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Posted by Iceman1964 on 06 Dec 2021, 13:05

Great dio ! Best compliments.
I have too a raphia elephants dio in the to-do-list, it will be really hard to compete with your ;-)
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Iceman1964  Italy
 
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Posted by Patrick71 on 06 Dec 2021, 21:41

:thumbup: Excellent diorama with beautiful painted figures!
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Posted by OwenChpw on 07 Dec 2021, 00:32

Thomas, your dioramas are always impressive and I'm consistently awed by your work. I love the sense of movement on the base!
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OwenChpw  Australia
 
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Posted by Kekso on 07 Dec 2021, 13:37

Well, elephant is great but that leopard skin is WOW :o
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Kekso  Croatia

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Posted by Santi Pérez on 09 Dec 2021, 20:50

Wonderful diorama, krugi3, as also are the YouTube video and the complete photo report in your blog. Well selected figures painted with amazing detail and forming a very well balanced scene. :love: :notworthy: :love: :notworthy:

My very best congratulations! :thumbup:

Santi.
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Santi Pérez  Spain
 
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