Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Trebuchet - Part 1 of 2

This small model trebuchet detailed in these two posts was made as a direct result of a very frustrating encounter with an awful 'Finecast' version from Games Workshop. I may give a blow by blow account in a future post if I can ever be bothered to finish it. The parts are currently lying in a pile, bent and broken, somewhere in a storage box.  I did nevertheless manage to divert a complete disaster by using the resin kit as a template to create the one detailed in this post and which will explain why it looks similar.

The base of the not exactly FineCast (?) GW version,
the less said about it, the better.
Anyway back to my version. This model has been made mainly from balsa, with hardwood round dowel, plastic sprue, copper wire, wooden coffee stirrers and model chain for the various detailing. 
All new and improved WIP hand-built balsa version,
note the original location of the winch. 
As I've just mentioned I used the original individual model parts from the GW model as a initial guide for the main framework. I used lapjoints wherever the beams crossed each other, which were easy to make with balsa. For the main throwing arm/beam I used a hardwood dowel as I thought balsa wouldn't have enough linear strength. I gradually dry-fitted the components piece by piece until I was assured that all the parts went together correctly before they were glued in place.
On my command, unleash the Werther's Originals .. sorry, I meant... 'Unleash Hell!'

As I wanted to add a slide for the stone balls, a feature seen in medieval illustrations of trebuchets, it gradually dawned on me that using the GW model as a guide wouldn't work. The stone and sling would fowl the spindle for the winch mechanism. With this in mind and recalling numerous artillery pieces from various re-enactment societies I moved the spindle and placed it at the very rear of the model.

The counter weight is made from the ubiquitous wooden coffee stirrers, the bolts were made by simply chopping off small sections of a cocktail stick. Once made, I filled the box with scrap pieces of foam and then topped it off with small pebbles to represent large boulders and then filled the gaps with sand all stuck in place with copious amounts of PVA wood glue.

The sling is made from the thin metal wrapper from a tube of tomato puree and all the rope/cables are made from copper wire stripped out from electrical cable. The slide itself is made from wooden coffee stirrers.

At this stage I was considering adding a ratchet mechanism using plastic card but I stopped, put my tools down and actually thought 'That's enough, it's only a gaming piece not a museum piece." 

The model does (or did before I glued everything into place) actually work in the sense that both the arm and counter balance can freely rotate and fully swing. However, I did made the counter balance too large and it hangs too low; in a full scale version it would mash into the framework and do more damage to the crew than any enemy castle.


  1. That is amazing, really. I love DIY projects like this one. That will look really good on a gaming table!

  2. That's some wonderful bit conversion work!


  3. Thanks for the comments. I'm not sure what's next yet but I may attempt to make the GW version.

  4. Looks very good.. With The GW version it looks like the counterweight would hit the running board anyway and probably, as you say, smash the winding gear.