Most major towns and cities in the lands around ancient Assyria had walls, so any army wishing to carve out an empire needed the technology to assault and lay siege to them. The Assyrians certainly had such technology, and there are a number of illustrations of them attacking cities with a variety of siege engines. The machine in this set consists of a covered body within which a large ram with a chisel head is suspended. This was used to chip away at stone or mud brick walls and to prise open any cracks. Above the ram is a tower with room for many archers, whose job it was to lay a covering fire on the defenders and prevent the machine from being attacked before it had done its work. Assyrian artwork shows several different designs for such machines, so for accuracy we would have to say this seems a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the evidence now available.
The model comes in 36 pieces, and is made in the same hard plastic that was used for previous Orion models. Such a material is very suitable for such models, although the engineering of this one is quite disappointing. For the most part the components are roughly square and fit together fairly roughly, with some gaps occurring where the fit is not precise. The ram is suspended using two 'ropes' which are moulded flat but need to be twisted through 90 degrees to work. Despite the hard plastic this actually works quite well without breaking anything, but we found the loop did not fit over the shaft of the ram, so the alternative suggestion of using thread might be a better bet. Rather more disastrous is that the kit appears to only include two axles when there should be three. Orion say the thick sprue to be found between the 2 axles should be used as a third, but that is very confusing to the customer, although it does at least work.
Apart from the vague fit of the parts, matters are not helped by the instructions, which amount to no more than one exploded view of the model with arrows indicating construction. To a reasonably experienced modeller this is just about adequate but a child may find it insufficient, and certainly care needs to be taken in considering the best order to assemble parts. All parts of the model require glue, and on occasion some extra trimming is required, such as trimming away internal timbers to allow room for the wheels.
Once put together you are struck by the size of the model. It stands 126mm (a little over 9 scale metres) tall at the highest point, which is the tower naturally, and the main body is 115mm (8.3 metres) long and 48mm (nearly 3.5 metres) wide. Of course it needed to be tall to overlook city walls and this certainly seems to do the job well. The large size means there is plenty of room for lots of figures inside, and a very welcome feature of this model is the good internal detail. All sides are detailed as wood planking both outside and inside, and supporting beams are also included. In addition a number of floors are included for the tower, and even a trap door to reach the top. By not gluing the roof a number of figures can be stood inside the tower, making a very impressive scene.
While this is far from the easiest kit to put together and the result is pretty rough we have seen worse, and the attention to detail, particularly inside, makes this quite an appealing product.