Philip of Macedonia was the first to develop a separate artillery arm for his army - beforehand such artillery engines had mostly only been used in sieges. Artillery had originally been giant crossbows in one form or another, but the engine in this set is one of the new catapults which were powered by springs of twisted sinew or hair to give them a much better range. These came in various shapes and sizes, and this one is very low (the central stem reaches just above a man's knee) and quite simple. Its lack of height suggests a short-range weapon as it would be difficult to gain much height for the bolt or stone it hurled.
Most of the evidence for this kind of device points to larger more complex machines, though it is quite possible that this design could have been used. However the two rods which are held in the spring and form the 'bow' are very short - too short for the length of the central arm. Also, there is no bowstring or any mechanism for retracting the string except for the handles that would have been used for this.
The set also includes three figures. Since each machine has two handles, a crew of at least two would seem reasonable, and quite possibly more, so this does not represent a full complement of crew. Both the figures have hands outstretched, apparently holding something such as the winching handles, though the handles themselves are too low to meet these hands. The figures are dressed in broadly Greek/Macedonian style, but the definition is poor and it is difficult to make much out. There is a fair bit of flash, and the use of a very dark grey plastic does not help matters either. Some crew carrying bolts or stones would have been a good idea, but alas it was not to be.
The catapults are quite simple, but we found that several holes needed to be enlarged before the parts fitted correctly. Also the central stem of both catapults was bent, though whether this was due to a fault in manufacture or as a result of damage in transit we do not know.
These are not particularly impressive models, and the same can be said of the figures. It is difficult to be sure about the accuracy, though clearly the missing parts are essential to their operation. However at present no-one else produces such models except the Zvezda siege engines sets, and those are considerably larger.