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Set VA123

Catapult with Crew

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2009
Contents 1 engine with 4 figures
Poses 4 poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)


Giant crossbows such as this weapon were known in ancient times, and are likely to have remained in use in the Byzantine world after the fall of the western Empire. Whether Western Europe also retained such things is uncertain today, but after contact with the more advanced Islamic world as a result of the Crusades, such devices again appeared in medieval western armies. These were not thought to be battlefield weapons, but rather used in the defence of castles, often installed to cover gates and other key points where enemy troops would be expected to congregate. They were also used by those attacking strongpoints, but probably to a lesser extent.

Such weapons naturally followed the basic principles of the crossbow, but otherwise their precise design was a matter of personal preference. They varied enormously in size, but as we have said they were generally static and placed in strategic positions. The model in this set is very unusual in that it is mounted on a wheeled carriage, which suggests (but does not demand) use outside of a fixed fortification. The wheels are 17mm (1.2 m) in diameter, and the main shaft of the weapon is 60mm (4.3 m) in length, coming to about thigh height when held horizontally. Of course to hold it horizontally would require some form of support, and the kit includes a thin rod which fits into the carriage to achieve this. Such a rod could be varied to alter the elevation of the weapon, but horizontal was the normal mode of operation. The kit comes in several parts which fit together well enough and make an attractive model.

The four crew figures are all busily interacting with the weapon in realistic poses. They wear a spanghelm with nasal guard, a steel cap and a couple of kettle hats of different types on their heads, and three wear a quilted jack or gambeson while the fourth has a plain tunic, all of knee length. Two have a sword belt and sword, but the men are otherwise unarmed. They are very nicely proportioned, with great facial expressions and realistic detail. The very occasional bit of flash is easy to remove as the very hard plastic these figures are made from makes for flash that is so thin it can be brushed away.

This is an appealing model which is being very well attended by the crew. The poses are possibly thanks to a flexible mould, so there is no assembly of the men yet they are in natural, three-dimensional postures. Another great little product from Valdemar.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 10
Sculpting 10
Mould 9

Further Reading
"Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons" - The Lyons Press - Konstantin Nossov - 9781592287109
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"Medieval Military Costume" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.8) - Gerry Embleton - 9781861263711
"Medieval Siege Weapons (1) Western Europe AD 585-1385" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.58) - David Nicolle - 9781841762357

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