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Set 42

Ancient Artillery Part 3 - Scorpion

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released Unknown
Contents 6 figures and one catapult
Poses 3 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Dark Grey
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)


The scorpion was a catapult that shot bolts or stones, and came in a number of sizes. It was used by both Greeks and Romans, and this style, with the partly exposed springs of sinew or hair rope, would have been in service until more sophisticated machines appeared during the first century CE.

The model is a fairly simple affair, but has an adequate amount of detail. Some trimming is required, and some holes needed enlarging slightly before all the pieces fitted, but the result is quite reasonable. The model has a three-pointed base, which is fine, although logic and modern reconstructions would suggest that there should be reinforcing struts to strengthen the support. Nonetheless the model, the stem of which stands at about chest height, is a fair representation.

The 'crew' that come with the machine are not really anything of the sort. One of the men seems to be standing guard with spear and shield, and is clearly not interacting with the ballista at all. He wears mail armour, a helmet that is a poor representation of the imperial Gallic type, and carries an oval shield. The second man is on the march, with full kit suspended and arranged around him. He carries his rectangular scutum shield and has covered it with an oiled leather cover, which was necessary to avoid the wooden shield soaking up rain and getting much heavier. Clearly this arrangement, which is perfectly valid, was not used when action was anticipated, so although this is a very useful figure that had not been produced by other manufacturers at the time, it bears no relation to the artillery. The third figure is the only one concerned with the ballista. He is carrying a couple of bolts, which is fine but hardly constitutes a full crew.

The marching soldier wears the lorica segmentata, or segmented armour that was introduced during the first century CE, so the figures seem to represent the mid first century CE, when the style was in transition, and just before this type of machine was superseded. This is a curious collection of parts, and we would have liked to have seen more dedicated crew members, with the marching figures becoming part of a separate set of legions on the march. As usual with LW the detail is not always clear and there is a lot of trimming to be done, but the subject matter makes this an interesting set.


Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 2
Pose Number 1
Sculpting 5
Mould 4

Further Reading
"Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World" - Greenhill - Simon Anglim - 9781853675225
"Greece and Rome at War" - Greenhill - Peter Connolly - 9781853673030
"Greek and Roman Artillery 399BC - AD363" - Osprey (New Vanguard Series No.89) - Duncan Campbell - 9781841766348
"Roman Military Equipment" - Oxbow - M C Bishop & J C Coulston - 9781842171592
"The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome" - Wargames Research Group - Phil Barker - 9780904417173
"The Complete Roman Army" - Thames & Hudson - Adrian Goldsworthy - 9780500051245
"The Roman Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs" - Crowood Press (Europa Militaria Special Series No.2) - Daniel Peterson - 9781861262646
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