Leonardo da Vinci Trebuchet
Roughly 18 x 8 x 24. Throws small objects over 20 feet. Includes soft clay balls.
Leonardo's trebuchet design was quite different from all that went before him as it had a single pole that the swing arm was attached to it. Of interest in this design is that if you look carefully it appears that the mast that the swing arm was attached to seems to be buried into the ground, and in fact if there was an appropriate sized tree where the trebuchet was needed the swing arm and counterbalance could be mounted on top - no need to build a superstructure!
It is possible that this was merely a sketch to show that he knew how to make machines of this nature, and that the people he would show it too didn't care too much about the details, but to make this design work there would have to be two boxes - one on either side of the mast.
As previously noted, Leonardo's siege engine designs, and even many of his bridge designs were made as part of his rsum, when he was looking to get the job of military engineer with a Lord or Duke. In fact it has been suggested that the underwater breathing apparatus he designed was to get a job with the Duke of Venice, to help him defend against attack from the sea (his idea was to wear the underwater outfit, walk along the floor of the harbour, drill holes in the hull of the invading armies ships so they sink in the harbour and cannot attack). He didn't get that job...
It is likely Leonardo knew that the people he was showing this too would not understand the specifics of the machine, so it is possible he just drew ropes on to show that there would be a way to reload the trebuchet.
The main purpose of these all-natural, untreated wood kits is to demonstrate scientific principles in action. Heres how they work: each kit comes as a set of pre-cut wooden pieces, which are assembled according to illustrated black and white instructions. Once you finish putting everything together, the set becomes a fully-functional scientific or historical representation. The catapult, for example, stands at 8" tall, 5" wide, and can fling small objects over 15 feet. But its not just a glued-together wooden frame with a rubber band attached; these kits are put together almost precisely how the real thing was, using only authentic parts. Small wooden pegs (miniature versions of the huge pegs used in the real deal) connect crossbars, supports, and pieces of the frame just as nails would in modern-day building projects. A tiny rope strung through the middle and wound by torsion bars gives the catapult its power, allowing it to hurl miniature stand-ins such as fruit, marshmallows, or even tiny rocks in the exact same way several-hundred-pound projectiles were once thrown in medieval times.
The attention to detail and precise engineering of these kits is absolutely wonderful. While this level of complexity increases the time it takes to put together these kits (about 1 to 2 hours), it also drastically improves the functionality and realism. Kids can learn not only how modern and medieval inventions were put together, but they can also see the scientific principles in action that make them work. The creator of these kits even suggests combining the medieval siege weapons with math and physics lessons to learn about trajectories and graphing. The hydraulics-powered Robotic Arm is a great example of a scientific principle in action. Using three different syringes on a control panel of sorts, the arm can be used to move up and down, turn, and grab objects between two foam panels.
All kits are fully interactive. Catapults and trebuchets throw things, bridges can turn and lift using cranks and other wooden controls, and hydraulic machines can be controlled by liquid-filled syringes. These kits are also made to be supplemented with other toys; kids can use LEGO figures or other toys to man siege engines or operate bridge controls as a miniature train or other vehicle starts to cross. For more advanced builders and artists, all kits can be painted piece-by-piece to look even better.