Sunday, 26 September 2010

Building a Catapult... Sorry, Trebuchet.


Hello my fellow geeks.  You may remember last week I mentioned I'd been busy gaming, painting and building models.  This time I thought I'd show you one of the tasty fruits of my labour, namely a goblin catapult...
Sorry, it's a trebuchet*.

Being a tight arsed frugal gaming type, I didn't want to shell out for the Games Workshop Rocklobber for my Goblin Army, so I decided to make my own from balsa wood.  As usual I started off with a few sketches, which I then promptly ignored.

I collected my tools and materials and got to work.

Step 1
After making my terrible sketches, I drew the main sections of the catapult to scale, this allowed me to cut my balsa to size and glue them the right way round (building two 'left hand sides' is always a hazard for a frugal builder).
Step 2
With all my pieces of balsa for the main structure cut, I started assembling them using wood glue.  I used pins to hold the pieces while the glue set.
As soon as the main supports were ready, I started work on the throwing arm.
Step 3
With all the main sections assembled, I started work on the detail; the winding drum, the mechanism, etc.  I assembled one side of the trebuchet first, making sure everything was in place before adding the throwing arm and other side of the machine.
I decided to glue the throwing arm in place.  As tempting as it was to allow the arm to move, fixing it in place would make it much easier to paint and add detail to.

Step 4
Once all the woodwork was complete, the main body of the trebuchet assembled and glued to a base, I started adding the detail.  String to represent the ropes and bindings, and plasticard strips to represent metal banding.  To add the detail of bolts to the plastic strips, I used a drill and small pieces of plastic rod, as I did when making tank traps.

The sling holding the rock was made from (wait for it) a rock, with a piece of plasticard heated in warm water bent around it.  A generous dab of two-part epoxy resin made sure it stayed in place.  When it was all set, I scarred the top with a knife to make it look like worn leather.  The whole model was primed grey.
Step 5
To add a bit more 'goblin' to the trebuchet, I added a watchtower.  The idea behind this was that the trebuchet had been looted from the Empire and adapted by it's new owners to be a bit more impressive.  This was built then painted seperately before being attached to the model.  This was the real fun part of the build as I got to cut and glue strangely shaped bits of wood in a crazy greenskin fashion.  When this was finished, it was primed grey.

Step 6
To paint the model I used my trusty airbrush to give it a good basecoat (a 50/50 mix of Snakebite leather and Codex Grey) before drybrushing and washing it.  The shields and boar head were picked out and the tiled roof painted a dark blue.
And that was it really, a little bit more work to finish off the base and it was ready to hit the table!

The crew were all converted, the spotter is a 40k metal Gretchin and the other three are all plastic.  I'm not entirely happy with the Orc Bully's whip, as it looks a bit too fat, but I'm very impressed by the snotling with the huge rock, I think he must have been on the mushroom brew.

From a Frugal point of view this model cost me a small amount of money (in fact I don't think I had to spend anything) but a lot of time.  It was a real labour of love, but I'm pleased with the final results, in fact I think I may start on another, and maybe some bolt throwers...

Until next time, happy gaming.

* For those of you not geeky enough to care, or too geeky and scared to ask; a trebuchet works on gravity, and a catapult works on torsion.

11 comments:

Sigismund said...

Very nice! I like it better than the Bretonnian trebuchet.

D'nyarak said...

I like it. Not sure if frugal is the right word, as that is a lot of balsa wood, but as you say: it is a labor of love. I particularly like the herculean snotling as well.

J Womack, Esq. said...

Very nice. But I think you should have loaded a cow into it. Pitchez le vache!

I've built two catapults in my life, for Scouts and for a science fair project. Mine weren't as pretty, but the onager threw a frozen water balloon about 100 yards. The trebuchet wasn't as powerful - not big enough and not enough weight.

Kuffeh said...

That is a great model, I love that it was made from wood and looks a lot better than the GW version. My favourite part has to be the watch tower added onto it. A nice touch.

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

Excellent construction and tutorial!

Although I'm pretty sure that after the train wreck that was Time Line, the correct term is "Treeeeebuuuuuucheeeeet, Bro!"

Max said...

That is fantastic! I'm considering scratchbuilding a scraplauncher for my Circus Ogres and I could probably steal at least a few design ideas from this. Thanks for posting!

Frugal Dave said...

Thanks Guys! The balsa wood wasn't too expensive, there's probably only £4 of wood there if bought new, but most of it was pieces that I had left around the house.

The wonderful thing about Goblins (and Ogres as well I suppose) is that they don't have to look too neat, so sung scraps of wood and odd shaped pieces works well.

I look forward to seeing any pieces you make!

Von said...

Finally! Nice to see that bad boy done. Definitely tempting me to see if I can match it with half a dozen Beastman Chariots... :p

Frugal Dave said...

Bring it on!

Christian said...

Holy hell! That's a thing of beauty!

Ancientsociety said...

Excellent tutorial, looks like that thing could really fire....."You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

My only critique is the trebuchet itself seems a little too well-constructed next to dat rickety Orc watchtowa!