Saturday, 19 February 2011

Going Ballistic

So there I was, getting ready to paint the command figures for my legion that I assembled last week, but instead, I've spent a week assembling 6 large ballistae, that I will probably never use in anger.

Front left are 2 beautifully detailed plastic models from Zvezda; to the right two heavy scorpions from BTD, and at the rear 2 whopping great onagers, also from BTD.   Some of the metal models had missing parts which I've replaced with matchsticks and greenstuff.  I've also mounted them all on coffee-stirrer planks, which should work for the field, or in towers.

The onagers are quite possibly later than my EIRs, but what the hell; I've added to the anachronism by placing them behind c17th gabions.  I mean, the Romans could have built gabions, couldn't they?  I'd imagine gabions would provide useful cover agaisnt counter-battery fire.  And they are lovely little resin castings which I have been itching to use.

Looking though my bits boxes, I have at least 12 more small scorpions and 6 small onagers.  I also have an old plastic 54mm Britains catapult that I intend to rebuild into a whopping great 28mm stonethrower.  Clearly I will need to work up some siege rules!


Anonymous said...

Thats a lot of hardware Simon which will pack quite a bunch when they all kick off.

Just for info I got a warning from Google when I clicked on the picture saying may harm your website etc?

ljr70 said...

I really like your work. I have been following this project with great intrest since I started with BTD EIR and want to find a suitable replacement manufacturer to finsh my Roman and Celts, thanks for sharing. You go to love scorpians and stone throwers!!

BigRedBat said...

Thanks chaps!

The BTD catapults aren't bad, althought the crewmen are poor.

Not sure about the warning, Paul, seems OK at the moment; please let me know if it comes up again.

EinarOlafson said...

Very good work!! I´m using zvezda for my 1/72 Roman Project. Are you going to use them with the bolts or the stones?

I´m interested in these 2 onager, Have you still got them?


BigRedBat said...

Hi Einar, I'm going to give the Zvezda large scorpions small stones, and use the Zvezda bolts with the BTD ones in the front.

Yes I still have the onagers- drop me an email at simonmiller60 at

Cheers, Simon

Paul´s Bods said...

Your right about the ballistas from zvezda...lovely bits of kit..suitable for 20mm to 28mm.
What did you do with the catapults...they would make neat little battlefield onagers or?
I´m not too sure wether the romans would have used gabions....sems to be a later invention..I can´t find any evidence of them using them..but if they could make baskets (which they could) then why not gabions?.

Hetairoi said...

Go on with gabions, they just look GREAT!

Secundus said...

Can't wait to see them finished they look great.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

They already look nice without any paint and so I'm looking forward to seeing them painted up!


BigRedBat said...

Thanks chaps, I primed them, tonight.

Gabriele C. said...

Catapults of various sizes, esp. the smaller chairoballistae must have been quite popular with the Roman army. We got tons of catapult bolts from Hedemünden Camp (12-9 BC) to the battlefield at Kalefeld (AD 236). The one place where they are mostly missing is the Varus battlefield - it's assumed the rain had made catapults unusuable so no bolts got stuck in the earth (which is the best place to find them on a looted battlefield).

BigRedBat said...

Hi Gabreille, presumably they abandoned the transport (and presumably artillery) on the retreat to Kalkreise (the roads were almost impassable). The rain would have stopped them firing, as you mention.

Do you ever come across stone balls in Germany? I presume they are more a siege weapon so more likely to be found in the East.