A while ago, I decided I would try a hand at building my own gondor trebuchet, which would resemble that of the GW one, apart a few slight modifications and the fact that it'd cost a fraction of the original price. I'm also planning on getting this one casted, hence the trebuchet will be made in sections, which will be assembled at the end for the final product. Unless you plan to do the same, I'd suggest you glue everything in place.
So, keeping that in mind, enjoy!Preparation
I - ConstructionPart 1 - The StructureA - The Base
|Materials Used: |
- Wooden stirrers
- Wooden toothpicks
- Wooden skewer
- Fine Surface Filler or Putty
- Balsa sheet: 3mm thick
- Balsa sheet: 1mm thick
- Balsa rectangular rod: 5mm thick
- Galvanised steel wire
- String: 2mm thick
|Tools Used: |
- Hobby Knife
|Paints Used: |
- Mars Black (GW Chaos Black)
- Burnt Umber (GW Scorched Brown)
- Titanium White (GW Skull White)
- GW Codex Grey
- GW Fortress Grey
- GW Bleached Bone
- GW Bestial Brown
- GW Graveyard Brown
- GW Vermin Brown
- GW Bubonic Brown
- GW Vomit Brown
- GW Snakebite Leather
- GW Boltgun Metal
- GW Mithril Silver
- GW Badab Black wash
- GW Devlan Mud wash
Start by cutting out 4 segments of balsa rod each measuring 12 cm long. Glue two of these together, and repeat with the remaining two. These will be the two main starter points for the rest of the construction.
Once this is done, take one of the beams, and make an incision 2.5mm deep and 5mm wide, 1cm from the edge. Repeat on the other side of the same beam, except 0.5cm from the end, like such:
Repeat on the other beam, and you should end up with this:
Now that these are done, cut two pieces of balsa measuring 4cm each. As described before, make an incision on each side of these pieces, 2.5mm deep and 5mm wide. The difference from the previous step is that there is no space between the incision and the ends of each piece. Once done you should end up with this:
If done correctly, the two shorter segments should fit perfectly in the nooks of the two beams, and you will end up with this:
Unless you prefer keeping the trebuchet unassembled till the end, I'd suggest you glue the two small parts in place.B - The Base Supports
Now to the base supports. Measure 6cm along the base of the trebuchet and mark it on both side. Then cut 2 pieces of balsa rod, each measuring 1.4cm, and glue them on those 6cm marks. Before gluing them though, cut one of the sides of each piece at a slight angle:
Note: Make sure the two 1.4cm pieces are angled towards
the side with the 4cm base piece 1cm from the end. See following checkpoint pic. **
For the second part of the support, I used a 6.5cm long rod of balsa wood, which I toyed with to make it fit snugly with its points of contact. No worries though, if you're unable to get it to fit snugly, you can always touch it up later with a bit of filler or putty.
You should end up with this: **C - The Main Pillars
Now that the base is done, we can start to build up on the structure. Start by cutting two segments of balsa rod, each measuring 6.5cm. As in previous steps, make an incision on one piece, 2.5mm deep, 5mm wide, and 1cm from the extremity. Repeat on the other.
Following this, cut two small pieces of balsa rod, each measuring 1.7cm. Make a mark 0.6cm from each side of each piece. Yet again, make an incision! This time, it should be between those two marks, and be 5mm wide aswell as 2.5mm deep. Once this is done, cut each side of both pieces to a slight angle, ressembling this:
Now, fit the small pieces into both the longer, 6.5cm ones, and glue them in place. You should have a cross-like shape:
Note: Please ignore the small angles cut at the top of the vertical pillar for now.
Once dry, mark the middle of the top of each base beam (6cm from each side), and glue the two cross-like pillars vertically on those marks, making sure they stay parallel and vertical as they dry. Here's what your trebuchet should look like at this point. Remember to make the vertical pillars symetrical as on the picture, and note that if your pillars are in the center of the base beam, they should be on the same line as the base supports.D - The Pillar Supports
Now that the vertical pillars are done, we can start on the cross-supports. Start by cutting four 8.5cm pieces of balsa rod. Then cut all four of them to the following specifications:
Please note that these are very rough approximate dimensions.
Now make a mark 3cm and 1cm from the edge on all 4 corners of the two base beam, like such:
Once this is done, we're going to dry fit the first part of the supports. Align them so that the inner part of the bottom angle is exactly on the 3cm line:
If you're having trouble keeping them upright, I suggest using a small piece of wire, stuck in the bottom of the support, which'll pierce the base beam.
Don't worry if you don't get a perfect fit; even I didn't!
It'll all be fixed later on with some filler or Greenstuff. What you need to be sure though, is that the bottom of the support beam is correctly angled, and the top fits well with the opposite one. You should end up with this:
Don't glue them yet. Put them on the side, as we'll need them in a little bit.
Now we're going to start working on the second support beams. Cut four 6.5cm pieces, and tailor them to these dimensions:
Now make a mark 4.5cm up the vertical beam, thus 0.5cm under the cross. As with the other support beams, dry test these ones. This time, the outside of the bottom should be on the 1cm line, and the outside top should be on the 4.5cm mark on the pillar:
Make sure these fit correctly. Once this is done we can start, in my opinion, the hardest part of the structural supports: putting both of them together.
To do this, we are going to make incisions on both supports (the 8cm and the 6.5cm ones).
Start by taking two
of the four 8cm ones, and make an incision like such:
Now take the remaining two and make an incision as such:
Please note that they are different, although symetrical.
Now repeat with the 6.5cm pieces. Take two, and make an incision:
And the other two:
If done correctly, all four should fit into each other.
Now dry fit them on the other part. Make sure that the support entirely visible on the exterior is this one:
Once you're sure everything fits, glue them in place! E - The Structural Supports
We're nearly done with the structure. All that remains is the two final supports. Cut two 5.5cm rods and angle them like so:
Position them so that the bottom should be on the corner of the base supports. If done correctly, both supports should align with the previous supports and the 4.5cm mark on the vertical beam.
We're done with the structure!Part 2 - The Counterweight
Now with the hard part out of the way, we can start on the counterweight!
Start by cutting two rectangles out of 5mm foamcore or cardboard, the dimensions being 3.2cm x 1.4cm. Cut two more rectangles, measuring 3cm x 1.4cm. And lastly, cut two final rectangles, each measuring 4cm x 3.2cm.
Assemble them like so:
Now take some wooden stirrers (they should be 5-6mm wide) and cut 18 planks, each one 4.9cm long. I used Starbucks coffee stirrers, and managed to get 3 planks from each stirrer, hence using only 6 stirrers.
Make two groups of 4 planks, and two of 5. Arrange these on a piece of tape, trying to minimize space between each plank, but not bunch them together.
Now glue them onto the inner cardboard counterweight, making sure the side with the tape is facing inward and therefore invisible from the outside.
We're now going to seal off the the top and bottom of the counterweight. Cut two rectangles out of 1mm thick balsa sheet. The dimensions should be as following: 3.3cm x 2.5cm. I'd suggest making these two rectangles slightly larger, and then changing the side lengths if needed to ensure a perfect fit.
Glue these in place.
Now we're going to work on the two "metal" bracers of the counterweight. Cut two strips out of cardpaper, 4mm wide and around 14.5cm long. Bend them both to the shape of the countweight, and glue them each approx. 1cm from each end:
Now, mix some Greenstuff or other putty. Don't take to much, as you'll only be using a minimum of putty. After all, if you still need some you can just mix some more.
Roll it as thin as you can:
Now the race against the clock begins. With a hobby knife, cut a tiny bit one of the ends of the putty, and attach it to one of the counterweight bracers, as if to simulate a bolt. Continue to attach them two by two, all around both bracers. You should end up with this:
Now let it dry.
Once dry, cut a triangular shape with a rounded end out of 3mm balsa. This'll be the attachpoint of the counterweight to the slingbeam.
With a piece of wire, pierce it as on the above photo.*
Now shave around 1mm off of the triangle (a vital step for the sling attachment):
You may now glue this piece in the center of the top of the counterweight. Make sure that it is well centered and completely vertical:
And we are done with the counterweight!Part 3 - The SlingThe Slingbeam
Start by cutting two beams out of 3mm balsa, and tailor them to these specifications:
Now, mark a horizontal line on each beam, 1cm from the rounded end, and as with the counterweight attachpoint, shave 1mm of the inner side of each beam.
Now try to find the center of the rounded end on each beam, and make a small hole, as with the counterweight attachpoint. If done correctly, all three holes (beam, counterweight, beam) should align. Put two pieces of wire through the joint:
Once you're sure everything fits, glue both beams together.
Now make a hole 3cm from the rounded end of the slingbeam, this time big enough for a wooden skewer to fit through. What I did was make an incision through both of them at the same time with a piece of wire, and then enlarge the hole bit by bit with a toothpick and hobby knife until a suitable size was achieved.
If you accidentally break the beam whilst making the hole, just glue both parts back together with superglue, and continue to dig out the hole; my beams both broke several times before I could get a skewer to fit through.
Cut a piece of skewer 4.3cm long, and glue it in place once the sling beam is in its center (1,85cm from each end of the skewer):The Sling
We're going to start by making the slinghook on the slingbeam. Cut a piece of paperclip measuring 1cm, slightly bend one end, and stick it into the the small end of the slingbeam:
Glue it in place.
Now, take out some cardpaper, and cut out a rectangle, the dimensions being 3cm x 10cm. Any hard material virtually works for this step... I used an old fruit container with a similar density as the GW boxes. Once this is done, cut three strips of the same cardpaper, 10cm long and 3mm wide.
Glue these on the sling, 1 on each side, and one in the middle:
Now bend the sling into, well, a sling shape! Half of it shoul be glued together, and the other half should make a circular shape, like so:
I used the toothpick parts to maintain the shape I want. They will be invisible from the outside when the rock is sculpted in.
We're now going to start on the rock. Cut two pieces of polystyrene, and carve them so that they each fit into one of the sling's gaps. Don't worry if you don't get a perfect fit, it'll all be touched up with some Fine Surface Filler. Stick a toothpick into one of them, put it in it's respective sling nook, and pierce the other part of the rock from the other side, as so:
Now, take out your Fine Surface Filler, and cover the stone completely. Make sure there are no gaps between the bottom and sides of the sling and the rock, as in reality the rock would be so heavy that it would lay on the bottom of the sling, creating a lot of tension to the sides.
As you have your filler out, cover the sides and edges of the three slingstrands, as on the GW model. You should end up with this:GW sling photo property of Edward Ball, from TLA
Now take out your string. Cut 2 strands measuring 2cm, and one measuring 3cm. The two shorter ones will be for the sides of the sling, and the longer one will be the middle. Glue them like on the picture below. Once this is done, take a short piece of rope, and wrap it around the area where the 3 longer segments join, covering the attachment fault.
You'll notice they slightly look like a fork.
Repeat the whole process.
Now make two rings out of wire or paperclip, just big enough to slip on the slinghook, and glue each of them on one of the 'fork' string:
Now attach both fork ropes to the actual sling, gluing 1 extremity on each of the 3 protruding strips.
Assemble the model, and you should have this:The Slingrope
Start by cutting a circle out of 3mm balsa, the diameter being 1cm. Then pierce the side 5 times, each hole equally distant from each other. Each hole should also be around 2mm deep. Once these 5 holes are done, cut 5 small pieces of toothpick, measuring 7mm, and glue them in the 5 recesses previously made. If the depth is correct, around 5mm should stick out.
Please ignore the cross.
Repeat this step.
Now, as with the sling beam, create a hole in the centers of both hand cranks, big enough for a skewer to fit through.
Well, pretty obviously, we're going to cut a length of skewer, 4.8cm long. Glue only one end to a hand crank:
Put this piece aside, and take out your cardpaper. Cut a rectangle 2.7cm long and 4mm wide. Glue it 4cm from the small end of the slingbeam:
Now cut out another piece of cardpaper, around 8mm wide and 1.5cm long. Bend it into a cylinder, just big enough for a piece of rope to fit through. Glue this part vertically on the previously made brace.
Now take out your previously made handcrank, and stick the skewer between the small creases left between the main pillar supports:
Glue the second handcrank to the bare end of the skewer. Note that by gluing this piece in place, you won't be able to remove the crank shaft anymore.
Now cut a length of rope measuring approximately 16cm. Glue one end on the crankshaft, and the other in the cylinder previously made on the slingbeam:
All you have to do now is hand crank the handcrank! You should end up with this:Part 4 - The Details
Start by cutting a small rectangle out of 3mm balsa measuring 4cm by 8mm. With a hobby knife, carve the sides like so:
As on the above photo, glue the piece slightly beneath the vertical cross pillar, on the side with the sling.
We're now going to add a few braces to the slingbeam. Cut 4 pieces out of cardpaper, all of them measuring 3.5cm by 4mm. Glue them in the following places on the slingbeam:
Now take out your putty, and as previously done on the counterweight, roll it thin and attach tiny parts to the braces to simulate bolts.
Once this is done, use some more putty to fill the space where the slingbeam skewer is supposed to go, then pierce the putty with said skewer to ensure an almost perfect fit:
Now, cut four circles out of cardpaper with a diameter of 1cm. Pierce them with a skewer and glue them on the two main trebuchet pieces:
Now, on the sides of the slingbeam skewer wrap and glue 2 pieces of wire measuring 4cm like so:
After all this hard work, you can rejoice in the fact that only one step stands in between of you and the end of the construction! Now you must fill all remaining faults with putty or fine surface filler!
Here are a few final pictures of the construction. Keep in mind that the angle of the sling beam can be modified for different trebuchet positions (which is why the slingrope seems too long):By the way, the first trebuchet attempt in the background is completely unintentional...)
The end is near!
Now all that remains is the painting...PaintingPlease note that this is but one of the many possible painting schemes for this trebuchet. If you have a different scheme in mind, use it, and be sure to tell me about it as I am always curious of how others would interpret painting.
For the painting step I have decided to use one of the plastic replicas I made. Don't hesitate to contact me if you wish to know how I made the replicas.
Here is my painting process for each element:Wood
Scorched Brown basecoat --> Badab Black wash --> heavy Bestial Brown highlight --> Devlan Mud wash --> medium Vermin Brown highlight --> medium Graveyard Earth highlight --> light Bleached Bone highlight --> subtle Bubonic Brown and Vomit Brown highlightsMetal
Chaos Black basecoat --> Boltgun Metal overlay --> Badab Black wash --> medium Boltgun Metal highlight --> light Mithril Silver highlightRope
Chaos Black basecoat --> Bubonic Brown drybrush --> Vermin Brown highlightTrebuchet stone
Chaos Black basecoat --> heavy Codex Grey drybrush --> medium Fortress Grey drybrush --> light Skull White drybrushTrebuchet sling
Chaos Black basecoat --> heavy Snakebite Leather overlay --> Badab Black/Devlan Mud wash --> medium Snakebite Leather highlight --> light Vomit Brown highlightGrand FinaleFinal Thoughts
1 year, 75 photos, hours of photo editing and article writing, and days molding and casting the trebuchet. I can officially consider this project complete. Overall, I am quite happy with the final result, although the painting could yet be improved. I guess that'll be for future reference. I hope that this article helped you in one way or another, and that it will incite you to be creative with present and future projects, be they trebuchets or not.
I'd like to thank MacGothmog for proofreading the article, as well as the One-Ring community for its' input and feedback on how to improve the original trebuchet; this trebuchet is the fruit of that feedback.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or feedback concerning the trebuchet. Thanks for reading!