Tuesday 6 February 2018

Siege Machines WIP

This weekend I had planned to build more urban terrain for use in modern era games. Instead I was sidetracked by the very nice Zvezda Siege Machine sets that I had been slowly stockpiling over the last couple of years.

A stockpile of siege equipment.
 The models come from the two  Zvezda sets that are reviewed at PSR here and here. Some of these models were included in a couple of the Zvezda Age of Battles games that pitched Russians in a wooden fortress against Mongols with Siege engines. These games included both sets of siege machines, so I have a combination of 3 lots of set 1, and 2 of set 2. I haven't included the cauldron for boiling oil, as intend to include them if I do a post on the collection of castles I have acquired over the years.

Hollywood style catapults.
I have included in all the photos one of the figures included in the games, a Russian knight from the set reviewed here at PSR. This hopefully gives a good sense of how big these machines are - especially the onagers and the ballistae! I have seen some of these models used with 25/28mm figures, so I wonder if they were designed to be compatible with the Zvezda 'Ring of Rule' series of figures.

Ballistae, based on the standard V&B artillery base.
The ballistae come with a choice of ammunition, a large bolt, or a round ball of presumably stone. I still have to decide on what figures to use as crew. Ideally I would be able to have a generic ancients type who could also pass as a medieval figure! So I need figures that could span roughly two thousand years... or I could permanently assign them to a given army/period:)


Battering Rams with knight for scale.
Suspending the ram from from the ceiling of the wheeled gallery was not fun. I used wire and harsh language on the first one to achieve an indifferent result. On the other one I used a much smarter approach consisting of two main steps: Step 1, Read and follow the assembly instructions, Step 2, Ask my lovely wife to attach the battering ram using thread. Following those two simple steps made assembly of the second ram a breeze!

I also removed around 25mm off the length of the shaft. While I have been told the length of battering ram shaft of a should be in proportion to the weight of the ram's head so the center of gravity will be in a useful place, the original length looked out of proportion, and was going to make the ram difficult to store. So the reduction was made.

Mantlets, loads of mantlets.
Finally I assembled up eight additional mantlets to go with the three I had previously made. I'm not sure I should base these as not doing so will allow greater flexibility across gaming systems. Still having eleven will provide a useful quantity for any game.


  1. A lovely sight - someone's going to be getting not much sleep in a walled city methinks!


    1. Hi Hugh - I guess it's better to give sleepless nights that to receive them :)

  2. Never even knew these things were available. I did scratchbuilt a large ballista once as part of my DBA Roman army (Airfix). The pavisses/mantlets look easy enough to scratchbuild. But the other stuff... aye, well. All you need now are a few siege towers, escalading ladders, and cauldrons of red-hot sand....

    I've always wanted to try storming a fortified town or castle. The nearest I got was this storming of barcelona during a Napoleonic campaign of 6 or so years back.

    1. Hi Ion,
      The intent is to eventually run a siege game. I have the cauldrons (they come in the same set!), but I'm still hunting for a decent siege tower!

  3. I picked up the same kit a few weeks ago off mightyape and cursed mightily as that ram.

    1. Hi Jacko,
      I fully understand the need to curse when assembling that ram...

  4. That's an impressive collection. Can't wait to see them painted up.

    1. Thanks AJ!
      It shall eventually happen....honest!