Roman scorpion. Attempt to reconstruction

Prerequisites, historical excursion

I liked vintage throwing machines and mechanisms and attracted attention from childhood. As far as I can remember, the first acquaintance with ballista and catapults happened when watching children's cartoons like “Kohl, Olya and Archimedes”. Positive heroes with the help of sophisticated and sophisticated adaptations courageously repelled the attacks of the enemy. It inspired, attracted, aroused respect for the people who invented and created them. And, of course, you should not discount the love and interest of boys to technology.

The next stage is plastic model constructors (such as the modern “Stars”). My parents gave me three sets for assembling such machines: a ballista, an onagr, a streamer.

Then I remember the transfer on the Discovery Channel, in which two teams of adult uncles and aunts built models of ballista and trebuchet on a huge metal dump. Metal cutting, welding, successful views of the resulting structures, testing immediately after the assembly of models. In general, the next "reinforcement and repetition" of the material covered, only in a different form.

Then came the Internet. One of the first requests I took to the search engines was something like “photo arrow”, “ballista drawings”. There was a stage of accumulation of information and analysis of what he saw. And, after a few months, the question arose: what will happen with me? What can I think of and translate into reality?

Design and assembly

In the end, I came about here to this project:

It was decided to make the basic model of the torsion arrow. The linear dimensions of such devices, as I recall, were standardized. The unit of scaling was the length of the arrow.

I chose an arrow length a little less than a meter. He began to draw and detail the assembly, translate the proportions and the ratio of the dimensions in meters and millimeters. It turned out quickly and easily (thanks to the ancient Romans and historians / reenactors / translators). I found a carpenter who agreed to embody all my wishes in a tree. I ordered the details in such a way as to be able to assemble the entire structure of the house, in the apartment. I did not have any auxiliary premises and workshops.

And here's a momentous moment: in the room lies a set of 15-20 pieces of pine and oak blanks. There is also some iron (trigger and pitch of torsions). There are fifty meters of a climbing rope with a thickness of 10 mm and a tensile force of about 2000 kg.

On the assembly of all together is to talk separately. This was my first more or less serious experience in carpentry work of average complexity. PVA glue, clamps - “No, I have not.” I still did not dare to knock down the nails together, the choice was given to the screws. I bought a screwdriver (my first screwdriver!) Like those used for twisting / tightening the screws in a computer and tried to screw it into a pine tree of 100-120 mm without first drilling a hole. This attempt, of course, failed. I proceeded to the second round with a drill and an updated screwdriver with a cross-grip (which could have been used to create a much greater force). The drill was one and its diameter I picked wrong. More or less controversial and quickly it went only after I remembered that long screws are recommended to be oiled to make them easier to enter the wood. Screwdrivers at that time were not very common and cost fabulous money. In general, the assembly was successfully made.

(the photo is not mine, taken from the Internet, but it very accurately conveys how I collected the arrow of the house)

So that the shooter can throw projectiles - you need to provide a sufficiently large tension of the fibers in the torsions. For this purpose, in the time of Rome (and all the rest followers) special devices were made. But I did not fully realize this moment, I began to invent my “cunning scheme”. As a result, I failed to pull fifteen to twenty turns of the rope (with a total effort to break at least 30-40 tons). There was also little experience in arrow throwing, general work and interaction of mechanisms and devices in the “scorpion”. About the rate of fire, ease of use and transportation, I thought very superficially. There were no missiles themselves at all (what was used as arrows was embarrassing and showing).


But, nevertheless, version 0.9.0 was made - and the “combat load testing” stage began. A team of test assistants was assembled among like-minded friends. For transportation and transportation of the arrow to the landfill (and back), public (!) Transport was used: metro, bus. Part of the way (approximately 1-1.5 km in one direction) we carry all the parts on hand (!). Now it all sounds crazy, of course. But that was - it was.

The results of the shooting can be called mediocre, on the “C grade” on a five-point scale. In the "plus" you can put the performance of individual parts and mechanisms, the overall historical accuracy. In the "minus" - more than 30-40 meters heavy arrow did not fly. The tension force on the string was not more than 14-16 kilograms.

One of the participants in those postlaus was a digital camera (a rarity in those years). It turned out a good photo report about the event.

"Start in life"

About half a year a set of components gathering dust on the balcony and cluttered the passage. Quite by chance, I met the guys from the club of role-playing reenactors, whose specialization was exactly Ancient Rome. With great relief of my heart and singing soul, I handed the arrow to their property. What was a drawback for me (a small firing range and a small tension force) turned out to be an advantage for them. To participate in the games "scorpion" fit perfectly. The team, which brought similar throwing machines to the battlefield, had bonuses and preferences during the games, during the defense and storming of the fortresses. And the large dimensions and weight of the gunner were compensated by a large number of strong male workers in a team. For the organization of trips to the landfill at that time, the rental of a cargo-passenger vehicle was used, in which water, provisions, bivouac and military equipment were delivered to the landfill.

"Scorpion" team was finalized, painted. The recharging system was changed, the cables were rewound on torsions, a more stable base was made and the possibility of aiming at the target in the horizontal and vertical plane was added.

Conclusions and conclusions

The most important thing for me is that the project turned out to be necessary and useful, fit into modern realities and did not become a handful of firewood at the dump. The goals and objectives of the construction of the gunner changed in the process of its creation and operation. I am glad that everything ended successfully.

If I started a similar project again, I would choose two or three times smaller scale of the model. This would simplify and cheapen the design. It would be much easier to transport and operate everything. The total mass would have decreased significantly. I would now pay special attention to "small things": I would make the lining and fasteners as historical as possible, apply metal upholstering of individual knots (for decorative and applied purposes), carefully approach the coloring of all parts (wooden and metal).

I believe that it is possible to reach a firing range of 150–200 meters with a projectile weighing 50–70 grams for a model on a scale of 1: 2 - 1: 3 (the scale is given relative to the current model of the strelomet). To achieve such a result, it is necessary to approach the design and implementation of a torsion tension unit more carefully.


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