It was an honor and an absolute joy to be able to review Medieval Siege Machines by Pitsco. The day this package arrived was a happy day on my front door step. We have been studying the Middle Ages this year in history, so this was a perfect fit for our family! This kit included the pieces and parts to construct a catapult and a trebuchet (a similar machine using weights and a sling). The kit also came with a spiral bound plan book with the history of the machines, written in an interesting way, incorporating pop culture references that kept the kids engaged, like Lord of the Rings and the show Punkin' Chunkin! Also included in the plan book were scientific concepts used in construction and execuition of these machines and graphs to chart the results of your object-flinging!
My son Solomon, built the trebuchet. He is 10 and had no trouble following the instructions. I helped him use the X-Acto knife a few times, but only because I wanted to. He could have handled it. My son, Denver built the catapult. He is 11 and had a little bit more difficulty. I think the catapult kit was a tiny bit more challenging to build. We came to a stumbling block a bit when the trigger piece broke. It was VERY difficult to squeeze a tiny dowel rod through the space it needed to rest and required a rubber mallet to tap it into place. The instructions didn't ask us to use a rubber mallet but we tried every amount of squeezing and pushing, trying hard not to crush this delicate structure he had just made! Needless to say it broke. I was quickly on the phone with Pitsco and they were very interested in replacing the part for us. When the replacement part came, it broke too. We figured out that the catapult works without that piece and the results were still the same= one finished product and one happy kid.
The kit sells for $21.95. Our kit came with both machine kits, modeling clay to construct projectiles and the wonderful book they have written to tie in to the model-building. You only need to provide a few basic things--a craft knife, safety goggles, needle-nose pliers, etc. We had all of these things in the house.
My only suggestion is that the company work on the construction of the trigger for the catapult. The pieces are designed to fit so tightly that it required extra force on an already delicate structure. The dowel may need to be a hair smaller in diameter for it to slide in smoothly.
I love this product. My boys loved this product! I will be visiting their site for more models to construct for sure.
**Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product to try in exchange for an honest review.
See what my friends at the Homeschool Crew thought about Pitsco's Medieval Siege Machines at this link