Reviewed by Angela Paull
Having mastered “The Kissing Couple” the kind folks at Timberkits decided to up the ante and send us the trickier “The Trebuchet” (intermediate skill level) to try out. We’d built the last kit as a family and I decided that the best way to really see how foolproof these kits were was to go it alone. Yes this became a solo project for a 40 something, not especially practical, woman.
The kit arrived and, as before, all the pieces were neatly laid out in two plastic trays. I cross referenced these to the corresponding pictures in the instruction manual and ascertained everything was present and correct.
I flicked through the instruction manual to get a rough idea of how everything went together and then set to work. The instructions are in picture form and each stage of the build was clearly photographed. First up was construction of the frame which was very straightforward. Whilst the glue dried on this I was able to construct the sling arm and then the box. Some of the items needed 15/20 minutes drying time for the glue to set but I found that there was always something that could be constructed whilst waiting for other components to dry.
Having said that I did take a few breaks whilst making “The Trebuchet” – it is quite fiddly in parts and my eyes and fingers needed an occasional rest! The pieces of the model are very precisely tooled as well – this did mean that some parts were very hard to put together as they fitted so tightly. In fact, I put some things together without glue to start with (so I could be sure I was building it correctly) only to find I then couldn’t dismantle the pieces easily as they were so so tight. The box states that the model is suitable for ages 9 to 90, with adult assistance for 9 to 12 year olds. There were times when I barely had enough strength to get some pieces together so the very young and very old might need assistance at times. It’s also worth mentioning at this point, if you need general assistance with the building of any Timberkits models there is a telephone helpline with a “Model Expert” at the end of it if you get really stuck!
One thing that might have been handy to include in the kit would be a mini printed paper/cardboard ruler. There were a few times where I was measuring the model to ensure I’d placed things centrally/in the exactly correct place and found that using a plastic ruler was tricky as I couldn’t get it close enough to the model. This is a minor point though and you could probably build it by eye without being too far off the mark.
So, having constructed all the individual elements of “The Trebuchet” all that was left to do was to put them together. The wooden elements were very easy to slot into place. I confess I found tying the string quite fiddly as there’s not an awful lot of hand space around the model but I managed it. Then it was time to test the model. To fire the Trebuchet you have to load the box with pebbles (though anything small and weighty would do the job), place some crunched up paper in the sling and slip the string loop off the shaft. YES! It worked – the paper flew a surprising distance across the room. My 4 year old found this endlessly fascinating so we repeated the exercise several times. Re-tying the string got easier with practice though you can also do things the lazy way and just hold the arm down with your finger and let go.
Once constructed, the model was very sturdy and strong (easily surviving the heavy handed attentions of the afore-mentioned 4 year). It was a really interesting experience to put together a model of a weapon I’d learnt about in my school days! We plan to keep this in a safe place as I could see it being a brilliant “show and tell” item for our boy in his future schooling.
These kits are great for both boys and girls, old and young and I could see them being quite addictive – I certainly felt a sense of pride once I’d finished the build. Just imagine what a sense of satisfaction could be achieved with some of the advanced models!
Available to buy from Timberkits here.