- Published on Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:01 James Hatch
Leonardo da Vinci's wooden construction kits:
Fascinating feats of science & engineering
As far as his fellow human beings in the late Middle Ages were concerned, the ideas of the genius inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci must have seemed like pure science fiction. The almost mystical aura that surrounded him then still prevails today. The fascination of this world of discoveries and inventions is reinforced by the fact that virtually all his inventions exist on paper only. They are scientific adventures which up until now could only be experienced in an abstract way.
Over the past two years the Bünde-based model kit maker Revell has been busy bringing a number of these spectacular inventions to life as intricate fully functioning wooden models. They clearly demonstrate that, as an engineer, da Vinci was a pioneer and a man well ahead of his time. In August 2012 Revell is extending its series of fascinating wooden constructor kits based on the Italian universal genius, by adding two further models: a 1:24 scale armoured car (RRP £49.99) and a 1:16 scale multi-barrelled cannon (RRP £26.99).
The armoured car must surely rank as one of da Vinci's most amazing inventions. The original idea was to create vehicles that were strong enough to transport heavy weapons while protecting those inside against enemy attack. In the end the idea failed due to a gear design flaw. Revell's model of the armoured vehicle comprising 163 components measures just under 21 cm in diameter. In 1480 Leonardo da Vinci was barely 30 years old and was right at the start of his career as a military engineer. The extraordinary scientific feats that he was already capable of are demonstrated amongst other things by his idea of a multi-barrelled cannon with a remarkable firepower. The model comprising 43 components is 24 cm long. All the cannon barrels of the two weapon systems are authentically made of metal.
Since there are no constructed originals of da Vinci's "Wonder Machines" to base any replicas on, the engineer's drawings had to be carefully analyzed and precisely implemented. This clearly shows in the end product: selection of wood as the raw material lends the models convincing, authentic aesthetics. In addition to the prefabricated components, the construction kits include the corresponding wood glue, information on da Vinci's life and works, a fabric cloth bearing the famous self-portrait as well as a drawing of the respective da Vinci invention.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers.