Have your very own Ballista
Question & Answer
Q: I see scope for a partnership agreement here. If Labour loses the next election (likely) could we both raise funds by organising a "Toss the Tosser" open day? Beachy Head maybe. Load it with a politician... £10 per spectator. We'd be millionaires in a day.
A: I get your drift but not wishing to offend any potential buyer who might be affiliated to said party (although I’m not sure the particular party matters) I think I’ll decline to pass comment
Q: In your ad you state that it will be incapable of being fired again without repair works, due to the recoil damage from when it was fired on the show? Does this mean that it is not a 100% accurate replica? As I'm sure the Roman's managed to get more than one shot out of their ballista per siege?
A: Bear in mind that when we say it is a replica it wasn’t as though we had a first edition copy of the centurions guide to building your first ballista! However you’ll see from the video that there were a significant number of experts brought into the project. Towards the end of the 10 day build programme the engineers raised some concerns about the arresting stops for the throwing arms but the production company were concerned about time and money so it was fired without further modification. You will see from one of my previous responses that we are fairly confident that with the right people involved and some further investment this could be restored to full working order.
Q: I have often said I wouldn't trust my Mother in Law as far as I could throw her. This device raises interesting possibilities. Could a Witch's Stool be fitted....?
A: I have now doubt that such a modification would be within the capabilities of even the most modest DIY enthusiast. Just beware of health and safety regulations.
Q: I have been contemplating a career change of late. Would you be so kind as to advise the current market demand in your region for freelance ballisters? I have no direct experience in siege warfare, though my corporate position has left me quite competent in the areas of windmill tilting, entrenched thinking and provided a deeply seated bunker mentality; traits I should think translate well to a budding siege entrepreneur.
A: It sounds as though you’re quite well qualified for a position as a full time ballista rooky but unlikely to make the heady ranks of stone loader or pin puller. I hope you’ll understand that we are currently inundated with applications but if you would like to put together a CV we will do our best to look at it. Bear in mind that a well scribed document on the best available parchment is likely to work in your favour.
Q: Hello. I work for a debt recovery company that deals in recovering large properties from defaulting payers. An unfortunate sign of the 'credit crunch' We have one defaulter who says 'I bloody well shouldn't have to pay for my house, I'm the bloody future king, don't you know' Well that shows how far removed from the real world he is. He is now refusing to hand over the front door keys to Windsor castle. Could we hire this device from you to assist in out recovery of the said property ? Thank you
A: As a resident of Tetbury in Gloucestershire and close neighbours of He Who We Won’t Name, I hope you understand my reluctance to comment.
Q: If the catapult where to fire again would there be enough room to load a cow?
A: Does your mother in law know that you have plans for her? If however you are referring to the bovine variety there are some points to consider with regard to ammunition. Firstly the ballista has a fairly narrow launch channel designed to accommodate a stone ball of about 350mm diameter which is launched by a sling behind the it. Clearly a cow would require a much larger ‘slipway’ and of course a sling of equal proportions. In addition, whilst festering cows were a favourite in times of siege to spread disease amongst the enemy I have a feeling that these days there might be certain conventions controlling the use of biological weapons. However adaptation of the ballista to accommodate dysfunctional relatives is a possibility.
Q: Thank You for the quick reply.... Does it come with a Guarantee for pieces and where is the present situation of the Catapult.. I am over for a Man Utd game next week with people from Redcafe.net.... and would have half a morning to inspect.... Also when was the last time it was fired and is it been used at present for anything..
A: With regard to a guarantee for the pieces I assume you mean will we guarantee that all the parts are there. Indeed, in fact the buying price includes us making any necessary repairs to get it back to a full display condition and delivery to a UK mainland destination. It is currently stored in our timber framing yard in Kirriemuir, Scotland. If you only have an afternoon to spare you would only have time to view it if you charter a helicopter; you would be able to land near our site. It was last fired in 2002 for the BBC programme, Building The Impossible and is currently dismantled so not in use.
Q: Is there any particular reason that it will never fire again?
A: No there isn’t. The original build was done in just 10 days and as you can imagine it was mayhem towards the end. It was recognised before the first firing that the recoil could cause some damage to the timbers that arrest the firing arms. The engineers suggested some additional steel strapping to help prevent this but time was becoming a real issue. As a result the arresting stops suffered some splitting but we believe that this could be quite easily rectified with some remedial steel work.
Q: I would be very interested in this. Can you tell me whether there is movement on teh price if I need contruction and how would it take. I have a team of builders who would be able to help, would it be possible to have 2-3 people from your end to manage the rebuild.
A: Interestingly the original build used a number of volunteers. It is possible that we could provide some supervision for the re-erection process and of course this would be reflected in the price.
Q: Hi, If it were fully restored, what sort of castles would I be able to lay siege to with it? Is it suitable for Norman stone castles or is it purely for knocking over wooden motte and bailey style structures? Thanks
A: Clearly this depends on the ammunition you load up, obviously feather pillows are less effective than chunks of stone!
Q: How long does it take to erect?
A: Hi Ray If we undertake it we would reckon about a week for an experienced team of four, dependant on site conditions.
Thanks to rowangolightly for pointing toward this