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Mike

Da Vinci's Aerial Screw (00515) 1:48

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Da Vinci's Aerial Screw (00515)

1:48 Revell

 

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Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius in no uncertain terms and his creations still provoke interest and admiration even today some 500 years later.  He is primarily known as an artist of the high renaissance, although he often wasn't too keen on finishing his works so much of his output remained as sketches, which are just as amazing as his finished work such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.  He was also intrigued by human anatomy and was a keen engineer and inventor, with quite a few amazing designs to his name, one of which bears a striking resemblance to an early attempt at creating a helicopter.  His sketches were highly inventive, and although unlikely to have worked using technology of the day in some cases, they are still impressive even when viewed through modern eyes.

 

 

The Kit

Designed as a tribute to his original drawings and as a multimedia construction kit that can be built reasonably quickly by anyone from child upward, although with young ones a parent's supervision will result in a much better model.  The set arrives in a black box with the finished model and a drawing of Leonardo (we're on first name terms) on the front.  Inside is a double-layer plastic tray that is supported by a card frame inside which the instruction booklet, information booklet, material "sails", a themed A4 print, a three-sheet set of plans and a bag containing glue, cord and a small piece of sandpaper are held.  The tray holds the laser-cut wooden parts in depressions and the two layers stick together using friction fit pegs moulded into them.  Take care when you open the tray however, as it has a habit of trying to launch the parts into space or the jaws of the carpet monster.

 

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The instructions and the information booklet have been designed to resemble an ancient document, and are written in Italian, English, German, French and Spanish, although you won't need a mirror to be able to read them as the designers weren't as security conscious as the great painter.  The larger of the two booklets contains the instructions, which have a multi-lingual first page and the rest is pictorial so no special language skills are required.  Or mirrors.

 

Construction begins with the platform that is made of a circular base and a two part second layer plus a vertical post that terminates in a point at the upper end.  The turning mechanism is next to be made with pegs for the crew to push on installed in the upper half.  This slides over the central pole/axle and is trapped in place by another ring and is braced with four diagonal struts, then the supports for the screw are glued into place in the slots cut into the ring and top cap, all of which is left to rotate around the axle when the outer floor ring is rotated.  The long curved supports are then added to join up the "branches" and form the screw-shaped external edge of the sail.  The three part material sail is glued around these rails and later trimmed neatly once the glue has dried, then a needle will be required to thread the bracing cords through the sails and tie them down onto the bases of the struts and eyes in the outer floor ring.  A small wooden plaque is installed at the front with the name and date of the design.

 

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Conclusion

I love these wooden construction toys/models and also have a fondness for Mr Da Vinci's work from my school days in A Level art classes.  The parts are quite delicate even though they are made of thin plywood, so allowing an unsupervised child (recommended for 10+) to attempt assembly is perhaps not the best idea, especially as wood glue requires a fair bit of patience.  Take a bit of time between sessions and things should go well, and ensure that you have a needle with a suitably large eyed to hand, as the cord is much thicker than cotton.  Do a good job though, and it will look awesome in the cabinet, and at a price that isn't likely to break the bank.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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