From DT Online
They were built once Legionnaries could be sure they could protect a working area (e.g. by building towers or Turris). They could be as much as 18m long, they were just 1.2m wide and 1.5m high and built on a framework made out of 600mm square timbers. The roof was steeply sloping, so that any rocks hurled at them would be deflected. They were covered with thick timber boards over which a layer of tiles and mortar was set and wet skins draped over to resist any attack by fire.
A Musculus (small mouse) was narrower and lower than Vinea so that, when completed, they could be pushed to the enemy wall on tree trunk rollers under their protective cover. Because of their weight, this would be slow progress and done under the cover of darkness or whist the enemy was distracted by archers etc
Stripwood Model Musculus
A model of a Musculus can be made using Stripwood Technology techniques with card and 8mm x 8mm square timber. Start by making 2 identical basic flat frames, each 210mm long and 100mm high :
- Draw the frame full-size on centimetre squared paper
- Hold strips of timber in a small Clamp-on Vice and cut to length using a Junior Hacksaw.
- Assemble the strips together by placing them over the drawing
- Glue 30mm x 30mm triangles of medium thickness card over each join as shown
- Turn the frame over and add card triangles to the opposite side
- Position the two frames together and glue a strip of card along one long edge to form a hinge
- Making basic flat frame 210mm long as above but 75mm wide to be the base of the main body.
- Making 2 more basic flat frames 210mm long but this time only 50mm wide to be the sides of the main body.
- Glue these 3 frames together with P.V.A. glue and fold the roof frames' assembly to suit the their finished width.
- Search for suitable textures using the internet (e.g. search for 'woven twigs' using Google Images) and print-out on to thin card (many suitable pre-printed papers available from '''HERE''').
- Cut card rectangles to cover roof panels (and sides if required) glue in place.
- Alternatively add card and paint to simulate woven twigs or layers of animal skins.
- Choose 2 lengths of 12mm diameter Dowel to simulate rollers.
Activity: Find out about Roman Siege Equipment (e.g. Vinea, Pluteus, Mantelet, Testudo, Musculus, Helepolis, Turris, Corvus, Ballista, Onager, Mangonel, Trebuchet, Aries (Battering Ram) and construct a working model or models using Stripwood Technology.
Safety Point! Take great care with hot glue guns and all hot-melt glues. The melted glue can stick to the skin and cause severe burns.