Ancient Engineering
The Mighty Roman War Machine
ALL OUR KITS  .  Catapult Kits  .  DaVinci Kits  .  Bridges & Towers  .  Levers & Gears  .  Backyard Artillery  .  Customer Feedback  .  Your Cart 

Sneak peek! Try out our NEW web site - Click HERE!

The Desktop Onager

Now made in a mini version!

Designed and made in the USA
for better quality, better performance!

The Mighty Roman ONAGER, Now available in a desktop model. This display-quality model really works and can shoot missiles up to twenty feet.

This awesome little machine is the perfect desktop item to enforce the peace in your cubicle or dorm room. It really works!

This all wood and twine machine has no metal parts! Find out how the ancients were able to use nothing but wood and ropes to build machines that could hurl heavy stones great distances. These machines were the predecessors of cannons and modern artillery!

Measuring nine inches long, six inches tall and using the mighty torsion skein for power, this beast hurls wooden balls (included) up to twenty feet across the room. Food fight? Load it up with olives, marshmallows, maraschino cherries... the choices are endless!

Simple and easy to build. This kit includes everything you need except for glue and a few simple tools like scissors, sandpaper, a file (a utility knife would be helpful too) and about two or three hours of your time from start to finish. It's a far better use of your time than watching TV, and you'll have a really cool desk ornament when you're done. And don't forget, it not only looks cool- but unlike those other little desktop catapults we've collected, this one really works! (It works well too.)

Features include:

    -- Precision cut from high quality hardwood
    -- Authentic leather padded strike bar
    -- True skein torsion power- not a wimpy spring
    -- Range from 10 to 20 feet or more!

What you get:
The kit includes seventeen wooden parts, precision cut from high-quality furniture grade white hardwood. One hardware bag containing twine, trigger, wooden pegs and ammo, and assembly instructions.
The natural white wood can be stained any color

The instructions are highly detailed and complete with full-color photos and historical notes. This kit can be assembled to a finished model in two to three hours, plus glue-drying time. Some light sanding may be required to smooth any rough edges.

We've put a lot of time and effort into making this kit as easy and complete as possible. It's a fun way to learn about history and engineering!

* Warning: This is a representative model of a real ancient military weapon. Use only with competent adult supervision.
* Shown stained as red oak. The kit ships as a natural, unfinished poplar wood product. Colors may vary.
* Can throw 20 feet when properly constructed and using appropriate missiles. Your performance may vary.

Tools required:
Scissors, Glue, Ruler, and a utility knife. A flat file and sandpaper are optional.

Assembly time:
For a Master carpenter doing a sloppy job: about 1 hour.
A person with no kit building experience being extremely meticulous: about 3 hours.
The model in these photos was built by Ron Toms in about two hours.

Assembled Size:
- Height: 7.5"
- Length: 9"
- Width: 5"

- 10 to 20 feet using the included wooden projectiles. (Optimal range assumes a well built and well tuned machine)

Shipping weight: 2 lbs.
Box dimensions: 13" x 13" x 2"

Quantity pricing info:
0 to 4 kits, standard price.
5 to 9 kits, 10% off
10 or more kits, 15% off

Orders of $200 or more get FREE ground shipping!

For more discount pricing info, please visit

WARNING! This is a representative model of a real ancient military weapon. It contains a fast moving arm that can cause injury if you make contact when firing. Use only under strict adult supervision.

* Shown stained as red oak. The kit ships as a natural, unfinished poplar wood product. Colors may vary.
* Can throw 20 feet when properly constructed and tuned. Your performance may vary.

Buy Now or Add To Cart

<< Previous Item | Next Item >>

[ Click here to see our complete line of models and kits. ]
Tell your friends!

    Price: $39.95
    Minimum age: 10
    Availability: In stock.

    Buy Now or Add To Cart
    Item code: 10901

More Stuff


Search for stuff
By Age
By Max Price
By Keyword

(Click images to enlarge)
(Click for larger Image)
(Click for larger Image)
Interesting Notes

The Roman Onager was the main artillery device of the Roman army. It was named after the Asian Wild Ass because they both have a tendancy to "kick" when they go off.

Oftentimes, an Onager would be fitted with a sling on the end of the arm instead of a cup or bucket. The sling will give greater range to a heavier projectile, but can only hurl one rock at a time. The bucket could be filled with lots of rocks at once - an effective anti-personnel device.

The kinds of things the Romans hurled includes heavy rocks and clay pots filled with pitch and tar- on fire.

Onagers are sometimes called a "Mangonel", but Mangonel literally translates as "War Machine" - a category that also includes ballistae and trebuchets.

The Onagers were used from early Roman times right up to the medieval period alongside the trebuchets. They lost their advantage to the cannons and gunpowder in the 13th century.