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Da Vinci Paddleboat Kit

Academy Leonardo da Vinci Paddle Boat Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2011 Manufacturer Academy
Subject Da Vinci Paddle Boat Scale N/A
Kit Number 18130 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Fun project that highlights the engineering genius of Leonardo Da Vinci Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.95


Leonardo da Vinci developed a number of designs that were well before their time. His vision of vertical flight with his spiral helicopter, paddle wheel-powered vessels, and the early armored car may have been laughable in his day, but were the stepping stones for today's MV-22 Osprey, turbine-powered Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and M1 Abrams tank (and their analogs from other nations of course).

Da Vinci Paddleboat Kit Da Vinci Paddleboat Kit

In the case of the paddleboat, Da Vinci envisioned a means of propulsion for ships and smaller craft that didn't rely on sails or oars, but rather a pair of paddle wheels, one on either side of the boat, which could provide sufficient power to travel up river or through strong winds and currents at sea. While the notion of paddlewheel propulsion did not originate with da Vinci, he was one of several designers that put forward paddle wheel concepts in the 15th Century. The design was man-powered at the time as practical steam power was still several centuries away.

Academy has released this educational kit of Leonardo Da Vinci's design of the paddle boat. This kit is molded in brown styrene and presented on two parts trees. Assembly is a simple snal-together approach and the completed model moves using spring power. The kit's brown color and texture give the appearance of being made from wood.

Assembly of the is completely snap-together - no glue, paint, or batteries required. This project literally took a few minutes though a careful eye to the instructions is required to ensure that the various gears and sprockets are properly oriented so that the spring-powered motor will drive the boat. The kit also has a display stand to allow the model to sit nicely on your shelf, but it will float should you want to try your hand and spring-powered propulsion.

da Vinci da Vinci

da Vinci da Vinci

This is a nice-looking model that is a snap (pun intended) to assemble and will be fun for your child to learn a little history or as a nice conversation piece on your desk at work or at home.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!