From the earliest civilisation and the first cities, Man has attempted to protect himself by building walls around his settlements, which has meant others have had to find a way to get past those defences. Direct assault was generally the most costly and the most risky, but if successful it meant a speedy result and the chance to plunder and ransack the defeated city. Siege towers had long been used for this purpose, and the Romans soon learned how to use such engines for their own purposes. Unlike the Hellenistic examples, some of which were real monsters in terms of size, Roman towers tended to be more practical and not excessively large. While perhaps the most famous Roman siege was at Masada in 75 CE, towers were often used by the Romans, and make a logical addition to the Atlantic Roman range.
As with the rest of the range, what we have here is a soft plastic toy that goes together without any need to glue, but produces a fun model. The tower is pretty easy to put together following the instructions on the box, and the hardest bit is making the working assault bridge. This is held up by thread (you could use something a bit thicker to be more realistic) which attaches to a spindle in the lower part of the tower. By turning the handles you can raise the bridge, then move the tower forward and release the level lock to have the bridge crash down, allowing your toy soldiers to begin their assault. The mechanism is nicely thought out and as we have said is quite fun, giving this more play appeal then many of the Atlantic accessories.
The basic design of the tower is fairly simple, and can be seen from the gallery photos below. It has four levels connected by a single ladder at the back with rungs far too far apart for the advertised HO (1/76) scale. The bottom section might have housed a ram, but here it only has the spindle for controlling the bridge. A small sloping roof at the front helps protects miners of others in this area. The second section is empty and unprotected, and the third is where the bridge is to be found. The fourth level, the 'roof' would be where the Romans would put missile troops to suppress any defenders on the wall, but here this is very open, with no front protection at all, so hardly the ideal platform. Of course the whole thing is a considerable simplification, but actually in essence it is not too far from a realistic device. You could argue there should be more wheels, or more obvious protection, particularly against fire, but actually for any child buying this set the tower would have seemed pretty convincing. More realistic models are now available, but without the moving bridge and wheels are they so much fun?
In total the model stands about 170mm tall (almost 13 metres), which is fairly modest for Roman towers, yet still big enough to look good on a carpet battlefield somewhere as it literally towers over the Roman figures. The base is 55mm by 82mm (4.2 metres by 6.2 metres), so appropriate for the height of the tower but again small by historic standards, so you won't get too many soldiers or equipment on any level. The bridge is about 100mm (7.6 metres) off the ground, so that is the sort of maximum height of the besieged walls. The box contains two such towers, plus a decent quantity of the normal Roman Legion figures. Of course none of these are interacting with the tower, although that is less important here.
As always, historical accuracy was not the prime concern for the designer, but what Atlantic produced here was a fun model/toy that does not wander too far from the truth yet will undoubtedly spark interest in a child's mind about Roman sieges. While of mainly nostalgic interest to collectors today, and long out of production, this model has the same charm as the rest of the range, which does not seem to wear off no matter how many years have gone by.