What kid didn't dream of constructing violently elaborate gadgets for ACME, but that's just a fantasy -- everyone knows it's impossible to get into MIT's Flightless Bird Termination Program. Reviving those dreams, RLT Industries
From a dot-com exec turned garage woodsmith, New Braunfels' RLT specializes in model kits of awe-inspiring Greek, Roman, and Medieval war machines requiring anywhere from a few hours to several days self-assembly, mostly using scissors and wood glue, and all under the premise of education (Richard the Lionheart's Acre-leveling siege engine "Bad Neighbor" launched projectiles that could crush 12 men -- the more you know!). The core offerings range from the twine-powered 9" Desktop Onager (20ft range, though the X-treme model can hurl a golf ball 50ft), a to-scale, crossbow-like Ballista ("the granddaddy of all field artillery") that shoots 1/2" diameter "bolts" 40ft, and the baddest of all, the 1/20 scale Stirling Warwolf Trebuchet: modeled after the one commissioned by Edward Longshanks, it hurls missiles 40-60 feet and comes with two medieval warrior figures, in case you succumb to the "Do not aim at humans or animals" hype. Because you can't always be killing, they also sell architectural kits (a 54" tall Earthquake Tower, Warren Truss and Cable-Suspension Bridges...), physics projects like Villard de Honnecourt's Perpetual Motion Machine, as well as their latest, a Chinese South Pointing Chariot that uses a 2600-year-old configuration of gears and ratios to create a compass out of a rotating dragon, because when chasing the dragon, nothing's more important than accuracy
RLT also distributes an arsenal of next-level pre-built toys, like the AirZooka (shoots an invisible blast capable of knocking papers off a desk from 20 feet away), and the ZeroBlaster, which projects 8"-12" water-vapor rings at 4 different speeds -- a prescient reminder that once they give up on ACME, kids are left with nothing to reach for but a cigarette.