7 Historical Super-Villain Designs (That Came From Leonardo Da Vinci)
Leonardo Da Vinci is known for a bunch of stuff we don’t need to get into here. The guy was talented. Probably TOO damn talented and ingenious for his time and seemed to have an overflowing abundance of ideas and skills just oozing out of him. Perhaps one of the best places to see this in action is by visiting some of Da Vinci’s wildest designs for weapons of war.
Da Vinci essentially left behind a treasure trove of what can only be described as what happens when a young boy who likes to use his crayons to draw ninjas with sword guns and eyes that turn into other ninjas, who have eyes that shoot tanks out of them but gave that kid outrageous skill with pen and paper. It’s fun to think that when Da Vinci wasn’t painting some elegant masterpiece, he was probably just thinking about some sweet-ass new way to brutally kill a bunch of dudes in a period of time when getting killed was already done in the most brutal possible ways ...
A Giant Crossbow
Nope, don’t worry. You’re seeing that right. Those are the actual proportions he’s going for here. That’s not some bitch ass regular crossbow that can only fire a bolt that will go straight through your chest. This is a Megabus-sized crossbow that would shoot a bolt that would strike you in the chest in Italy before flying you through Europe and pin you high onto a mountain in some Scottish isle. Which, honestly, as I’m typing this, sounds like the best possible way to die.
I love this design from Da Vinci because you’d have to imagine this is where many of these ideas would go. Got a cool thing that kills people well? Awesome. Great. But what if we made it a boatload bigger? Then it would probably kill people even better. How’d you like to be the guy in the sketch operating the release at the end of the bow? Knowing you’re one bump away from a town drunk from being history’s first astronaut.
Psychotic Sythed Chariot
One great thing about Da Vinci’s military designs that you’ll come to notice is that there is really little difference between Leonardo Da Vinci and a video game concept artist. Except when those concept artists are working on their most outlandish character and weapon designs, they’re doing so to put them into a video game where nobody actually gets hurt. Da Vinci was over here scribbling up this rejected character from Twisted Metal 2 and immediately giving it to the people in charge and saying, “Here’s another death drawing. Make it happen, man. All the details are in here. I’ll be back tomorrow with ten more weirdo creepy drawings of horrific war machines, and you better start making them.”
This was Da Vinci’s modded chariot, where he added massive bladed scythes to the thing to chop up anything on the side of it. Which, to be fair, is still a far less heinous car mod than lifting your truck. Imagine the battles in the chariot regiment to get to use the first one of these things if they were ever made. You’d basically be the guy out on the battlefield who paid for all of the downloadable content and unfairly had gear that could crap on everyone else out there. The Da Vinci battle pass.
Along the same lines of Da Vinci’s philosophy of making things kill people better by making them bigger, he also explored the route of making things kill people better by putting more things that kill people on top of each other. That’s how we ended up with the designs for this organ-like cannon system that would allow the operator to quickly rotate through cannons down the line while preparing the used ones for more fire.
I’d love to know how these “eureka moments” of death machines hit him. Surely on the crapper, right? Except he didn’t have an iPhone right there to pop open the notes app. He had to get up, mid-horrific 16th-century diarrhea, run across the floor, poop trail behind him, Da Vinci would find a paintbrush that’s ready to go and splash across a blank canvas in sloppy, big font, “Horses, but their dicks are cannons,” and he smiles and finishes his dump on his studio floor. Inspired.
A Goddamn Tank
You knew he had to get there eventually. There’s always a lot of talk about how Da Vinci actually designed the first sketches for helicopters, but I’m far more impressed with his plans for the first tank. Imagine seeing this thing rolling at you on the battlefield in the 1500s? Up to that point, it was nothing but walls and walls of exhausted, starving, tired men and horses running towards you. If they parted and this alien land saucer rumbled ahead, there’s no doubt you’d put down your weapons and just drop the whole squabble.
Forget the fact that it probably would have been a total piece of trash and, of course, wouldn’t have been able to be propelled by a modern engine. In fact, if you got this thing into the production phase, the people making it would probably have to track down Da Vinci and ask him how he planned to propel this thing. Busted, caught, knowing that he never really got that far with any of this stuff because nobody ever called his bluff, he’d rummage through his pocket and find another crumpled up design for wheels made out of dudes that are bent into circles with a bunch of extra legs bolted on to them, throw it on the table, and sprint out of the room.
Hamster Death Wheel
Did you think that wheel design mentioned above was too outlandish? Well, look at this thing. I absolutely love this design, which is another bonkers crossbow, but this time it’s one that rapidly fires under the power of a bunch of dudes walking on a hamster wheel above it. As they hit the world’s most deadly ass workout on the stair machine up top, the crossbow blasts opposing soldiers at blinding speed.
It’s a win-win, really. Da Vinci’s enemies are killed, and the troops working the thing can ignore the trauma and horror of war by distracting themselves by becoming the town’s biggest butt guy influencers with their hot, sculpted crossbow death machine asses on full display.
You know old Leo wasn’t going to keep his designs out of the water. He knew there was a big opportunity in giving forces the advantage at sea, too, so he wanted to create the first Navy SEAL squadron by implementing these scuba suits to sneak up on the enemy from the deep blue. He had an entire helmet and air pump system designed that gives me legitimate anxiety to even look at and picture wearing, but it’s one other detail in this idea that I love the most: the suits would be made of leather.
I absolutely love picturing a squad of scuba bad boys emerging for battle out of the goddamn ocean looking like dudes Blade would kill. He didn’t know it, but the real force multiplier here wouldn’t have been the ability to attack from sea; it would have been the full goth army that emerged upon the enemy. In fact, I really think that whoever’s in charge of our military’s wardrobe should seriously consider some tactical leather dusters for our Navy SEALs to throw on for our most intense and important kill missions.
The Mechanical Knight
The robot knight. Truly the most useless thing that Da Vinci has ever designed. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure what he was going for here. On paper, it was a suit of armor designed to be moved and manipulated through a pulley system. Assuming then that every force that had one of these would also need some sociopathic maniac like that little jerk Kevin McCallister from Home Alone pulling the strings behind it to chop up enemies far more idiotic than Marv and Harry.
The robot knight is truly just Da Vinci phoning it in, and you absolutely have to respect it. It’s a guy with too much time on his hands. When you get to a place in life where you’ve got the spare time to draw up sketches for hamster wheels that kill people and start building a steel puppet knight, stay in that place. Never leave. Keep doing your bs because you have ascended to the highest plane in human existence and you must never leave.
Top Image: Leonardo Da Vinci