Tank in action

Here is the tank getting some more testing done, and a new driver trying it out…

We’re gonna need a Montage

Here is a quick video montage of the build from the beginning…

All but finished

Well the tank has reached a point one could call finished.  Sure, I will always be tweaking, adding, and finishing up details, but basically, it’s done enough for now.  And it looks preeeeeeetty cool.

 

And here is a little test drive.  I had to take the turret off to drive it.. it is made for a kid afterall.  Watching this video was the first time I have seen the suspension work on a bump, and it worked great!

Detail work

I’m making the final push to finish the tank.  I’m knockin out a few details.  Like the mantlet for the main gun, made from a curved piece of fiberglass, and a cut up 3″x2″ abs reduction coupler:

 

Then I made the headlight guards, and painted and mounted some fog lights for headlights:


Then I painted the stars on the turret, installed the finished gun barrel, and mantlet, added little handles on the hatches, and the turret is finally finished.

 

Laying more color

I finished up the final details of upper hull bodywork, by finishing up the tops of the gunner hatch bump-outs.  I will be adding non-functional hatch doors later (they can’t be big enough to be used).

Then I was able to finish painting the inside of the upper hull.. with a little help..

 

Then I flipped it over, coated the plywood with epoxy resin, and took it out for it’s first coat of paint!  Still a few areas that show the wood grain that I will sand, smooth with epoxy, then repaint, but its looking pretty good seeing it all one color…

Turret is green!

Well, after attempting to coat the turret in gel coat, having some issues with it not curing on top of epoxy, I ended up scraping off uncured gelcoat, and adding pure hardener to cure the rest. Then I gave the whole turret a good sanding and applied epoxy resin instead. I applied it thickened in a few areas, with a spreader, to fix some flaws from the gel coat, and then brushed a coating of straight resin everywhere. Then I sanded it all again to roughen it up, then sprayed 2 coats of paint.  Later I can install all the hatches, and call it about done (other than some turret ring stuff). There really is nothing better than laying final paint color.

More upper hull work

I have been chipping away at some needed details. I worked on the little ledge on the upper hull that goes around the turret. Took a few tries to find the right wood to make the bend I needed, and then have been filling all around it, and getting the right shapes and edges everywhere.  Just a few more things and I will be able to pull off the upper hull, reinforce all the seams from the inside, and do a few other things to finish off the hull.

More hatch work

For the cupola (the round hatch with the split-door), I wanted to have the doors overhang the outer ring just slightly for a better look (even gap/seam), and to provide a better seal.  I put wax paper on the outer ring, then used thickened epoxy along the edges.

Then I remove the wax paper and now just needs some sanding.  As you can see all the hinges are made of plywood, which has been glued on and thickened epoxy has been used to “weld” them along their edges.  I will do this process on the edge of the oval hatch next also.

More turret work, starting hatches

I began making the hatches on top of the turret.  Being a scaled down tank, the hatches would obviously need to be scaled down also.  However, then a person could not fit through them.  To solve this, I am doing a large hatch big enough to get in and out of,  that will be flush and hard to see.  This hatch will then have on it, 2 smaller hatches which are true to scale and will look good. One of these (the round one) will be used to stick your head out of to see when driving.

 

I am also doing some filler work on the outside of the turret, to smooth it out so it will evetually appear to have been cast like the real ones.  For body filler, I’m using a filler (powder form) that you add to epoxy resin to thicken it into a paste that you can spread smooth, then sand (like bondo).

Main gun firing and elevation systems

I have not posted anything in a while, but I have been slowly working on stuff.  I came up with the firing system, which consists of 2 wheels attached to electric motors, which shoot the ball like a baseball pitching machine.  Initial testing has very good results, I just have to work on a few alignment issues, so the projectile flys straight down the barrel and doesn’t bounce off the sides losing velocity.

Once this was completed (just not yet dialed in all the way, I can worry about that later), and mounted on a bracket so it can pivot, I then began workin on the elevation system, which is what raises and lowers the barrel.

Tthe barrel will be raised and lowerd by hand, almost like how you crank open some windows.  There will be a nut (red in the drawing) on the side of the wood piece, this nut can pivot (more on this later). By adding a cranking arm to the head of a course thread bolt, and by figuring out a way to secure the other end where it can still pivot and spin, it goes through the nut which then raises and lowers the gun/barrel.

Once this stuff is in place, I will finally be able to finish the top of the turret, and begin working on the hatch/cupola.