Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making a Toy WW1 Tank (Part 2)

I edited the tank image down to just the side view using MS Office Picture Manager but obviously, you can use any image manipulation software or the photocopier of your choice. I then resized it using PowerPoint because it gives a very easy inches scale to follow. (I used the profile I found on http://www.the-blueprints.com/ but I'm not showing it as part of the template I'll include in Part 3. As cheap as I am, I not willing to take other people's work and pass it off as my own.)

I decided to use some IKEA bed slats that I had been given by a friend. (These are not to be confused with the IKEA bed slats my in-laws gave me...) The slats are 3/4" thick and 2 5/8" wide. I cut two pieces about 9" long and then "sandwiched" both pieces together using double sided tape. I sprayed one side with spray adhesive, let it sit for about five minutes and then applied the image. (By letting it set up for a few minutes, it makes it easier to remove the paper later.) Then... off to the bandsaw and the belt sander!

If you can't get the cuts to be a smooth as you like either because of inexperience or having not the right blade; don't despair. Try and make "relief" cuts perpendicular to your main cuts. You can always smooth things later (especially if you have a wicked cool belt sander.)
These are the finished tracks. I drilled two 5/16" holes along the bottom that will hold the axles for the wheels. The holes are 2" apart on center and 5/16" on center from the bottom. (Did I mention how wicked cool belt sanders are?)

I cut the hull out of one piece of 2x3 (which we all know is really 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" grrrrrr). I had a general idea of what I wanted the shape to be, so I just drew it directly on the wood. Again, I'm not trying to make a scale model. I'm trying to make a recognizable toy. The picture above shows the axle holes already drilled, but actually I test fitted my hull against one side of the track to be sure my axle holes were in the right place before I drilled those holes.

Looking at historic photographs and line drawings gave me the general layout I was looking for.After cutting out the general shape, I test fitted it and cut the wheel wells.

I drilled a 3/16" hole right in the center of the front cabin of the hull (facing forward) about 1/4 deep. This will hold a dowel that will be the hull machine gun. You could make the dowel 1/8" but it might be a little fragile for how it is going to be played with. Besides, I've seen some pictures and documentation that said this machine gun was sometimes a "Lewis Gun" which had an oversized cooling sleeve around the barrel.(Hey, I thought you said you said you weren't trying to make a scale model and that you were just trying to make a toy... - QUITE VOICES! I have to use my History degree every once in awhile!!!)

Okay. Let's test fit it and see how we are doing. I took some 1/4" dowels and slipped 1 1/4" in wheels on them. These will go inside the tank body so that they can't be seen from the outside. (By the way, some of the wheels marked as 1 1/4" at craft stores are simply not that size at all. A reliable source for the correct size wheels is http://www.craftparts.com

Grab the double face tape and then line everything up, give it squeeze and see if it rolls.

The space is going to be tight for the "clacker' I want to place between the wheels, but we can still give it a try.It rolls well and is starting to take on the classic tank look I'm shooting for.

So far, so good.


  1. You may not have realized this, but belt sanders are WICKED COOL!

    Good work! I'm digging it!

  2. Dear Mr. Toy Making Dad:

    Please post again soon. You have not posted since May 18. Your public is anxiously awaiting a new post.

    Bob - A regular househusband


Just Saying...

While we don’t necessarily need more objects, we just might benefit from more making.
- John Dunnigan


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Regular guy who likes to make stuff who lives with a very patient wife, three daughters and three cats.