Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making a Toy WW1 Tank (German A7V Part 4)

With the sides, front and rear attached and then belt sanded smooth; it's on to finishing up the tank. The last pieces to be cut are the cupola, some support pieces for the tracks and the air vent plates that cover the dowel holes on the top of the hull.

The cupola was straight forward. I just took a piece of scrap bed slat wood the right height and cut it into a rectangle with the bandsaw set to a 10 degree angle. The piece was fairly small. I used the rip fence and made sure to keep my fingers clear as I used another board to push it through the cut. I then took small pieces of 1/8" plywood (from clementine boxes... of course) and carefully cut little squares for the vision ports.

The wheels are a pretty tight fit. They are 1 1/4" wheels that I purchased pre-made. In future versions, I might experiment with using single very wide rollers instead of wheels to make it a little steadier. I put a "clacker" gear on the rear wheels of this one. It isn't as wide as the one on the British tank because the space is so tight, but still, it works well. I also put little blocks at the front, rear and middle. Besides helping support the tracks, the middle block is where I attached a small triangle of stiff vinyl that is at the same height as the center of the clacker gear. It is what makes the noise as the tank is pushed across the floor.

The air vents were just more clementine box wood cut to shape with their edges beveled smooth. They were glued over the holes in the top of the hull to finish things up.

In looking at pictures of A7Vs, there is a lot to choose from in terms of how to paint it. I decided to go with a straight forward grey with single Iron Crosses on the front and sides. That look seemed to capture the toy look the best.

The paint is craft store acrylic with a clear gloss spray acrylic finish. I hand painted the Iron Crosses on the sides and front using a little stencil I made. I'm on the fence as to if I would do it that way again. It takes awhile to do and the results aren't perfect (but hey, what is right?) Decals or stickers are an option, but they can get peeled off or yellowed in a way that I don't think the paint will. It might just be that I need to practice a bit more.

A7V from the frontMaxim guns at the rear

The completed toy tank

So, here is a quick semi-murky video of the finished toy. The clacker works and all the guns rotate. There is a bit of a squeak in there that I probably could have tracked down... but let's just pretend like that is by design.

So, all in all, this was really fun to design and build. I'm pretty happy with how it came out and it was well received. 


  1. Hey! What's your next project? Your readers are baiting their breath!

  2. really what are u waiting for. i am trying to be patient but what gives


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.