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In your, frankly disappointing universe, Jehlik's armoured vehicle didn't progress any further than the filing cabinets of the US patent office, but in mine it went on to a gloriously disastrous career. Why limit yourself to this pretty uninspiring reality when a quick browse through other more interesting alternatives, is significantly more entertaining. It's generally considered that the Americans were supposed to join the WWI party in 1917. However, in 1915 they got themselves a brand new toy and couldn't wait to play with it. The original idea was for the roller-beast to be built in vast numbers in a shipyard on England’s south coast, before the British government tactfully declined, stating “There's no ******* way we want to be involved with such a studi...”, well... the details aren’t important. The contract went to a ship yard near Boston who built eleven metal monsters before they ran out of steel. The machines went through exhaustive testing to see what they could achieve, and isn't it remarkable how fast a nations jubilation can turn to despair – squashing the marching band during the military parade can sometimes do that. With great fanfare the army held a service-wide competition to pick the crew, and the losers started their training soon afterwards. Jehlik became a national hero… briefly, before changing his name and seeking asylum in Andorra where he lived out the remainder of his days breeding with sheep, sorry I mean breeding sheep. After six of them ended up keeping the Titanic company on the bottom of the Atlantic, the remaining five machines trundled ashore in France. The initial surge of joy from the French was soon extinguished after the fourth village was reduced to rubble. Their début on the battlefield would have been a great success, but as the existence of the roller beast was difficult to hide, those cowardly Bosch had dug a long pit in front of their trenches which caused the first four behemoths to get their silly rear castors stuck. How unsporting is that? The Americans wrote a very strongly worded letter to the kaiser saying it really wasn't fair as they were looking forward to a damn good squishing. To show the strength of their feeling they even omitted the kisses from the end 💋. The kaiser missed the post that day as he was at the bingo. Here we see the sole survivor, number 7 which also had the official name 'USLS (United Sates Land Ship) Friendly Fire' which became the only one to engage the enemy. Enabling the American to successfully take the German trench after finding the occupants helpless with laughter after seeing the roller-beast get stuck on a tiny muddy mound. The ref later ruled the American move to be off-side and they had to go back to their own hole in the ground, leaving the score nil-nil. And so Jehlik's monster was edited out of history by an embarrassed nation. Aaannnyyyway… This took about six months in total. I hope you like it. If you want to read the 'making of' thread (if you haven't already) it's only 13,000 words long this time – that's a whole 4,000 words SHORTER than the Holt whopper thread! I may not have got the hang of short posts yet – but at this rate by the time I'm 100, even those who aren’t retired might possibly get the time to read them. This is the Roller-Beast thread. and this is the Dio thread. Thanks for havin a ganders.
I like building weird stuff, but how could I possibly out weird my previous scratch-build? Let me introduce Jehlik's Armoured Vehicle. One of the oddest and least practical designs ever conjured up. Like the Holt Field Monitor, not even the Americans were mad enough to actually build it. The only evidence for it is in the United States Patent Office – patent US1195680A. The patent has two cutaway views from the top and the side and a description which unfortunately has been run through a dyslexic character recognition program translating words like 'vehicle' into 've- 1,195,eeo'. This is it in comparison with the, more or less contemporary Holt whopper: Silly isn't it? Sillier still when you know that the big roller is on the front and the offensive armament is pointing backwards. Anton J Jehlik was mad. Madder than the maddest mad thing ever to hop though madland. My kind of guy. The top cutaway view shows the full horror of Jehliks myopic vision: Perhaps Jehlik was over compensating for something - this thing was intended to be huge… sort of … Jehlik was a bit unspecific about dimensions. He mentioned two different sizes for the diameter of the front roller, 20' or 30' (yes, feet!). The green and the red profiles show the variation between the two sizes Jehlik mentioned: The side view cutaway on the patent shows a driver figure, so I scaled the vehicle to the scale of the driver – which coincidentally, is half way between both extremes (shown as lovely lavender in the above pic). Building it mid way between the two size extremes, feels like a bit of a fudge. If they had ever tried to build it, it's most likely they would have gone for the smaller 20' roller size as 30' is way beyond ridiculous. This is the side cutaway view from the Patent, showing all the fabulous innovations that would kick the kaisers butt back to Berlin - I'll be mentioning a few in future episodes. Because of the size of this thing, I'm abandoning my beloved 1/48 and will be heading into the seedy, unnatural world of 1/72 . One advantage of using this scale is there are American and German WWI figures available for a reasonable price – although they are the ancient Airfix things. It'll make it a lot easier to do a dio. It'll still be big in 1/72, 220mm (8.5”) long and 175mm (7”) wide. This isn't going to a slavish copy of Jehlik's design. There are some things that I've added or altered slightly to make the vehicle less… erm… totally useless. I like to think of it as the Mk.II design. Although it would probably need to get to Mk.XXVIIMXVIII and look nothing like the original before it would be considered an asset. As an example of one of my changes, the patent views shows nicely rounded edges on the bodywork, but I can't think of any advantage – it would have looked nice, but that's about it. Considering the thickness of the armour Jehlik intended to use, doing beautifully rounded edges on the real monster would have been a LOT more trouble to manufacture than it would be worth. It also made my build a little easier. Another thing I'll be reducing other than the scale, is the waffle. I had a bit of a revelation. It occurred to me that this is a modelling site so I should talk about sticking bits of plastic together. Now that the world is trying to get back to normal I haven't the time to rabbit on endlessly - this retirement business is all-go you know. Another thing other than the 'another thing' I mentioned above is that I have actually completed building the ridiculous roller. My head has been too fuzzy to do any sort of WIP to date. Enjoy….