Scrap modelling a SteamPunk Tank

His and Her Majesty’s esteemed shipwrights and steam boiler makers have used all the available materials including scrap to make His and Her Majesty’s first Land Ship.

I blame Mr. Alan Gruber of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog.

If he hadn’t mentioned in the comments about building a tank for my WW2 tanker inspired Steampunk infantry, I probably wouldn’t have got around to it. Thanks Alan.

So ‘corrugated card tracks’? This made a connection with some Lockdown grocery packaging in my scrapbox.

I didn’t go for the WW1 Rhomboid tank with tracks top and bottom, I went more for the more interbellum type Sno-Cat tank track.

The body of the tank was going to be another trusty milk carton. Some readers might remember the LCC Landing Craft Carton of 2019.

I discovered bizarrely that one set of such tracks would suit one of my LCCs and make it a tracked landing craft (like a US Buffalo). That’s for another day.

Landing Craft aside, I kept the rhomboid shape that Alan mentioned by pushing the Carton ends out at the front and steeply in at the rear. Staples held these shapes roughly in place.

The basic tank shape and turret hole

I thought the central turret would come from a handy tin, but all the ones I found were too wide. Instead I found a spare lid and plastic jar.

The tools for the job … staplers, Sharpies, corrugated card and milk cartons.

There is a lot of space inside the Carton that could be used in other designs.

Old sprues from Pound Store mini tanks and coffee stirrers add instant scrap texture

The sprues I thought might suggest steam tubes or steel plating?

The Milk Carton pouring hole created the tank commander’s cupola.

The gun barrel was a pen lid. Additional armament is a front machine gun.

The bit that was most fiddly but fun was making the tank track wheels. I could have bought a set of brass gears and cogs from some of the many jewellery, crafting and even Hornby site. However keeping with the scrap modelling and scratch built feel, I found I had a few spare “cogs” and “gears” from not putting the friction motors and wheels in Pound Store mini tank kits (which is yet another blogpost).

Add to these some tiny buttons as the smaller road wheels and you have a quirky set of tracks, gears and wheels.

I like the scrap toy nature of these button wheels …

The buttons, big and small, came from a charity shop £1 bag of old buttons (retrieved from unsellable clothes?) that in the past has provided button ‘shields’ for conversions.

Copper painted button wheels and button viewing slits on escape doors.

The most useful buttons were ones with straight holes as they made very good concealed front and side viewing slits for safe firing and viewing.

A small hatch below the turret allows the turret crew, gunners and drivers to enter and escape.

Cupola open and cut down tank commander figure
The steampunk infantry sit between engines and turret. A step over the track links allows safe deployment of infantry without hitting the tracks.

Rear view of the copper and brass steam exhausts – note the signal flag.

One day I might work on individual tank track plates, but not yet. I might coat the cardboard tracks with PVA.

This Land Ship could work with a range of figures, from Victorian Redcoats right the way through Steampunk into Sci-fi.

All that remains now is to choose a name for this Landship – Any ideas? We’ve had a few family suggestions already.

All Land Ship name suggestions in the comments box, thanks!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 28 / 29 August 2020.

Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

15 thoughts on “Scrap modelling a SteamPunk Tank”

  1. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Absolutely splendiferous. I just threw away a bit of sprue, having paused to wish I had a purpose for it … luckily I’m a lazy soul and the bin remains unemptied. The unscrewing hatch is the best thing I have ever seen. Now please come up with a scenario and send that behemoth into battle. I’m useless at naming, so I’ll leave that to the professionals.


  2. This is absolutely fantastic and inspiring! As for a name, I’m not terribly good at that, but according to Google’s translate “la baleine terrestre” is French for “the land whale”.


  3. Whoa. Extremely impressive work! Have you seen the old Major General Tremorden Rederring’s page? They did a fine battle with land ironclads once upon a time, and christened the crews “Terries” after a facetious Kipling poem about the Royal Terrenes.

    I am curious to know how long it took you to build once you had the parts assembled. Might be a possible two-part craft or crafting video for the library!


  4. Great work, splendid use of materials in a creative way. As for a name perhaps Phoenix as she rose from the ashes of the recycling bin. I really look forward to seeing her in action…

    Liked by 1 person

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