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From: Frank Pittelli <frank-at-rctankcombat.com>
Subject: Re: Still looking for some "mentors" [TANKS]
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 21:45:37 -0400
Reply-To: tanks-at-rctankcombat.com

Gordon Saunders wrote:
> Hi to all,
> Still hoping someone is near my area of Greensboro, NC that is willing 
> to answer a LOT of questions.
> Granted, I am about an hour or so drive from the Tank Museum in Danville, VA
> That's an option .. but I like the "bigger" tanks  :-)

I guess we don't have anyone "close", but there are dozens of people who 
can answer your questions on the mailing list, so don't be shy.  My best 
advice on getting started is:

1) Pick a tank that you like.  It will take you quite a while to build 
your first tank, so make it something you like, not just something that 
"seems" to have some advantage.  All tanks are basically equal on the 
battlefield (which depends more on the reliabililty of the systems and 
the skill of the operator).   And don't try to build something small, 
just for the sake of being small.  A little extra room in your first 
tank makes everything easier!!!  You can build a micro tank for your 
second tank ... and then watch it get shot as well :-)

2) Start from the ground up ... build the track system first.  That's 
the hardest system, so you might as well tackle it as early as possible. 
  Also, it's better to solve all of the design problems associated with 
the track before you build the hull so that you don't have to keep 
modifying the hull.  See the how-to articles and photos of existing 
tanks to see the basic solutions that have been proven to work well. 
Pick an approach that matches your skill set, wallet and your need for 

3) Design everything so it can be taken apart, installed as separate 
modules, adjusted, etc.  Nobody gets everything right the first time ... 
nobody ... so plan on making changes along the way as you learn what 
works and what doesn't.

4) Don't be afraid to try something new ... there's plenty of innovation 
still to come in the hobby ... but also don't spend too much time trying 
to work out some "new, incredible, super technology" thinking it will 
win the battle all by itself.  If you don't get the tank completed and 
on the battlefield enough times to work out the problems, it doesn't 
matter what high-tech whiz-bang gizmo is in there.

5) You need to "commit" to building a tank and actually battling it at a 
certain point in time.  Pick a budget, pick a completion time and make 
plans for battling someone else.  Clearly, there are different time 
scales for different people, but you've got to pick a deadline and push 
towards it.  No tank is perfect the first battle, second battle, third 
battle, etc.  Get it built, get it on the field and find out what 
doesn't work "for you".  Sure, it's a lot of fun building everything and 
making things work.  But there is nothing like actually battling these 
things.  Once you've participated in one battle, you'll want more!!

        Frank P.