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R/C Tank Combat

1st Monkton Crusade

War Stories

"With great power comes great responsibility" by Steve Tyng

My favorite quote from Spiderman kind of sums up my feelings after the first foray of the Tyng Cromwell. As Frank stated above, my latest effort "has pushed the technology envelope of the hobby. With his new Cogged-TTS (CTTS), Christie suspension and 24v EV-Warrior, proportional drive system". The goal of this project was to build a tank running EV Warrior motors at 24 volts. I knew this was going to be a fast tank and decided that a suspension and a sprocket track drive would be required to handle the 3HP that the motors would be producing. Probably the most important aspect of the design was the use of a proportional motor controller that allowed me to control the monstrous amounts of torque the EV's would be putting out.

Back to the quote, "With great power comes great responsibility". The Tyng Cromwell in my opinion has left the toy realm and constitutes a very serious piece of equipment with the ability to do serious damage to whomever or whatever gets in it's way. A hundred pound model pushing 10mph requires constant attention and respect. On a couple of occasions (before I got the hang of driving the model) I ran into other vehicles but thankfully not at full speed and causing no damage. The Tyng Cromwell and other tanks that I'm sure will meet it's specs before long (but hopefully not to soon ;-) are powerful models that require responsibility in their operation.

But enough of this, so what was it like to drive the fastest and badest ass tank in the hobby? In one word, a BLAST! I was able to come and go as I please and pick and choose my engagements at will. If I spotted a lone enemy I would just speed over there and take them out. If a group of the enemy were dug in and defensive. My speed advantage would allow me to scream into the middle of them and flush them out, often times not taking a single hit. My speed would allow me to fly past artillery pieces handily out distancing their traverse speeds. Speed is good, but there is a distinct disadvantage to a fast tank. The Cromwell might have been up to the challenge of battle but it's driver was most certainly not! Running after this thing (and I do mean running) on a hot and muggy day in the afternoon sun can really take it out of you. About halfway through the first battle I had to stop and go back to the depot area and down a bottle of water. For the second battle I was better prepared and took water out to the home base. Another disadvantage is to shoot effectively one needs to be behind their turret to aim your shots. On many occasions I was not able to land a shot even though the tank was in an ideal position to do so because my tank was on the opposite side of the enemy tank from were I was. With a tank of this speed and maneuverability, I was easily able to outflank and circle most enemy tanks to get ideal firing positions. Unfortunately I'm not as fast and maneuverable as my creation and it is very difficult to aim a shot in such situations.

The Monkton Crusade was a test. Before the first battle I had a total of 10 minutes run time on the chassis and hadn't fired a single paintball through the turret. My goal at Monkton was to push the Cromwell to see what would break. I gave little thought to teamwork or tactics and just pushed hard in the single aggressor role. The numbers prove this out because the other side would always win whatever scenario we were playing because team tactics will always win out over the lone wolf. I wasn't to concerned with defense and was mostly offensive for most of the day and I'm proud to say nothing broke on the Cromwell. The vehicle performed beyond my wildest expectations. The suspension worked beautifully - allowing a smooth high speed cruise. The sprocket drive TTS didn't shred or break a single piece. The expensive motor controller didn't die in a cloud of smoke. I didn't eat though all my batteries in the first 20 minutes. About the only issue I had with the Cromwell was it's one second turret rotate (probably more like 1.5 seconds ;-). Even with proportional speed control on the rotate it was difficult to accurately aim for long range shots. The turret was just to fast and I'll be keeping an eye out for a slower speed rotate motor.

Some battle highlights that stick out in my mind:

  • An exciting single handed kill of Paul's KV1 which Will captured on video.

  • Attempting to take Frank's Tiger out from across the field by trying to land shots on the top of his turret. Didn't work but I landed one on the front of his cupola.

  • Starting a battle off by driving right through a heavily defended town to take out the two supply vehicles trying to get to the artillery pieces and not taking a single hit.

  • At one point I was feeling a little mischievous and wanted to see Frank dance. I was driving the Cromwell at full speed in circles around Frank and his tank without a single thought of landing a shot on the venerable Tiger. It was a blast watching Frank desperately trying to line the Tiger and himself up for a shot on the Cromwell.

  • The look on everybody's face when I first demo'd the Cromwell and caught air going over a bump.

Battlefield Testing by John Pittelli

The 1st Monkton Crusade saw the debut of 3 new vehicles, my Comet being one of them. Since last fall the Comet has slowly come into being, built in a modular fashion. Each section was finally assembled on the Thursday evening before the battle, thanks to my head wiring wizard, Frank. The Comet was supposed to be used as a test mule for various systems, but it never had a test. It first roared to life on the battlefield.

Considering that fact it had only a few minor problems. The jury rigged battery connectors snapped prior to battle #1 and with the tank not turning smoothly under 24 volt power led to fighting the first battle at 12 volts. At a 13-1 gear reduction that made the Comet as fast(slow) as my Panzer IV. Being comfortable at that speed the Comet performed admirably. Lost the ability to fire the gun due to forgetting to put loc-tite on the servo horn screw.

The Comet still seemed to be draining the battery like my Panzer though, hardly any power left at the end. The new turret motor, same as the Navarone gun, performed flawlessly and allowed for very accurate aiming. The 2 four inch fans installed directly above the EV's kept them so cool that they were barely warm to the touch.

Lunch saw the Comet being switched back to 24 volts, seemed I must not have tightened the TTS system properly in the beginning as now she turned fine. Steve was not joking about running behind the Cromwell. I found the Comet pulling away from me so fast that I had to jog behind as we took up our flanking positions to assault the town during the first round of Battle #2. Still not as fast as Steve's Hyper drive Cromwell, my speed alowed me to close ground on all the other vehicles when needed. I still spent most of my fighting at distance, I love the thrill of pounding out hits long range, especially on the trucks when they think they're safe on the other side of the field. Still had severe drainage on the tank batteries and even my transmitter batteries.

Fun times
  • turning inside Steve's circle attack,
  • solo kill on the Jagdtiger from half-field,
  • holding the town for an hour

Lessons learned
  • I must not be charging my mains properly, will rectify with a smart charger.
  • Nicads in the transmitters only last so long. Will switch to alkaline AA cells and just replace them, much cheaper in the long run.

Overall I am very pleased with the performance of the Comet, it did everything that I wanted out of the new systems. The Comet was chosen for it's straight line design, large turret (oh, did I mention that it holds a 12oz bottle of CO2 no more running out during a firefight ) and roomy chassis.