R/C Tank Combat

Support Vehicle #SV018

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Type: Morris CDSW Armament: None
Built: June 2012 Armor: None
Builder: Pete Arundel Rating: 0/1
Status: Operational Battles: 1
Owner: Pete Arundel Points Earned: 0
Call Sign: Unknown Points Given: 250

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The Morris CDSW was a 6x4 tractor designed in the mid 1930's to tow the British Army's field artillery - originally 18pdr guns and 4.5" howitzers but later the famous 25pdr guns. Most of these were, however, lost during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. They were replaced by the iconic Quad (4x4) gun tractor in the field artillery tractor (FAT) role but a new version of the CDSW was produced for towing Bofors Anti-Aircraft guns.

This Morris Support Vehicle came into being when SV012 was retired (and, finally, cremated . . .). At the end of it's service, SV012 had it's original running gear replaced by a pair of MOA (Motor On Axle) axles from a model rock crawler. Now redundant, these axles were used to power this new, 6x4 supply vehicle.

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There aren't a lot of drawings of the CDSW online and many of them differ in detail. I deemed this to be an advantage as it made it less likely that anyone would stride up to me in anorac and woolly hat and say, in that irritating nasal whine that they always seem to have, "Err, excuse me but you seem to have modelled the ammunion lockers on your Morris incorrectly . . ."

The basic chassis is constructed from 15mm aluminium channel bought from the local DIY centre and is, roughly, to scale. It's the right length and width but everything else is either guesswork or just plain wrong. Cross members were made from whatever aluminium was in the scrap box - 10mm strip, 20mm shallow channel and 7mm tube can all be seen here. Everything was pop-riveted together. The join between the front and rear chassis members is a potential weak point but since I'm in no position to forge chassis rails I just double riveted it and worked on the principle that the running gear will wear out or the bodywork will be shot to pieces long before the chassis collapses. Hopefully.

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Here the rear axles and suspension has been fitted. The suspension is modelled on the prototype and is a form of the 1928 War Department Patented Rear Bogie - which is a long winded way of saying that it's two beam axles suspended on paired leaf springs shacked to a central pivot. The gearboxes and motors are integral to the axles and are powered by standard RC buggy size motors (although these are rated 12-15v rather than the standard buggy 6 - 9,6v). As the axles were originally designed for rock crawling, they have no differentials and the gearboxes reduction is something in the region of 1:100

A close-up view of the hind-most axle shows the hubs and uprights. Both axles originally had steering which, obviously, had to be locked out for rear axle use.

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A close-up of the rear suspension showing the upper and lower leaf springs clamped to the central pivot. The pivot is 15mm Aluminium channel and uses a small ball race and roller thrust bearing to ensure smooth movement. The wheels are 2.2" rock crawler wheels and feature bolt on beadlocks to hold the tyres in place. The tyres are filled with foam but are really too soft and need beefing up before any serious use.

The rear suspension is very flexible and maintains traction well but it is not suitable for high speeds (luckily the 100:1 gearboxes make high speeds unlikely) and is capable of winding itself up against the motor's torque if care is not taken in extreme terrain. In contrast to the relatively exotic rear suspension, the front is a simple beam axle on semi-elliptical leaf springs. In order to simplify the steering linkage, the steering servo is mounted on top of the front axle. I'm sure the increase in unsprung weight will make the ride rougher and have an adverse effect on handling but since I will be at least five feet away from it during battles I don't care. The steering servo had to be bought new as none of the multitude of servos I've collected over lifetime of radio controlled cars had enough torque to steer once all the bodywork and battery had been loaded onto the chassis.

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With the Chassis well advanced, I turned my hand to building the bodywork. The Morris is all flat panels with only the bonnet (hood . . .) being anything other than a regular box. All bodywork was constructed from 5mm thick foam-core board - the stuff used for mounting displays at conferences. It's light, easily cut with a good craft knife and is totally un-resistant to paintballs. In order to make it resistant to paintballs it was then armoured in 1mm thick polypropylene sheet. This is tough and can, again be cut with a craft knife. Finally the entire thing was covered in self adhesive aluminium foil to cover any imperfections. This was unnecessary but I had been given a free roll of the stuff and wanted to try it out.

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