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Replica T26/vickers 6 ton tank build.


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Hi everyone, and welcome to my tank build topic.


unlike most other threads on this forum this one doesn't cover a restoration as such, but rather a ground up build. Back in 2012 myself (mitch) and my two friends Paul and Matt were discussing the costs of owning a tank. At the time I had two military vehicles (a 1963 munga and a 1958 simca unic) and knew from experience that it only gets more expensive when you add armour and tracks into the mix. Not to be put off we decided that if we couldn't afford a real one we would build our own.


disussing our options we decided that whatever we built had to be be small enough to fit on a trailer while at the same time being full sized, feature as simple a shape as possible to fabricate with minimal tooling and have very few large castings, finally it had to be a tank that was widely used so as to give us multiple nationality and variant options. After so research we decided on the British Vickers 6ton tank, with our first tank being the late model Russian t26.


Having reached a decision on what vehicle we wanted build we then set about the practical side of things. first job was to build our workshop.


While I live on a farm, I don't actually own it and so access to buildings with mains electric wasn't on the cards. so we had to make do with what we were given. in this case a derelict wood shed that was far from the rest of the buildings and deeply overgrown.


most of the summer of 2012 went into clearing about half an acre of scrub and brambles and then we set too rebuilding the shed, removing the old collapsed roof and replacing it with a much higher and more sturdy one, clearing the floor space and building a workbench. all this was finally finished in early 2013.











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Having completed our workshop we then got stuck in on design work,


(an initial drawing of our steering system)


none of us are trained engineers but I have always been very good at making things work so it fell to me to do the drawings. I decided to keep the build super simple and at the same time as close to the original as possible in dimension. To that end I scoured the net for details while also buying three different 1.35 scale models of the tank. These have proven to be a very useful guide and by simply measuring every aspect and then multiplying it by 35 we managed to get a full set of dimensions. (we had planned to compare all three kits and take the average measurement, however all three we exactly the same size to the mm-even though all three came from different manufacturers).


once the basic dimensions were known I drew a simple framework that would be easy to build, the right size and shape and above all strong! 1234737_10151637178986903_1834835504_n.jpg

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having gotten a basic set of drawings made up for the hull we then set to work on our track design.


Initially we considered buying cvrt tracks but cost and lack of challenge in that approach left us cold. Instead we decided to make our own tracks. To that end we kicked around several ideas ranging from steel plate with welded on grip/joints etc but dismissed it as being to much effort and likley to be very very expensive. Instead we decided to build our own smelter and cast our own tracks. initially in Aluminium but later if the basic version works then we will attempt to make them in iron. So to that end in 2013 we built our own smelter, then began practicing casting using a rough track pattern . 556973_4286869620575_833863008_n.jpg


The smelter is a beast! we used forced air and propane gas. The smelter is made up a composite of normal cement on the outside and refractory cement on the inside. its easily capable of melting aluminium. copper, steel and stainless steel. indeed our first "test" crucible was a stainless steel beer bucket, we accidentally melted it. so we must have been running it at around 2300 degrees. Now we have more understanding of the beast we can easily melt down 20-30 kilos of aluminium at a time and when running hot it can melt several kilos in just minutes.


it took us four attempts to get a decent result using the smelter.

1959462_10152004116341903_1936860003_n (2).jpg


the first three attempts we got the placement of our runners and risers wrong while also we discovered that the mould must be dry otherwise the steam created by the hot metal stipples the surface to an unacceptable level. the last attempt we made in 2013 was however perfect! the track that came out was perfectly acceptable once the sprue was trimmed off.


now that we had casting worked out we paid for an engineering firm to make us a much improved track pattern that would be optimised for easy sand casting. (its due to arrive very soon!) Unlike the real steel tracks we decided to depart from the original design in the interest of ease and strength, to that end we are using elements of a gentleman called "gizmo's" track design. In his design (for a much smaller replica tank) he uses wooden track plates and steel guides bolted to industrial conveyor belt. In ours we have opted for cast aluminium plates for the outers and steel sheet for our inners/guides bolted together on either side of extremely thick and strong industrial conveyor belt (ours has an 8 ton breaking strain. once the vehicles built we should be able to change over to CVRT or similar tracks with just a change of drive sprocket, but got the moment we are sticking to our own Aluminum tracks, these should be adequate for off road use and hey,, its not like we cant cast more of them.

968980_10151447765746903_1871807084_n (2).jpg










1557632_10152004116116903_633995545_n (2).jpg

Edited by mitch
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Once we had casting sorted we started on the chassis. to that end we bought over 100 metres of 60/40/3 box section (of which about half was later stolen :( I had in april of 2013 splashed out and bought an engine welder that gave us both a welder and a very nice generator. (3.4 kva) we then made a steel chop saw using a wood chop saw (bought for a fiver at a boot fair) with a steel cutting disk in place of a blade. This much to everyone's surprise worked flawlessly and really made getting our cuts right a doddle and as no one died we consider the experiment to have been a success, the one fly in the ointment was that it used 210 disks which it would seem are obsolete, so once we ran out of them the saw had to be retired. (we have since bought a purpose built one--its better at the job but lacks the element of "danger" that made the old one fun. :cool2:)


with our first steel cut we began..1013547_10151726673181903_1371682520_n.jpg



thus ended 2013s build.



Edited by mitch
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2014 so far!


Late in 2013 we decided to invest in some specialist kit,, to that end I bought a plasma cutter and then a suitable generator from a gentleman on ebay who specialised in generators. However though it was claimed the generator was capable of powering our plasma cutter we were badly ripped off, (it was advertised as 6.5kva yet wouldn't even run a grinder) this dodgy genny also blew up our plasma cutter. total disaster. luckily after a fight through paypal we got our money back on the genny and the retailer took the busted plasma cutter back. AS of this post were due to buy a new plasma cutter but will only be running it on mains as a suitable generator is just beyond our means at this time.


Dissapointed but not daunted we started work again in march 2014, we would have started sooner but our workshop was flooded. This year we set ourselves the target of having the hull complete and able to drive and steer under its own power.


using the side of the chassis built last year as a pattern we got stuck in..













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With the chassis reaching a point where we are about to start fabricating the floor we decided it was time to get an engine. 4608991883.jpg



the lump we got is a Nissan 2.7 na diesel.. we have had it turning over and it "should" be adequate!! I plan to give it a very good clean and service before its properly installed.


the next steps we are about to take are

1. finish the floor and build the engine mounts


2. using 10mm plate start making the suspension stub axle mounts and then fit them and incorporate them into our chassis.


3. start plating the bottom with its outer skin using 3mm plate.


4. have patterns made for our road wheels and return rollers so we can cast them.


5. build our suspension units.


once these steps are complete we will properly install the engine and all its ancilliaries then start work on the final drives/steering



a bit to be getting on with but its all fun!

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It would be something different to see.

So get back in the shed and built....


Hahah!! we are in there a lot lately!


our videos--please like!




Edited by mitch
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I am looking forward to seeing the finished item out and about - a really ambitious project and going very well so far based on the photos.


All the best



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Fantastic project!


THE place to go to see T-26's (plural) is, of course, the Parola Armor museum in Finland. They have several complete examples, some even in running condition. The Finnish army captured a good number tanks from the Soviets during the Winter War's.


Their website:






Good luck,


Goran N







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Thanks for all the support guys! and Goran, very nice pics! The third and seventh pic looks to be an original Vickers 6 ton, the fitting that looks like a belly gun to the right of the drivers hatch gives it away. iirc, from my research the finns re-armed them with soviet 45mm guns and renamed them the T26E I didn't know that any of that particular vintage were still around,, great find!! the one we are hoping to make will have the same turret as the vehicle in the first pic, and the same hull as the vehicle in the second pic. im intrigued to see a belly gun mount on the vehicle in the first pic, that's the first one I have seen with one fitted (Vickers 6tonners excepted).



State of play on the project for this month, we have obtained more steel so we can now finish off the cross members and floor and we are currently eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new steel chop saw. im hoping that we can get in a weekends worth of work on the beasty next weekend though im going to be taking it easy myself as im having an operation in the week, but Paul and Matt are on hand to pick up the slack. With luck and a following wind we hope to at the very least have all of the cross members fitted and the floor at least 50% finished. That will then let me start work on making the engine mounts and suspension shaft mountings.



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Bit of a slow weekend this as im recovering from my operation and Matt wasn't about, but Paul was and he has started putting in the cross members!10329102_10152139368221903_4898266747484884963_n (2).jpg


stay tuned as more is happening next week!




Edited by mitch
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A group of Russian engineers and mechanics built a running replica of a German Tiger tank to be used in a motion picture a few years back. They built it from scratch and used a V12 diesel engine to power it.


Here's a short video on Youtube:




Here's another Youtube video, albeit only in Russian, and it's about this guy outside of the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia who builds tanks and armored vehicles out of scrap. He sometimes uses 1:35 plastic models as templates to build the copies (!).

Russian genius builds tanks from scrap.jpg



Goran N

Edited by GoranWC51
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Once again, thanks for the support guys,

Great finds Goran, I've seen the tiger before (that was partly responsible for inspiring our build)


AS for wether its going to be able to fire blanks. well we are treating the turret as a separate project, but I have plans to make a working breech with a vertical sliding block, (as on the real one) and give it dummy rounds that have a 12 bore blank inserted in their base. as for the machine gun, not sure yet, its still a long way down the list of things to do. Im tempted to fit the thing out with a high pressure pump and a big water tank inside and make it a "water thrower" version. :cheesy: legal and fun!

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A group of Russian engineers and mechanics built a running replica of a German Tiger tank to be used in a motion picture a few years back. They built it from scratch and used a V12 diesel engine to power it.


Here's a short video on Youtube:




Here's another Youtube video, albeit only in Russian, and it's about this guy outside of the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia who builds tanks and armored vehicles out of scrap. He sometimes uses 1:35 plastic models as templates to build the copies (!).




Goran N


A noble effort but some of his scaling is way off. The Elefant looks plain odd!!!

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