A German Tiger I tank roamed the hill beside St. Fergus Church in Wick, Caithness, UK. The World War II-era tank was actually a remote controlled model created by Andrew Richard.
Richard is a regular participant in the annual Caithness Model Show at the Norseman Hotel. He let his son, Alex, take the 1/6th scale tank for a drive on the hill near their home.
The 90kg tank has a top speed of 3mph so Richard had no concerns about allowing his young son to take the take out for a spin in the relatively open area near the church.
Richard began building the tank in 2011. It took him about eight months to complete it.
In constructing the model of the iconic WWII German tank, he started with a Russian-made kit but replaced all the motors and electronics in it with Japanese equipment.
The model is powered by two washing machine motors and a leisure battery that is typically used to power caravans.
He painted the tank to match the livery of Michael Wittman, known as the Black Baron of WWII. The number “007” painted on the turret replicates the same number on Wittman’s tank. “[It] has nothing to do with James Bond,” Richard said.
Richard had the idea to build the model after seeing the only running Tiger I in the world at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset. He liked the look of it and set about replicating it.
He said he’s been working on a smaller non-remote controlled model of the Tiger I but life keeps interrupting his work on that version.
His remote controlled version features a sound system complete with the sound of a Tiger I idling when the tank stops and the sound of one driving when it is in motion. The turret can turn and the main gun raise and lower. The gun “fires” with the sound system replicating the sound of a tank firing and the gun recoiling. “It isn’t a live round, of course,” Richard clarified.
Richard owns a pyrotechnic kit for the tank which will give it a smoke effect when the gun is fired. He hopes to install that soon.
He also has a 1/14th scale radio-controlled, fully hydraulic, digger he built five years ago. He even has a Scania to transport it. He plans to paint them in the colors of Steven’s lorries.
Richard said that the family is preparing to move to a new home with a half-acre yard that should give him room to drive his models without alarming passersby.
Several onlookers were spotted watching Alex put the tank through its motions on the hill.
The Tiger tank was a formidable weapon for the Nazis in WWII. The Allies spent a great deal of resources to neutralize the threat of the Tigers.
Tiger tanks were able to penetrate the armor of any Allied tank used in the war so stopping them was a priority for both the Americans and the British.
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However, the Tiger was also known to be expensive to maintain and the number of Tigers that were out of commission due to mechanical failure was very high. Tigers were also extremely expensive to build which led to the Germans putting resources into other weapons and relying less on the Tiger.