Building a Type 5 Chi Ri – Attempt 1

So a few months ago, my cousin Joey told me that while he was working, he had acquired a large ball bearing. I said ok, what are you going to do with it. He responded with, “I am going to make a tank.” Thus our adventure began.

So we had talked for awhile what tank would fit our specifications, and those were: it couldn’t be larger than the trailer that it would be shipped around on (6′ x 8′), and it had to have no difficult shapes. That almost instantly threw out most French tanks, as their oscillating turret would be much to difficult to scale down and make. That also threw away most late war German tanks as their overlapping road wheels would be too big of a project to make individually. Finally, we came to the conclusion that the Japanese Type 5 Chi Ri would be our best bet. And it was fairly simple on paper. So because I live in the LA area, and he lives in the middle of nowhere central California, it was decided that it would be my job to find a power plant for the tank. So, after some careful research, I found a guy willing to sell his two mini bikes for $60. He did fail to mention that they are both stolen, and possibly don’t work. However, I still went through with buying them, hoping that they would work out well. Fun fact: they don’t. So I drove roughly 5 1/2 hours up to his house with these bikes reeking of gasoline in the back, when I get there to find out all of our calculations were off and we would have to do the trig all over again to find all of the correct lengths. And we only have about 24 hours to do it. At this point, we started to be reasonable, and decided that we would just try to get at least one of the engines working, and get the turret of the tank done. Fast forward 15 hours and all we have is a mini bike taken apart, and 4 pieces of particle board cut out in roughly the shape of the turret. It was at this point we accepted defeat and threw in our hats. The tank had gotten the better of us. This time.

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