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Incredible late 1910s WWI Mk IV female tank. Pressed steel, heavy clockwork, and early cast aluminum.

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Toy Soldiers22 of 50I think I have an addiction! The tank division lines up. Hausser Model 0/730 - Erbsenfeuernden (Rapid Firing Tank). 1920s tinplate with flywheel. Germany.
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Posted 2 years ago

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Dr_Rambow
(88 items)

I think I have a new favorite tank :)

I've been waiting for one of these to show up for a very long time. I saw one listed at a Vectis auction back in 2006 and I'v been drooling over it every day since. I promised myself that if one ever came up for sale I would buy it come hell or high water. I saved for a month or two just to make sure I had enough (thankfully I didn't need NEARLY as much as I had prepared for).

I was waiting over a month for it to get here from Germany, but this last Monday it finally showed up. I brushed my family aside as they curiously inspected the massive box covered in foreign "fragile" tape. There were a few other toy tanks in the lot, so I pulled them out first (the Hausser tank was one of them) and saved this gem for last. I finally came to the last bubble wrapped blob and savored the process of unwrapping it. When I finally revealed it to the folks, even they (who are sometimes skeptical about my collecting... habits) were impressed with my new war machine.

This 11" long behemoth represents (to the best of the creators ability) a Mk IV style tank, probably right out of the newspapers of the day. Unlike the "male" versions which had two larger 6 pound guns, the "female" tanks had only machine guns and different sponsons that accommodated the smaller machine guns.

The construction is mostly steel sheets, but also what looks like a heavy aluminum panel on which the brass geared clockwork motor is mounted. The wheels, copula, sponsons, and guns are all aluminum, many of which are cast. This was obviously an early attempt at using cast aluminum fittings for a toy since they are fairly crude (by today's standards at least).

The copula opens to revel the massive motor. The key is screwed onto the motor before winding can actually begin. There is a break lever on the top of the motor, which keeps the rather heavy flywheel from spinning. The flywheel is so heavy, that it takes a few seconds for the clockwork to get it up so speed; it really sounds like an engine revving up! The motor itself powers a chain that goes from around the middle of the tank back to the rear drive wheels. It is really a fine, high quality piece of craftsmanship powering something as humble as a toy.

Vectis suspects that this was made by Bedington, Liddiatt & Co of London, but looking back at old English catalogs, they seem to primarily be a retailer, and not a manufacturer. I would love to know who made this little marvel, but I enjoy it none the less.

<3

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Comments

  1. petey petey, 2 years ago
    What a fantastic collection of tank toys, love them.
  2. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    Coming from someone with such a spectacular collection of helmets, I really appreciate it! Thank you!
  3. Harborguy Harborguy, 2 years ago
    Great looking tank!
  4. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    I've a fun story about this that just happened this weekend.

    I took my WWI 29th division uniform to a guy who I met at a shop. Didn't go in to sell anything, he is just good company and is great with the early American stuff. Reenacts and everything. He is actually trying to get me to do parades and stuff with him since my uniform actually fits. Just need to get some other gear to finish it off. Usually end up talking for an hour or so when ever I show up. Anyway, I brought along my baby too, this MK IV female toy, and figured I'd share a bit of my toy collecting interest.

    Another guy, who is the primary proprietor and deals in mostly WWII German militaria, is a pretty hardcore collector and has some absurdly high end stuff. He came in after I unpacked the goods and we had been talking with the other gentlemen for a while. He walked in talking on his cell, saw this tank, and essentially did a "gotta go, talk to you later" right then and there. The person on the other end didn't pay the "subtle hint" any mind and kept talking, meanwhile he was exploring my tank like an excited toddler. Picking it up, looking at it all around, fiddling with the tracks and guns. He let out a palpable and excited noise when I popped open the top and showed him the motor. He was just as excited when I told him I'd wind it up for him! He really wanted to buy it, but he understood when I told him how much of a centerpiece this is to me.

    At least I know now that I'm not the only grown man who gets so excited over this stuff. I also know what I look like when I get one of these things! He says he has a Tippco halftrack with a towed flak 88, maybe I'll try to get him to bring that in one day!

    I love having fun with other collectors. :)
  5. artislove artislove, 2 years ago
    great story dr love your tank collection to bits i am happy to see so many other collections and it is nice to learn something too thanx again!
  6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    Those r the 6 pdr's aren't they or I missing something?
  7. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    No, the sponsons that have two guns each in them (like this) represent a "female" MG only tank.

    The scale of the guns isn't terribly accurate, so for some perspective I give you this image.

    http://www.cottontown.org/Nimoi/sites/CT/resources/867.jpg
  8. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    And this compares the "male" and "female" quite nicely.

    http://www.cottontown.org/Nimoi/sites/CT/resources/885.jpg
  9. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    I'm still missing something here & no expert on WWI tanks. You say that the "female" only has machine guns in the "sponsons" but all I see in the pics & reference are obviously cannons. I want to learn but not being taught by what I am shown. Am I missing something really obvious?
  10. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    If you look closely at the second image, you will see the "male" tank on the right that has the 6 pound gun, like you said, and it is much much larger than the other guns. In addition to that, the sponson design is completely different in order to accommodate the much larger 6 pound gun. I'll admit, the tubes sticking out (which are machine guns) look a lot like large caliber guns, but that is the shroud over the barrel.

    Here is an awesome little video that shows and earlier MK I Female using guns that are less deceptive.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyYSUvFV4Qk

    Mk IVs use the Lewis Gun, which appears to be dramatically larger caliber than it actually is, again, because of the large cooling shroud.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1e/Lewis_Gun.jpg

    Hope that clears things up.
  11. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    I am personally familiar with the Lewis & still think the scale is way off. I had already tried to imagine them as Lewis guns but couldn't. Guess I was thinking the tanks were much bigger than they are having not seen 1.
  12. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    I guess you will just have to take my word for it then :)

    Thanks for stopping by everyone! I appreciate it!
  13. Hems303 Hems303, 2 years ago
    Hi All.
    My brother is an Engineer AND tank owner (real and restored by him, 100% operational). He lives near the Bovington Tank Museum, often helping/appearing in displays held by them. I know the museum has a world class collection of the early tanks like your wonderful model/s, I sure you may know of this collection but here is a good link for an overview, if appropriate or you are interested:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tank_Museum

    http://www.tankmuseum.org/home
  14. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 2 years ago
    That's a place I'd like to go one day, if I ever make it to England. To hell with London, I'm going to go look at tanks!
  15. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    Would be a fun place to be employed.

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