The Practicle aspects of Hover Tank design. Discus not Argue

The challenge: build any kind of hover tank without using a tank kit's hull or turret - because nothing saus 'fun' like 70 tons of floating mayhem.

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Post by Scotaidh » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:32 pm

mike robel wrote:
Scotaidh wrote:I was thinking that simply from the mobility aspect, a flying tank might be militarily very useful, even if it did have to sit down to fire. I don't believe that we're ever going to see a situation like that at Kursk again, or even the tank battles of North Africa. I think they're going to be more one- (or two-) on-one. It seems to me that a tank that can pogo up out of cover, dash across terrain and plonk itself down again might be very interesting ... and of course, it'd need a turret. :)
Desert Strom and Iraqi Freedom had large numbers of tanks. DS might have been the largest battle since Kursk or maybe largest ever tank battle.

While tanks are more lethal and therefore can control more ground than they could in WWII, which reduces the # needed for the same size tank, don't go counting out the tank and large armored fights just yet.

An old tanker
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My thoughts were based on the fact that WWII tanks had to stop to fire accurately, and they did a lot of damage. I think a 'pogo' tank would be a useful interim vehicle between today's tracks and a true hover/grav tank. After all, we don't know how long it'll take to develop a true hover/grav tank, and in the meantime the tankers gotta have something to use. :)
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Post by Old Wombat » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:14 am

Oh. boy, this place is jumpin'! :D

Hovertanks... Make way Dave Drake, Starship Modellers comin' through! :badgrin:

Modern tanks have laser range-finders, IR, low-light, telescopic sights & what-all-else, running through computers which lock the tri-axis stabilised barrels onto the perfect targeting angle so they're almost as accurate on the move as they are when stationary but there ain't nothin' like hull-down for bustin' butt with less chance of havin' yours busted!

I'll be honest, I've been thinking about this subject for years & I've yet to come up with anything better than Dave Drakes super-tanks.

What you using for armour? How heavy is this mother? That's always gotta be your first question.

Then what does your main gun(s) fire? Lasers? Plasma? Projectiles? Bubbles?

Next, what is your power-plant & fuel? How high can this thing lift off the ground? What's its effective range? How fast can it go? How well can it manoeuvre? How much, if any, excess power does it have?

Finally, combining all of the above, how big is this sucker? What sort of heat/magnetic/electronic/etc. signature is it going to have? Is it going to be too big & slow to be anything more than a mobile pill-box (as per WW1 tanks), is it going to be light & fast but vulnerable to enemy tanks which it can't hurt unless it finds a weak spot to target (as per the M4 Sherman) or is it going to be a big, fast, hard-hitting, mean sod (as per the M1 Abrams or Challenger 2)?
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Post by Cenebar » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:59 pm

Old Wombat, good questions...

I also agree with HWR MKII. Finding a hull bottom and top is one of the hardest thing to make a hovertank from, which is why many hovertank builders use existing tank kits because not many kits offer such large hull pieces. (the designer of MaK SF3D uses an old iron).

I don't really think about the internals per se outside of how many crew it carries. I'm more concerned with patching the holes caused by the kitbashes because I don't really have a stash of kits devoted to kitbashing. (I'm not one of those modelers who views any kit as potential parts fodder).

In any case, I concentrate on weapons, sensors, and protection. From my hovertanks in the SSM gallery, my design is...

* It has to have surface-to-air missiles
* It has to have a large anti-air laser (no puny gun) for anti-air and missile defence
* It has more weapons than the main gun
* It has to have frontal forks to detonate buried mines before the main body hovers over them. (OK, OK, some believe that a hovertank hovers over mines without detonating them, which is true, but still...).
* It has surface and air radar (dish)
* It has jet nozzles in the back (Gundam kits provide)

Gundam kits are perhaps the best donor kits to making hovertanks. Even the cheapest Gundam kits come with cool shapes and jet nozzles.

I use the ringed-range approach to offense and defense, like an onion slice with long-range and close-in weapons.

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Post by DEC » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:47 pm

Cenebar thanks for posting, I'm going to quote some of your thoughts to stimulate disscusion, I hope you don't mind as its not personnal in any way but does show the different sides to the HT thought process.
It has to have frontal forks to detonate buried mines before the main body hovers over them. (OK, OK, some believe that a hovertank hovers over mines without detonating them, which is true, but still...).
An Anti Grav vehicle (AG) may not detonate a mine as in effect it has over come gravity by shielding its weight (or mass) from the attraction of gravity, but that may mean it has become more suseptable to magnetic initiated mines.
A conventional Hover vehicle that uses directed thrust will be just as prone to certain mines, Bar mines with tamper switches or pressure mines set to a lighter pressure as the Hovering vehicle will be exerting a downward pressure from the air or jets that it is using to ride apon. ( As an example, The downward pressure from a Chinook Helicopter coming in to land is anough to unbalence a standing soldier) Trip wires will stll be a problom.
I wonder if any Vietnam historians/ vet's on these boards know if any conventional hovercraft set off mines?
It has to have surface-to-air missiles
* It has to have a large anti-air laser (no puny gun) for anti-air and missile defence
* It has more weapons than the main gun
All these items sure look good but... the increase in weight will mean a massive increase in engine size and fuel consumption. Also look at todays conventional tanks, very few have the numorous weapons you describe despite the ability to have so many on board. The possible reasons are:-

1. Weight- as described increased weight means lesser agility or levels of armour or an overall increase in engine size and fuel.
2. Task over load on the crew. Automated weapons could aliviate this but a Tanks main task is engaing other tanks. Air def vehicles can do the AA role.
3. More weapons means more varied ammo with the requirment to have storage for it all, which goes back to the weight and size issue.
I use the ringed-range approach to offense and defense, like an onion slice with long-range and close-in weapons.
I like your thoughts, and if we take Agilty, Protection as well as Firepower as the three areas of consideration the layer approach can still be used, Many of todays tanks have a defensive aide suit ( DAS) that combines threat detection with threat supression, countermeasure and screening with out any recourse to the main weapon. add to that the need to correctly ID threats and friends, aquire targets and then process them for a first round kill: all the while staying as undetected as possible yet able to flee or if engaged survive damage, I'm sure you'll agree the 'Onion layer' pricipal is very much adhered too already.

I hope the above gets a few agreements or counter views, so thanks again Cenebar and obviously its only my thoughts so model away and enjoy your build / this challenge.

regards

DEC
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Post by Cenebar » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:29 pm

DEC, good discussion.

My approach to sci-fi modeling is: "As long as it looks cool!" :D

I think one of the main aspects towards designing is what time period and how high-tech one wants to make it. If one is thinking of Japanese mecha, then the Japanese designs do not use anything recognizable. If one is thinking of Mak, then retro is the look.

One is obviously constrained by the materials, resources, and investment one has.

If I do enter (still not sure if I will), I think I might go "higher up" than the altitude level of a hovertank. Not a fighter, but not ground-hugging like a hovertank either. Maybe a hovering vehicle in the helicopter-altitude range that isn't a helicopter per se. Maybe a hover-anti-tank tank.

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Post by Dr. Yo » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:07 pm

Just as the tank increases in sophistication, so too will the land mine.
I could see something more akin to a camouflaged launcher ( a
fiberglass shell resembling a boulder, or a fallen log, for instance )
scattered about the landscape. A sudden variance in local gravity
might trigger something like a small mortar. At the low end of the
tech scale, more conventional hover tanks might trigger a mine
with a fuse as simple as a shrouded pinwheel....

The question about the Viet Nam hovercraft is an interesting one.
All I remember about them is that they mostly operated in swamp
land or on open water, and they were mighty loud.
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Post by DEC » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:10 pm

Cenebar Please do enter- the more the merry.

You point about altitude is good too. the boundary between Helicopter type vehicle and tank type vehicle become increasingly blurred when one talks about it's operational range and height. Add too the Soviet WIG's and any direction is justified.

And I love discussing this topic, but agree its all for fun so Cool is just as valid!
:D

DEC
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Post by DarKev » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Hello Folks

Given what I have read on this thread I would like to pose the following question. In the 50's "War of the Worlds Movie" would the Martian War Machine be considered a Hover Tank or a Walking Vehicle. The things looked like they "Hovered" but I do recall (I don't have the movie handy or I would check before making this post) some statement or visual saying/showing that it moved on a Tri-Pod of Magnetic Force Beams.

Could such an arrangement be used to justify the movement of a design (say reverse engineered :wink: martian tech) for this challenge.

Thanks

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Post by DEC » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi DarKev
I think you should post your Question in the Hovertanks Challenge thread and the originator- HWR MkII can decide http://www.starshipmodeler.net/talk/vie ... hp?t=80155

I do recall the line that they had some sort of supporting legs, and all other realisations of Martian war machines have legs so perhaps they fall outside this challenge? But its not up too me...

Dr Yo what you describe is already a reality, off route mines ( Directional shaped charges that attack armour sideways) already exist shaped like stones and logs ( its actaully a fiberclass body) and the remote sensores are the same.
And getting away from conventional anti armour- the terrorists have always used guile to hide the anti personel mine ( or IED ). The IRA used posters stuck over light reactive switches so when a soldier tore down the poster it exposed the switch to complete the circuit. the 'Attractive item' - using a issued water bottle or torch packed with explosives and a mercury tilt switch was another method of camouflage of the devices true nature. It goes along the idea of the best hiding places are in full view.

I wonder if the operating enviorment of the Hover craft in Vietnam meant no mines in the swamps?

DEC
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Post by mike robel » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:34 pm

DEC wrote:Hi DarKev
I think you should post your Question in the Hovertanks Challenge thread and the originator- HWR MkII can decide http://www.starshipmodeler.net/talk/vie ... hp?t=80155

I do recall the line that they had some sort of supporting legs, and all other realisations of Martian war machines have legs so perhaps they fall outside this challenge? But its not up too me...

Dr Yo what you describe is already a reality, off route mines ( Directional shaped charges that attack armour sideways) already exist shaped like stones and logs ( its actaully a fiberclass body) and the remote sensores are the same.
And getting away from conventional anti armour- the terrorists have always used guile to hide the anti personel mine ( or IED ). The IRA used posters stuck over light reactive switches so when a soldier tore down the poster it exposed the switch to complete the circuit. the 'Attractive item' - using a issued water bottle or torch packed with explosives and a mercury tilt switch was another method of camouflage of the devices true nature. It goes along the idea of the best hiding places are in full view.

I wonder if the operating enviorment of the Hover craft in Vietnam meant no mines in the swamps?

DEC
The East Germans did similar things on the border. There were these "barber poles" that marked a radical change in the border trace and were painted red, black, yellow. In them was the seal of the DDR. Some people decided they made good souvineers so they would go up to them and take them out. To discourage such nonsense, the East Germans wired about 1/4 pound of C-4 behind the seal. Take the seal, then BOOM. There was also a spike in the top to keep birds from sitting on it and doing their business on the seal.

There was a place that made wax replicas up near the border (west side) but I never got one, damn it.

WRT to mines in VN, a good friend of mine's APC was blown to pieces by going over what they then called "Command Detonated Mines" 3 155mm artillery shells wired to go off together. Killed his driver, flipped the M113 over, and tore the front end off. My buddy got buy with bloody ears, broken arms, and a nice concussion.

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Post by Tony Agustin » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:38 pm

Hover Tanks don't really have to look like a bar of soap all the time. That's boring to see.

Those Tachikomas configurations from 'Ghost In The Shell' are considered 'tanks' and would be a nice starting point to something original. Replace the wheels with hover pads and re-work the body/leg/cockpit to un-Tachikoma-ize it, and you got something there.

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Post by HWR MKII » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:51 pm

Dr Forrester wrote:They use some kind of force field like invisible legs. They keep the opposing poles in balance and lift the machine:
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Post by Cenebar » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:51 pm

DEC wrote:Cenebar Please do enter- the more the merry.

DEC
Entering depends on how many resources I have since I don't want to spend money to buy more kits for this specific challenge. I'll have to check to see what I have...

Tony is correct though. Hovertanks don't need to look like tanks at all, nor do they need a turret or a tube gun. They could be nothing more than a hovering bank or missiles or shooting rods or one gigantic laser panel on a flatscreen.

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Post by Blappy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Cenebar wrote:
Entering depends on how many resources I have since I don't want to spend money to buy more kits for this specific challenge. I'll have to check to see what I have...
I am making mine mostly from scratch with maybe a few tiny wave option parts for detailing.

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Post by chrisjon65 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:26 pm

:) I think the design of a hovertank depends on a heap of things .
powerplant is the main issue as i see it.
It could have Startrek type hyperdrives,fan driven like a Dune throppter,maybe your own imaginative atom fusion drive system,electric powered,solar powered etc etc.
I like the idea of everyone supplying some specs on your tank and a few of its attributes to make it easier for folks to understand your design

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Post by DEC » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:33 am

hello and welcome Chris
I think the design of a hovertank depends on a heap of things [...] I like the idea of everyone supplying some specs on your tank and a few of its attributes to make it easier for folks to understand your design
Totally agree and i hope that means your in too, what are you planning?
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Post by chrisjon65 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:00 am

I still haven't decided, but i can't seem to get away from a steampunk design probably steam driven which ultimately drives a power generator to power the electric fans.
Iam visualising fans for upward lift that possibly could tilt or 2 separate sets of fans that propel the tank forward and backwards and the other set for lift.

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Post by Jagdson » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:09 am

Cenebar wrote:Tony is correct though. Hovertanks don't need to look like tanks at all, nor do they need a turret or a tube gun. They could be nothing more than a hovering bank or missiles or shooting rods or one gigantic laser panel on a flatscreen.
So Ramiel counts too?
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Post by shadowbeast » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:19 am

chrisjon65 wrote:I still haven't decided, but i can't seem to get away from a steampunk design probably steam driven which ultimately drives a power generator to power the electric fans.
Iam visualising fans for upward lift that possibly could tilt or 2 separate sets of fans that propel the tank forward and backwards and the other set for lift.
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Post by Masao » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:22 am

Is an ESB snowspeeder a hovertank? It's got big guns, it hovers, it engages armored vehicles. Does its relative lack of armor make it a non-tank?

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Post by Old Wombat » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:28 am

I would classify the snowspeeder as more of a gun-jeep than a tank.
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Post by DEC » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:05 am

Hmmmmm.... Interesting observation Masao The ESB snowspeeder certainly fits some HT specifics.

My answer is a question "how does the Snowspeeder react in flight?" ie:- does it act like a tank, helicopter or airplane? Can it stop, stationary and engage, can it turn on its axis while stationary? if yes then its not an airplane. How much can a Snowspeeder take incoming? Helis are pretty easy to take down compared with a tank so that will probably decide between the two. Although Old wombat's jeep type Hover vehicle has as much relevance as a Helicopter for lack of armour.

Whats your take Sean?
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Post by HWR MKII » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:46 pm

From its performance seen on screen id have to say no the Snowspeeder is not a hovertank type vehicle. It uses Repulsorlift tech in it according to other books but it is more like a low altitude strike craft. Its original role in the SW universe was as a small cargo tug similar to a workbee in the ST universe.
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Post by Masao » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:06 pm

Like a lot of SF vehicles (and, especially Star Wars vehicles), the snowspeeder acts like an airplane because it was designed by present day designers to do so. It basically acts like a (very) low-flying A-10. Similarly, the Trade Federation "tank" is used like a WWII AFV to lead infantry into battle. But because both vehicles can hover and fly (to a certain extent), they might be able to operate in a different way. For example, if they were used in a Central European battlefield, they might be able to hide behind a hill, pop up to shoot at an AFV, then scoot behind another hill. Kind of like an Apache helicopter and kind of like a tank destroyer. The snowspeeder doesn't fit our visual idea of an AFV/tank because of the exposed cockpit, high speed, and lack of physical armor or turret, but if it has energetic armor (ie, shields), it might be able to slug it out toe-to-toe with a similar enemy vehicle either on the ground, at low altitude, or up in the air, like a fighter plane. The possible roles it could play might not match that of any single vehicle we have today.

Think, for example, of a hovering vehicle that is heavily armored (physical or energetic), carries heavy weapons, can zoom at 200 mph (or more) or crawl at walking speed, can turn on a dime and move in any direction, can reach altitudes of 100 or 1000 feet (or whatever) or a foot off the ground, isn't lethal to people standing next to it, and is robust enough to operate semi-independently like a modern tank. How would you use it?

Think also of the "flying tank" that was used to engage Godzilla in the 1985 movie. Is it useful only against radiation-mutated monsters?
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Post by DEC » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:12 pm

Firstly hi mike robel
I learnt something new from your post about the East German border. I was chatting to a mate about it who was stationed at the height of the Cold War in Germany and he knew all about it... kinda burst my bubble :D

Masao, hello.
I must admit trying to catogorise the Snow speeder is difficult as it meets quite a few criteria, but my gut feeling is ' It ain't no Tank' despite its theretical atributes that may stand it in good sted in a tank verses speeder engagement.
Any how HWR MkII has spoken, so no Speeders to be seen in here masquarading as Armour :D :P

TRADE FED Hover Tanks; I've made a few of them. Should I link em as they fit this challenge? And lets talk about flaws in there design as they had a few.

1. why crew it with robots? Surley if you remove a human function the tank can be the robot itself - fully automonus.

2. Why has it got chairs inside- robots dont need to rest? I saw the filming miniture in London's Barbican, the blown up one. It had three seats inside.

Looks Cool though

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Post by Masao » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:47 pm

DEC wrote: TRADE FED Hover Tanks; I've made a few of them. Should I link em as they fit this challenge? And lets talk about flaws in there design as they had a few.

1. why crew it with robots? Surley if you remove a human function the tank can be the robot itself - fully automonus.

DEC
I attribute it to the perceived need to stick to present-day paradigms of military weaponry. Star Wars always has that problem. Most Star Wars weapons are simply analogs of modern weapons (infantry men, machine guns, swords, aircraft carriers, fighter planes, dam busters, etc).

On the other hand, they did have droid fighters, ie, fighter craft that were themselves droids. They walked around like pterodactyls. An outstanding design, I thought.

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Post by HWR MKII » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:05 pm

This all goes back to the original intent as well. No existing kits. You can go off a pre made design as long as no commercially available kit is made. So while a trade fed tank would be an easy in it is a ready made kit. same with the snow speeder.

Support type vehicles are welcome too but if it gets above 20 feet and moves at 300 MPH it sure as hell aint no tank.
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Post by Blappy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:15 pm

Masao wrote:
DEC wrote: TRADE FED Hover Tanks; I've made a few of them. Should I link em as they fit this challenge? And lets talk about flaws in there design as they had a few.

1. why crew it with robots? Surley if you remove a human function the tank can be the robot itself - fully automonus.

DEC
I attribute it to the perceived need to stick to present-day paradigms of military weaponry. Star Wars always has that problem. Most Star Wars weapons are simply analogs of modern weapons (infantry men, machine guns, swords, aircraft carriers, fighter planes, dam busters, etc).

On the other hand, they did have droid fighters, ie, fighter craft that were themselves droids. They walked around like pterodactyls. An outstanding design, I thought.
OK Mr Smarty smart.... :D Enough talk. Lets see your design. DEC, HWR MKII, and myself have threads showing actual work. (Well two of us do anyways) :D It's your turn now. Make us a tank that is a tank but does not look like a tank as we think of a tank in the tank sense. Tanks! :wink:
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Post by Masao » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:26 pm

Uh oh, there's a moderator hot on my tail! I better start sketching.

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Post by HWR MKII » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:32 pm

Nah just seems that most who are discussing are either involved in the challenge or they have at least designed something that would fit the bill for others to expand upon. :D
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