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S Tank 2

Re-edition of the model of the Swedish MBT, built two years after the initial version. Features full suspension, remotely tilted hull, remotely controlled dozer blade and lights.


Completion date: 06/03/2010
Power: electric (Power Functions)
Dimensions: length 67 studs (including main gun’s barrel) / width 25 studs / height 19 studs
Weight: 2.15 kg
Suspension: pendular bogies
Motors: 2 x PF Medium, 2 x PF XL

After almost exactly 2 years, I decided to re-build my perhaps most renown tank model. The S Tank, created back in 2008, has been extremely well welcomed, and no matter how many bigger, more accurate and more complex tank models I’ve built later, there were always some people claiming that S Tank was the best. I, on the other hand, was aware of many shortcomings of this model, and it was my goal to overcome these shortcomings in the following models – a fact that has apparently escaped the attention of many S Tank’s enthusiasts. Eventually, I decided to build this model again using my current level of modeling skills, even though it was against my ‘never build the same thing twice’ rule.

The original S Tank, or Stridsvagn 103, is a fascinating machine all by itself. Designed in 50s, it was the main tank of the Swedish army for the next 40 years, until arrival of the Leopard 2. What was the key of its success and its long-term service? The fact that it was designed with Sweden in mind. Moreover, it was designed specifically for defensive roles. This is why the typical turret was removed completely, because the tank was intended to stay hidden waiting for the enemy to come. To operate in difficult Swedish terrain, the tank was fitted with then-advanced hydropneumatic suspension and a turbine engine (in addition to a traditional diesel engine), making it the world’s first MBT to use turbine engine. Aiming was done by moving the entire tank, using the suspension to tilt the hull as needed. In order to fire its main gun, the tank had to be stopped and its suspension locked – it was clearly a drawback, but it was acceptable given the tank’s defensive role. It should be also noted that in 50s and 60s the fire control systems were relatively primitive, and tanks rarely fired while moving. Finally, the S Tank was equipped with a front dozer blade, which could be used to entrench it quickly and without the need for crew to leave the vehicle.

Thanks to removal of the turret, the tank’s front could be protected by a single armored plate, set at an angle that made it very difficult to penetrate. Actually, at the time it was designed, the S Tank’s front armor was virtually impenetrable for any other tank’s armament. To make a full use of this advantage, the crew included two drivers – the second driver was facing backwards and had his own set of steering instruments. Thus the S Tank was able to drive backwards quickly, while being protected from the enemy by its front armor, as well as being able to return fire at any time.

The S Tank was clearly an unorthodox design, so specific that Sweden remained its only operator, but it could be pretty lethal to any advancing force. Why? Because it had to be spotted before it could be engaged. Now, take a good look at a fully entrenched S Tank:

The new model of the S Tank was supposed to be: accurate, performing well and dark gray. I believe it meets all these conditions. The hull, which was tilted pneumatically in the previous version, is now controlled by linear actuators. It takes much more hull’s internal space, but the stability provided by such solution is peerless. Since my first S Tank was driven by a single XL motor, and the motor was apparently working pretty hard, and now the PF speed control is available, I used two XL motors, each one driving a single track. The tracks’ suspension system consists of 4 large, realistic road wheels (6595 wheels without tires work very well with tracks) suspended on pendular bogies, two wheels per a single bogie. I wanted to use a torsion bars suspension for the first time, but it was impossible to make it work together with the tilted hull. The front dozer blade is operated by a single PF Medium motor instead of pneumatics, and it works better than I expected (this is an application where pneumatics usually performs better than motors do). It should be noted that front part of teh hull houses a traditional battery box rather than the rechargeable battery, and there are two reasons for that. Firstly, a battery box can provide more power for two PF XLs used simultaneously, and secondly I needed something heavy in model’s front part to acquire the proper weight distribution.

As for the visual details of the model, my goal was to model the most distinctive ones. Like many tanks with long service period, the S Tank has undergone several modifications and there are 4 variants of this tank, which differ mainly in details. Few details are fictional, just to fill some empty spaces. Please note that this model uses custom chrome sprocket wheels, rather than original ones that come only in yellow or orange at the moment. These wheels have been purchased at this Bricklink store.

The model took a lot of work and a lot of extra shopping for parts, but I think it was worth it. For me, it is clearly my best-looking tank up to date. It seems that models in dark gray look particularly well on photographs, which is why I attempted to make a couple of macro-like shots, even though I only had a general purpose lenses (macro lenses are expensive beyond human reason). The model performed very well too – it was my fastest tank up to date, and its large road wheels made the suspension’s work spectacular to watch. I have enjoyed driving it over a wrinkled blanket more than I enjoyed driving any other tank under any other conditions. However, there’s a good chance that it would perform better with a torsion bars suspension.


1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg dsc03992.jpg dsc03995.jpg dsc04000.jpg dsc04006.jpg dsc04007.jpg dsc04008.jpg dsc04013.jpg dsc04015.jpg dsc04018.jpg dsc04021.jpg dsc04027.jpg dsc04028.jpg dsc04030.jpg dsc04032.jpg dsc04035.jpg dsc04043.jpg dsc04049.jpg dsc04057.jpg dsc04058.jpg dsc04059.jpg dsc04063.jpg dsc04073.jpg dsc04075.jpg dsc04082.jpg dsc04083.jpg


Categories: Military Tags: , ,
  1. Sariel
    February 23rd, 2013 at 15:41 | #1

    Oscillating bogies.

  2. Lorello
    February 23rd, 2013 at 15:29 | #2

    How do you made the pendular suspession?
    By the way, great model.

  3. gabry
    October 14th, 2012 at 15:33 | #3

    wonderful! The tilting system is amazing XD

  4. Sariel
    August 12th, 2012 at 18:28 | #4

    Because it can’t turn in the real tank either, that’s why.

  5. bigboy
    August 12th, 2012 at 17:42 | #5

    why cant the gun turn? on every tank that you make it can turn. lol

  6. Sariel
    October 25th, 2011 at 08:38 | #6

    Merci beaucoup!

  7. October 25th, 2011 at 02:29 | #7

    Hi! Just a little comment to let you know that I blogged you on LEGO Militaria (a blog french blog dedicated to Military stuff made of LEGO).

    See here : http://legomilitaria.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/s-comme-special/ (you can withraw the link if you want, of course)

    Cheers and congrats for that nice tank!


  8. Sariel
    November 7th, 2010 at 10:17 | #8

    @Sonja Gebauer
    I don’t make instructions, sorry. And it’s not possible for something that was already taken apart, even if I wanted.

  9. Sonja Gebauer
    November 7th, 2010 at 02:14 | #9

    Hi Sariel,
    is it possible to get an exact description of your impressive S-Tank 103C (second version)? I´d really like to build one of my own for me. So could you give me a part list and a building guidance? You do really great work with your LEGO tanks and other models. Please help me.

    Kind regards,


  10. Sariel
    August 19th, 2010 at 17:21 | #10

    6595 wheels, as clearly written in the description.

  11. will
    August 19th, 2010 at 16:42 | #11

    what wheels are you usin as the road wheels

  12. Sariel
    June 24th, 2010 at 23:33 | #12

    I have no pictures and the model was taken apart long time ago. There are schemes of the subtractor in the Ideas category, if that helps.

  13. TheShawzy
    June 24th, 2010 at 18:50 | #13

    I tried to build a replica of your first S Tank but it all went wrong when I ran it for the first time and found that the problem was in the drive train, some gears were slipping and grinding, I then tried to correct the problem by bracing some parts but it still didnt work so if you could possibly post some pictures of the whole drive train and how it is put together. Thanks Dave

  14. Sariel
    June 7th, 2010 at 15:38 | #14

    You’re right Marco, the problem was that I was usually taking pictures from the shortest distance possible. Recently I switched to larger distance with the use of optical zoom, the results look much more natural.

  15. Marco Preto
    June 7th, 2010 at 15:34 | #15

    Congratulations on this amazing lego construction!

    Just a remark about your close up photos: if your camera alows it, use a smaller f/stop in order to increase deapth of field (the correct name should be aperture – use a smaller aperture and you’ll increase the portion of the subject that is in focus). if you’re using f/8, try using f/22 or even smaller (the larger the number, the smaller the aperture).
    You’re lighting is top notch, but if you are able to increase Dof, the photos would be perfect.

    Best regards

  16. May 9th, 2010 at 17:37 | #16

    Ive seen tanks that dont look half as cool but can actually shoot id be pretty cool if you had one that looked like that and could shoot

  17. matthew
    April 15th, 2010 at 18:23 | #17

    Theres another name to pendular suspension.Its called an oscillating axle,you can find it on most tractors

  18. Sariel
    April 12th, 2010 at 09:59 | #18

    Usually I don’t find the info on these mechanisms. I invent them.

  19. Luis
    April 12th, 2010 at 09:37 | #19

    Hi Paul. Where do you find the info on all the mechanisms of the models you build? for example, the suspension devices of a certain vehicle. I know about Mechanisms 101 for general mechanics, but for specific vehicle and machine devices you model I wonder. Thanks for the pointer!
    A younger and less experienced lego artist

  20. matthew
    March 28th, 2010 at 18:36 | #20

    oh thanks

  21. Sariel
    March 28th, 2010 at 15:26 | #21

    Pendular bogies.

  22. matthew
    March 28th, 2010 at 13:45 | #22

    how did you do the suspension?

  23. Sariel
    March 26th, 2010 at 07:10 | #23

    No, but this is easy. Look for the instructions for the 8448 set, and check its rear suspension.

  24. Ben
    March 26th, 2010 at 00:46 | #24

    Hey Sariel,
    This is probably in the wrong place but I couldnt really find a good place to put it. I’m making a 4×4 with pendular suspension in the front but I need an idea for some independant suspension in the back. Do you have any photos or instructions that may give me ideas?


  25. Miroslav
    March 15th, 2010 at 16:50 | #25

    ZUCH taki zlozyc to wielkiego cierpienia i talantu trzeba!!!!

  26. Sariel
    March 14th, 2010 at 16:42 | #26


  27. lewis
    March 14th, 2010 at 16:36 | #27

    will there be an s tank 2 how it works like the first one?

  28. NXTnut
    March 12th, 2010 at 23:42 | #28

    @Sariel I got on to your facebook page.

  29. lewis
    March 8th, 2010 at 19:17 | #29

    still like the old one!

  30. Chili
    March 8th, 2010 at 17:35 | #30

    there’s some on sariels facebook page, but yes internal pics would be nice too

  31. Jasper
    March 8th, 2010 at 16:52 | #31

    I’ve noticed on your latested models that you quited taking pictures of the internal mechanics. I think that’s a shame. I would be really pleased with some pics of the inside of that tank.

    Anyway a great creation as usuall, keep up the good work

  32. gimba96
    March 8th, 2010 at 16:13 | #32

    i love the chrome wheels

  33. Sariel
    March 7th, 2010 at 20:33 | #33

    Just one – don’t clutter up my comments.

  34. NXTnut
    March 7th, 2010 at 19:05 | #34

    I will be making my own website, got any recommendations?

  35. Chili
    March 7th, 2010 at 17:56 | #35

    I think it has too much stuff on the armor plate.
    I also dislike non-lego parts, but the chrome parts don’t show up that much, so i don’t care about that.
    Decorations or none, it still performs so well!

  36. Sariel
    March 7th, 2010 at 16:14 | #36

    Well, you have a problem then.

  37. NXTnut
    March 7th, 2010 at 16:12 | #37

    I can’t get on Face book.

  38. Sariel
    March 7th, 2010 at 15:53 | #38

    Did you try to check my Facebook page? The whole building process is right there.

  39. NXTnut
    March 7th, 2010 at 15:36 | #39

    AWESOME TANK!!! In the picture gallery of your next tank, model etc, think you could add pictures of stages; like base, frame, body? it would very helpful to me and maybe other Technic builders.

  40. Lukas
    March 7th, 2010 at 15:34 | #40

    beautiful tank 🙂 just need to point out spelling error in the first picture – sarielmpl 🙂

  41. Sariel
    March 7th, 2010 at 15:06 | #41

    I always see some little things that could be done at least slightly better.

  42. March 7th, 2010 at 12:13 | #42

    Your models let me think that you are a lego god. Design and technical solutions seems in perfekt harmony. i am rarely really satisfied wit h my models. Do you think your models are perfect or is there in the most models a point that can go better?

  43. Mihály Stépán
    March 7th, 2010 at 12:08 | #43

    Dark grey gives back the shape of details, you can see shadows and light on the hull, black works against all the details.

  44. Mihály Stépán
    March 7th, 2010 at 11:58 | #44

    This is fantastic! I don’t know what the thin blue thing on the back is, but it look real good. And now I know why the tank has such a large exhaust – it’s for the turbine, right?

  45. Sariel
    March 7th, 2010 at 11:31 | #45

    What makes you think I counted them?

  46. Jail
    March 7th, 2010 at 11:08 | #46

    so much nicer than the old one

  47. Mirakle
    March 7th, 2010 at 11:07 | #47

    Well done ! A very great design.
    You Should add the number of parts that you used to build this tank.
    And the chromed wheels are marvelous !

  48. March 7th, 2010 at 04:33 | #48

    it’s really awesome.

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