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Tiger Tank

December 23rd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Model of the famous WW2 German heavy tank. Features drive, steering, rotated turret, elevated main cannon and lights. Β 


Completion date: 21/12/2011
Power: electric (Power Functions)
Dimensions: length 25 studs (36 studs including main cannon’s barrel) / width 14 studs / height 11 studs (not including antenna)
Weight: 0.694 kg
Suspension: none
Propulsion: 2 x PF Medium geared 1:1
Motors: 3 x PF Medium, 1 x micromotor

The Tiger tank is the probably most famous German WW2 tank, and one of the most famous tanks in history. It entered service as a heavy tank in 1942, and it was exceptionally advanced for the time, as well as deadly effective. The tank’s powerful gun and thick armour made it an unprecedented threat to both Soviet and Allied tanks. There is also another side to the Tiger, which states that the tank was over-engineered, extremely expensive and time-consuming to both produce and to maintain, and its fuel consumption was monstrous, especially for the crumbling economy of the after-1942 Nazi Germany. It was also designed in accordance with a doctrine of armoured warfare that was already obsolete – it was intended to win by superior firepower and thick armour, while the Soviet tanks, much cheaper and easy to produce in large numbers, were already winning by manoeuvrability, sloped armour and by working in groups. To make things worse, the Tiger was rushed into service without proper quality control and on-site technical support, resulting in many tanks disabled by technical malfunctions or being abandoned after getting stuck because there were no means to haul them out. Still, it was an impressive and fearsome tank, even if its significance has been exaggerated by the Nazi propaganda. One could say that it was a great tank itself, but it required maintenance and logistics on a level its creators were unable to provide.

As for the model, I was initially going to build it in large scale, with tracks of the newer type, but my primary goal was Β to properly model its distinctive overlapping road wheels. This element is often ignored and simplified in the models of the Tiger, and I wanted to get it right. It turned out difficult to do at large scale, but I figured out that I could simply use Technic discs at a smaller one. Since there pieces don’t exist in dark bluish grey colour, I had to settle on next closest to it, that is pearl dark grey.

The model has undergone a rigorous technical control.Β 

After deciding on a small scale, the main challenge was to make the model fully remote controlled despite its very small size; the finished model’s hull was only 20 cm long and it could fit on the palm of my hand. My secondary goal, besides that, was to properly model the shape of the air filters on the rear of the tank, which are half-round but Lego builders often make them all-round or even rectangular. I achieved this by using four 6191 bricks, which was also a challenge as they only appear in dark bluish grey in a single Lego set, one brick per set.

Eventually, the model had to house four motors, two IR receivers, a battery and approximately 2 meters of wire, plus the large Technic turntable which would provide a stable base for the turret while allowing to install a motor in it. I won’t be dwelling on how hard it was, let’s just say that there were times when the functionality of the model depended on whether I can move some element half stud further or not.

The model was quite simple technically. It was driven by two PF Medium motors located in the middle of the hull, which drove rear sprockets with 1:1 gearing (the only ratio possible as there was no space for any large gear wheels). There was a battery in front of the hull, and a third Medium motor next to it, which drove the turret’s turntable through a worm gear. There was a single wire that entered the turret and powered a micromotor installed inside it, which drove another worm gear and thus controlled the elevation of the main gun’s barrel. There was no suspension whatsoever, and the two headlights on top of the hull had Lego LEDs inside them and shutters made of the bases of Lego levers.

The look of the model was not meant to be consistent with one particular of many versions of the Tiger, I just wanted it to be characteristic, which means that it’s close to the tanks from the early production batches. Its side number – 131 – was not random; the 131 Tiger tank can be found in the Bovington Museum in UK, and it’s probably the world’s only Tiger tank in driving condition today.

The model did not look perfectly; the hull was too tall by roughly 3/4 of a stud, and the turret had a gap beneath it to allow the worm gear to mesh with its turntable. This could be avoided if there was enough space in the hull to ‘sink’ the turntable inside it, but there wasn’t. The turret was 9 studs wide, built around a micromotor and held together by its roof rather than by its bottom. Its look was affected by mechanical parts inside it – its front was too tall and its rear end is a little too far to the back. Finally, the main gun’s barrel’s dimensions had to be heavily approximated at this scale – for example, the longest section of it should be 0.75 stud thick while the thickest section should be 1.5 stud thick. There are simply no Lego pieces with such dimensions that would have the required look.

The model was fun to play with, but clearly suffered from small size and low weight. It’s almost my lightest tank model ever, one third lighter than my T-72M tank and almost as light as my very simple Mark I tank – and it has more road wheels than any of those; 24 to be exact, with only 16 visible from the sides. Therefore its traction was poor and it was difficult to drive over my floor, where any unevenness (and there are many) affected its direction. I believe it would perform much better with more weight, stronger chassis and a simple suspension system, as proved by my earlier T-72 tank model, which had exactly the same tracks and propulsion system. This means that this model is probably example of the level of “miniaturization” that is already bad for its functionality.

Work in progress photos:

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Categories: Military Tags: , , , ,
  1. Sariel
    September 18th, 2016 at 09:31 | #1


  2. Sam
    September 18th, 2016 at 07:41 | #2

    are there have any instruction pdf for share…not easy find the brick in hongkong….

  3. Sariel
    June 30th, 2015 at 12:02 | #3

    Sorry, I don’t remember, it’s been 4 years ago.

  4. totopremier
    June 30th, 2015 at 11:58 | #4

    what i mean is the piece directly beside the cannon (a black piece it seams to me, that have a hole or a loop in is bottom) (you probably don’t remember)…. and, if you remember, the way you lock the bottom of the turntable (with the wires, it’s very difficult to find a solid way to attach it).

  5. Sariel
    June 30th, 2015 at 10:31 | #5

    As far as I remember, I have simply used 8t gear.

  6. totopremier
    June 30th, 2015 at 10:10 | #6

    is it possible to know what pieces you use between the worm gear(the one of the micro-motor) and the cannon? i can’t find a good way or pieces to have the same elevation than yours…(the main problem was the odd number and the lack of space).

  7. Sariel
    May 29th, 2015 at 00:05 | #7

    Thanks but even if I made instructions, it would be basically impossible to buy pieces to build this tank.

  8. Joel
    May 28th, 2015 at 19:03 | #8

    Very cool. Great job! Only wished you could and would share instructions. Again, great job building. Keep on building mind blowing creations!

  9. Konrad
    November 27th, 2014 at 14:43 | #9
  10. EV3fan
    April 28th, 2014 at 14:19 | #10

    I built a basic tank with two motors and a nice fullstud black hull yesterday and I’m planning to build one with turret rotation and elevation so I tried to develop some turret rotation systems but they dindn’t work good enough and then i saw yours on one of the “work in progress” pics and its great! I’m gonna rebuild it right now.

  11. Srdjan Grbovic
    October 14th, 2013 at 14:49 | #11

    When it’s done i will send you the link of my MOC Page, i only lack the micro for the gun elevation, but i will make it to be manually elevated, and don’t laugh at my colorful design, because the lack of single color parts is very obvious πŸ˜€

  12. Sariel
    October 14th, 2013 at 09:17 | #12

    @Srdjan Grbovic
    It may not be worth the effort. Suspension at this scale will need to be very small, so it won’t look too impressive when working, and the model can be too light for it to work properly.

  13. Srdjan Grbovic
    October 13th, 2013 at 12:13 | #13

    Well that is logical, but will it improve its ability to traverse minor bumps, to use a pendular design ?

  14. Sariel
    October 13th, 2013 at 00:46 | #14

    @Srdjan Grbovic
    For a tank so light, suspension doesn’t really make sense.

  15. Srdjan Grbovic
    October 12th, 2013 at 22:14 | #15

    Any suggestions on how to make any type of suspension for a Panther tank at the same scale ? Take in to account that its one stud narrower, but 2-3 studs longer than your Tiger. I thought to use : http://www.bricklink.com/search.asp?itemID=1555&colorID=0, but then the wheels won’t rotate, or just to ditch the suspension completely ?
    And a great design as always, you are on of the god of Lego πŸ™‚

  16. Sariel
    July 12th, 2013 at 09:07 | #16

    I don’t know.

  17. nitwity
    July 12th, 2013 at 06:30 | #17

    How many track pieces did you use all together on this tank?

  18. Sariel
    March 30th, 2013 at 23:26 | #18

    I doubt that.

  19. Sami
    March 30th, 2013 at 23:20 | #19

    You’d make a fortune, if you started to selling instructions for these πŸ˜›

  20. Alibi
    January 26th, 2013 at 14:54 | #20

    Wasn’t sure, thanks for the answer. πŸ™‚

  21. Sariel
    January 26th, 2013 at 08:47 | #21

    It’s conventional PF extension wire connected to a regular 9V wire.

  22. Alibi
    January 26th, 2013 at 05:27 | #22

    Hello Sarie, what cable do you use to connect the micro motor to the power functions? It doesn’t seem to look like a conventional pf extension wire( I don’t even think they work).

  23. Sariel
    November 29th, 2012 at 16:19 | #23

    Whichever work better for you. It’s your model, so you will figure it out better than me.

  24. Alibi
  25. Sariel
    November 29th, 2012 at 14:55 | #25

    Use small tracks, then.

  26. Alibi
    November 29th, 2012 at 14:32 | #26

    Hello sariel, I am building a tank myself, I would like to know what kind of tracks should I use? The ones that you used for your tiger tank, some conventional rubber ones or nxt ones? Thank you in advance! The tank would be a medium or heavy one, but I would like to build it at small as possible o match up with the lego figures. ^^

  27. Ben
    April 5th, 2012 at 17:50 | #27

    Thanks from England!

  28. Sariel
    April 5th, 2012 at 15:28 | #28

    Depends on what motors. Two XLs are max, for example.

  29. Ben
    April 5th, 2012 at 15:02 | #29

    awsome tank!
    cant wait to see more! (that is if you are going to build another tank?)

  30. Ben
    April 5th, 2012 at 14:40 | #30

    Hi Sariel,
    sorry if this is a bit off topic but do you know what is the max amount of motors the battery can power?
    awsome build!!!! πŸ™‚
    (sorry if i wasted your time :()

  31. Lutze
    March 5th, 2012 at 13:18 | #31

    Hi Sariel, it’s me again. Something happened with my comments… So, this time I’ll try it without my link. Maybe that was the problem.

    Well done your Tiger! Respect!

    Greetings from Berlin!

  32. Fenris
    January 31st, 2012 at 02:00 | #32

    You’re welcome.

    That’s a pity. Thanks for the reply though.

  33. Sariel
    January 26th, 2012 at 07:56 | #33

    Thanks. I don’t have such plans at the moment.

  34. Fenris
    January 26th, 2012 at 01:41 | #34

    That’s pretty impressive. The details are great, and the compromises you had to do with the proportions to fit the drivetrain aren’t too visible. It’s great seeing proper, overlapping wheels on a LEGO Tiger, or even a Tiger in general.

    Question: Does this mean we can expect to see more WWII german military creations? It’s a very interesting subject, for me and many others, but I would perfectly understand if you don’t want to go there. Few countries suffered more than Poland during the war after all.

  35. Sariel
    January 24th, 2012 at 23:43 | #35

    For each motor, I simply put two single bevel 12 teeth gear wheels into these braces: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=87408
    There are also u-joints between motors and braces, so braces can be lower relatively to the motors.

  36. John
    January 24th, 2012 at 23:40 | #36

    Hi there.

    How did you build the gearing from the motor to the tracks?
    The motors seem to be very low and very tight…

    Best regards- Your biggest fan!

  37. Sariel
    January 23rd, 2012 at 19:32 | #37

    Well, and I meant that I have no instructions, just like for 99% of my MOCs.

  38. Ruud
    January 23rd, 2012 at 18:19 | #38

    Hi Sariel,

    I meant the build instructions πŸ™‚ LDD for instance. Do you have them and are you willing to share or sell them?

    cheers, Ruud

  39. Sariel
    January 22nd, 2012 at 17:25 | #39

    What instructions?

  40. Ruud
    January 22nd, 2012 at 17:22 | #40

    Would you share the instructions?

  41. mindstorm addict
    January 12th, 2012 at 13:34 | #41

    wow, forgotted a word XD

  42. Sariel
    January 10th, 2012 at 13:40 | #42
  43. mindstorm addict
    January 10th, 2012 at 13:30 | #43

    Do you a tank gearbox could be usefull ?

  44. Sariel
    January 4th, 2012 at 13:49 | #44

    Corrected that. Thanks.

  45. qwertyuiop
    January 4th, 2012 at 11:18 | #45

    not to be a pain, but i noticed a small mistake in the paragraph after the photo with lucius. you said you decided on “s small scale” instead of “a small scale”

  46. Sariel
    January 4th, 2012 at 07:10 | #46

    No, no, and no. Micromotor is only good because it’s so small.

  47. jerkerhead
    January 4th, 2012 at 03:37 | #47

    is the micromotor any good when it comes to torque, speed and usefulness. also did you get it recently.

  48. Sariel
    December 30th, 2011 at 18:34 | #48

    These are so-called Technic discs. They are mentioned in the very paragraph you’re referring to.

  49. Tholias
    December 30th, 2011 at 18:08 | #49

    The stubby look does remind me of the look that one of the prototypes for the Tiger had..

    Also.. i couldn’t help a chuckle as i noted your comments on the overlapping wheels, and them often being overlooked, recalling the famous “Ryantigers”, built out of russian tanks..
    Regarding those.. what kind of pieces did you eploy for the wheels? I don’t quite recognize them, and i noted no remark on what it was, in the explanations… Regardless… again.. simply an awesome model… of a rather historic tank.

  50. Sariel
    December 30th, 2011 at 15:58 | #50

    It’s a bit too tall, hence the impression.

  51. Tholias
    December 30th, 2011 at 14:40 | #51

    In one word.. Awesome… The Tiger is my number two favorite WW2 tankl(Number one would be it’s heavier cousin). One minor point though, i get the faint impression it’s a bit too slim compared to it’s length and height?

  52. Sariel
    December 28th, 2011 at 23:42 | #52

    Of course it does. As you can see in the video, I’m rotating the turret three times in one direction and three times in the other – that’s 1080 degrees back and forth.

  53. Patrik
    December 28th, 2011 at 23:17 | #53

    I was wondering for a while if you run the wires through the middle of the turntable, does it allow it to rotate 360 degrees?

  54. magnus
    December 27th, 2011 at 14:20 | #54

    thanks anyway, i understand

  55. Peterx
    December 27th, 2011 at 10:01 | #55

    Ok, thank you, luckily on bricklink they aren’t as expensive as the motor

  56. Sariel
    December 26th, 2011 at 23:29 | #56

    No, but it can be difficult to keep this motor fixed in place without them.

  57. Peterx
    December 26th, 2011 at 23:18 | #57

    Hi Sariel, I have a micromotor but I haven’t the cover and the base, are they indispensable?

  58. Sariel
    December 26th, 2011 at 18:27 | #58

    I have already taken it apart. Besides, it uses plenty of very rare pieces.

  59. Magnus
    December 26th, 2011 at 16:20 | #59

    hi sariel, hope you had a nice christmas and all the best for 2012 but i know you dont like people asking but instructions would be nice. πŸ™‚

  60. TLT803
    December 25th, 2011 at 05:07 | #60

    Maybe its because mine are old.

  61. Sariel
    December 24th, 2011 at 23:27 | #61

    I’m surprised, they never break for me.

  62. TLT803
    December 24th, 2011 at 18:46 | #62

    I think it might be your best tank!

    Every time I try to motorize the small tracks I have trouble because they tend to break, do you have any suggestions?

  63. Sariel
    December 23rd, 2011 at 23:31 | #63

    I can’t, that’s the work of YouTube copyright filters. Should work fine on your PC though.

  64. Ben
    December 23rd, 2011 at 23:16 | #64

    Love the model, cant see the video. I’m on my iPod, and this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this issue. It says the owner hasn’t made it available for viewing from a mobile device- any way you could change that?

  65. Chris
    December 23rd, 2011 at 20:28 | #65

    “The video is not available in your country.” (because of the music) πŸ™

  66. Sariel
    December 23rd, 2011 at 19:33 | #66

    Through a worm gear and 8-tooth gear.

  67. Patrik
    December 23rd, 2011 at 18:40 | #67

    How does the micromotor control the elevation? Can you show the gearing if any?

  68. Carletto
    December 23rd, 2011 at 16:34 | #68

    It’s nice, but .. it’s very small !

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