Making your own tank
If you are extremely bored like me, you usually find yourself going through ridiculous items on Amazon.com. One specific item caught my mind: the JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank. Looks interesting, and for $19,999.95 (USD), it looks like a steal… until you look at the specific specifications. Only 6 horsepower, and the thing weighs 1100 lbs. It claims that it can go 40 mph, but I really doubt it. It made me wonder though, could (theoretically) I make a tank for less? I gave myself a theoretical budget of $21,194.74 (CAD [as of 25/02/10]), and saw if I couldn’t do better.
First item on the build would be a base for the tank. Rather than creating my own chassis, I decided to instead buy a car. I found a perfect ’90 Honda Civic Si for $500. It weighs only 2291 lbs, and although the engine only produces 108 hp, there’s still a lot of budget to use. Of course, there would be obvious weight reduction (before the armour) and engine tune-up, but those cost nothing. If you are looking for bigger, you can catch a Ford Explorer for not much more, just for example. Any cheap car or pick-up would work, but to lower the price of the armour I’ll be using, I’ll stick with the Civic Si.
Speaking of armour, since I doubt depleted uranium is readily available to the public for a decent price, I’ll take a page out of Marvin Heemeyer’s book and use concrete as armour. Now, this site says that a ballpark figure for concrete is $70 per cubic yard, so I’ll be using that figure. Going by the size of the Civic (156.1″ long, 65.6″ wide and 52.4″ high), and with an armour thickness of two inches, it would theoretically take only $85.39 to fully cover the Civic (probably less even). You would have to have one point of entrance, which could be an improvised sunroof made from plexiglass. A 12″ x 24″ x 2¼” sheet (from three 3/4″ sheets) would cost you $156 as well.
To this point, that’s $741.39, more than 20 thousand dollars under budget. At this point, you can add in the weapons yourself, and if you want, swap in a bigger engine. Would it work? Probably not. But hey, it’s worth a try.
Note: This is a craptacular guide to get what you need for a tank. Don’t blame me for anything. Just saying, for legal purposes (I doubt that’ll ever come up though).