The beast waiting to get trackplates and cladding.

The beast waiting to get trackplates and cladding.
foto Marco Magielse

zaterdag 22 december 2012

Some motion becomes visible of the third phase

In the beginning of december the testsetup of the tracks, motor and hydraulic pump has been moved to Vandaele Machinery, Robert and Carl Vandaeles firm, in Oostrozebeke in order to prepare the third phase of building a mobile framework. Dirk and Robert having been further engineering seperately to find out the best solutions. Stijn P. has been getting involved advising on the engineering, having finished his engineering studies and also Stijn B. has shown interest of getting involved in the building where needed and possible. As I have been myself, not able to go to school teaching for almost half a year, due to a annoying physical problem called fistula, there was time to try to get all the noses into the same and hopefully right direction to effectively start this third phase, money being available since last summer. Today, december 22, 2012, the technical team came together and decided all together on some matters how to proceed. We were happy Carl, Roberts son, leading the Vandaele company with his sister, got also involved. Our yellow framework will not be used anymore, will be too difficult and costly to further use it, but we won't get rid of it neither. Might suit other aims in the future. The excavator profiles won't be used also anymore, will take more time and money using them, than producing new ones, because we need much more length. Working hours are much more costly than material. Inspired how to and how not to, this summer, visiting the Warhorse replica in Bovington, we can now proceed and find a local metalconstructor producing the new much stronger framework, that should be able to cross a trench, while Vandaele Machinery will then make this new framework mobile using the hydraulic pump, the 6 cylinder Gardner and the tracks, rollers, idlers and sprockets. Robert would have loved to do it himself, but we have to face reality too and get the most done with our tight budget. Leaving the yellow framework was also difficult, but we have to optimize our efforts and budget in order to be able to realize our final aim. Our aim is having a steerable riding framework on the chains by the beginning of september. After that we stil need to decorate the tank and make the trackplates and fix them to the chains and solve lot's of other "minor" problems, but once we can ride around with this strong framework the most difficult part will be done. This month exactly we can look back on 8 years of struggling, and most of all waiting, but now I'm really looking out to a last a riding "thing". When one of you is around, don't hesitate to contact us and from the autumn on, we might invite you for a ride ;-) Belowa general engineering plan produced by Dirk with advice from Stijn P. and Robert. It contains all the metal parts we will assemble, but also already the decoration plates with the rivet holes to be made which will be placed afterwards. If you pass by, I can show you more details on my laptop, but this will both satisfy and also arouse already a bit your curiousity.
You can click on it to get a bigger image and the final design might still change, but gives an idea how we are gonna proceed. Thanks Robert, Dirk and Stijn P. for all your time on this. No obstruction to pass the word around, mentioning this website off course.

zaterdag 28 juli 2012

Fake and real, new and old

Recently original WWI tankpieces were found in St.-Julien by Stijn Butaye of the Pondfarm ( ) At two consecutive occasions he immediately contacted us to verify if from a tank and possbily from which. But that's another story tahn tankbuilding. But Dirk had the splendid idea to bring this original pieces together with our tankframe. This was a small test to find out if our tankframe was correct, but I did not doubt about this, but always interesting to do. But also to show the Butaye family what they really have been finding. They were amazed to see the pieces on the huge framework and seeing what and where these pieces are exactly on such tank.
But for us of YpresSalientTanks it was most of all thrilling to decorate the nowadays framework with original pieces found in our neighbourhood. It makes us realize more what we are trying to do and gives us the power and motivation to go on.
Not to speak of reading the accounts out of the archives of the tankcommander of which this pieces might be part of, while seeing this pieces live with our own eyes. Someone said : if they could only speak. We are sometimes confronted with people not liking we are trying to reconstruct such a tank, by lack of a real one. Well, you see, we keep on looking for one, but making one is easier, or let's say more chance upon success. We also are active about tanks in the whole Salient and not a very local organisation about a very local tank, as someone once told. When Stijn asked about his first found tanktracks, I immediately suspected of which tank this might have been ..., we are working on different other cases too ! It was David Fletcher himself once stating about the Gorczynskis of the Salient. But when putting this pieces together : fake and real, new and old, the real, old pieces their meaning was very much more enhanced for everyone attending. It convinces me that making such a replica is nevertheless another meaningfull way of commemoration. Someone told me recently seeing our plane-replica and our tank in construction : you are bringing the past to life. He might be very right. But I do know you can not satisfy everyone and there will be always negative comments. One advice : do something yourself and let it be more than following forums, twitter, facebook and think twice before you criticize. Perhaps I should have done it myself also now, but I don't bother anymore. I like what we are doing, incredible friendships are emerging out of it and in the end the purpose was to put our village Poelkapelle back again on the battlefield touristical map, mostly ignored up to now. We see subtle changes, but the original purpose is evoluted to much more than that. Do convince yourself and come over and visit Stijns museum or Poelkapelle. Do however make an appointment before so we can treat you with a special visit. Not convinced :ask others who have been here. But not everyone now at the same time. Still have a tank to make and take care you do not get involved ;-)