Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Is it me … or do they look very similar?

I had to visit the bank this morning, and on the way back to he car I happened to pass a branch of MODELZONE … as a result of which I bought some more kits for my ‘Nostalgia’ project.

One of the kits was of the AIRFIX Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI. Whilst unpacking my latest acquisitions, I put the box on my modelling table next to a book about modern armour. The book just happened to be open at the section that covers modern German armour, and I noticed that the German Wiesel 1 airportable armoured vehicle seems to bear a passing resemblance to the Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI.

The Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI.

The Wiesel 1 Airportable Armoured Vehicle.
The Vickers Light Tank is longer (4.04m vs. 3.26m), wider (2.08m vs. 1.8m), higher (2.26m vs. 1.9m), and heavier (5.2 tons vs. 2.8 tons); the Wiesel 1 is faster (85 km/h vs. 54 km/h), has a longer range (300 km vs. 200km), and is better armed (20mm cannon vs. 12.7mm or 15mm machine gun).

Now I know that when Northrop began design work on the B-2 bomber, they were able to draw on earlier designs such as the Northrop XB-35, YB-35 and YB-49. They also looked at the Horten Ho229 jet fighter that is in storage at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I wonder … did any of the Wiesel 1’s designers at Porsche ever get any inspiration from looking at a picture of a Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI?

We shall probably never know … but it is an interesting question nonetheless.


  1. It always happens to me, too!

    I need to visit the bank, one block away from our apartment, and on my way back I happened to drive past the hobby store, 20 miles west...

    Here's where the old trick "honey, I just stop by at the gas station and got a full tank for the car" kicks in. Unless wife keeps tab on mileage, it's "don't ask don't tell" policy at its finest...

  2. Adik,

    Men do sometimes give some lame excuses to their wives for their behaviour, don’t they!

    One time a couple of years ago I would have loved to have been a ‘fly on the wall’ to a conversation between a husband and wife that probably arose from the Airsoft session at COW.

    A group of us had just finished a ‘game’ (I think it was an ambush by two players on the rest of the participants) on private land belonging to Knuston Hall. We were standing around in full camo and were ‘tooled up’ with a variety of Airsoft weapons including H&K MP5s, H&K G36Cs, and AK47s. All of a sudden a man appeared with his dog (technically he was trespassing, but we later found out that loads of locals walked their dogs on this piece of land), and was greeted by one and all with a ‘Good Morning; nice dog’ as he walked past. He stared at us with a look of incredulity on his face, replied ‘Good Morning’, and went on his way.

    We all reckon that when he got home he told his wife what he had seen – ‘Guess what I saw whilst I was out; a load of armed men with machine guns up in the field’ – and was probably promptly accused of having been in the pub for an hour rather than walking his dog!

    The truth is not always believable, is it?

    All the best,


  3. Hi Bob

    Tentatively, my best guess is they started with a Marder, then cast around looking at earlier years light tanks, including other nations.

    At a stretch I can even see a Bren carrier in it.

    But it's like modern cars, start with similar design parameters at different brands and the end products are horribly similar!

    Whew, I am spared the wife though and need no excuse.


  4. They do, indeed, look very similar as regards the configuration of the wheels and hull.
    But what struck me was the price - £5.99 for a 1/72nd Airfix tank! I can remember when such things were only two bob! [that's 10p to today's young whippersnappers] And you could get 48 OO/HO Airfix ACW infantry for the same price...

  5. Arthur,

    I suspect that you are right; they are similar designs for similar purposes.

    The variants of the Wiesel have, however, given me some ideas for my 'Nostalgia' project.

    All the best,


  6. Arthur1815,

    It is nice to remember the good old days when it was possible to buy a shedload of tanks and figures for next to nothing. If only we had known then what we know now we could have bought even more stuff whilst it was cheap!

    Isn't life a b***h!

    All the best,



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