Half-Track Motorcycle . Is it a tank? Is it a motorcycle? Whatever it is, it's giving Indy some serious trouble! . My quest for finding quirky, obscure vehicles and machinery that would be perfect for an Indiana Jones setting is a never ending one. I'm always on the lookout for strange contraptions, and I found the Half-Track Motorcyle, or Kettenrad in German, more or less by accident while randomly browsing the interwebz.
The Kettenrad was a small vehicle developed in 1941 for the German Army and Luftwaffe airborne units as a light utility tractor, mostly used for towing the Pak 35/36 anti-aircraft gun. The HK101 system was designed for one driver, positioned in a well just between the two tracks and the engine placed squarely behind him. Two passengers could be carried on the removable rear seat port or resupply items could be carried instead. Upon incurring huge losses on the island of Crete, the Luftwaffe troops now found themselves fighting as a regular army, with little use for their light artillery/ Thusly, the Kettenrad lost its primary role of transporting artillery for the paratroopers and was now instead relegated to be used strictly as a supply tractor.The towing capacity was limited to around 1000 lbs, but the little system could navigate mud, rock, snow and sand in areas where larger machines could not. Few Kettenrads were eventually built, and most were held in reserve for the most difficult of resupply missions.
Now, what interested me the most in the Kettenrad was the fact that it pretty much looked like a crossbreed between a motorcycle and a small tank, while remaining extremely versatile in purpose, making it a pretty cool potential vehicle for an Indiana Jones adventure. The building of the Lego version of the Kettenrad went relatively smooth, mostly because of its small size. However, the size also became somewhat of a handicap as I didn't have a lot of space to work with while trying to keep the dimensions of the machine as close to the real thing as possible.
When I began building the Kettenrad, I already had a design in my mind which featured, simply put, one of the bikes from the Motorcycle Chase set with a frame around it on which I could mount the half-track wheels. After an long battle I finally managed to get the hight measurements of the bike and the frame at the right hight so the wheels could all touch the ground properly, even while shackled in the tracks that I stole from the Hailfire Droid set. After that, the rest was pretty easy. I finished the frame, made some space for a backseat driver, or gunner in this case. In the end, I had no choice but to take some liberties with the dimensions from a practical point of view, but I was still very happy with how it turned out.
When the motorcycle itself was finished, I left it alone for a little while, while I contemplated what to do with it next. During research I found that Kettenrads were mainly used as tractor vehicles for pulling anti-aircraft guns, so I decided to make one of those as well. This turned out to be a real pain in the ass though; with the diagonal winged shield and the pulley bars being the hardest parts to complete. All in all I think I spent about twice as much time on the gun than I did on the Kettenrad itself. Well worth it though, as I think it completes the Half-Track Motorcycle perfectly :)
Damn those backseat drivers!
Aaaaand back to the front again!
What you looking at?
Yet another angled front view, this time with anti-aircraft gun in the background!
Tractor capacity galore!
Say "hi" to my little friend!
Or "bye" in your case, Dr. Jones! (feel free to insert maniacal German laughter here)
Why do I always have to drag this thing uphill?
Let's see... This goes here...
Oh noes! Dr. Jones' horse changed into a motorcycle with a hot chick! (don't ask me how that happened)
Putting the RAM in Rambo!
Hmm, this wasn't supposed to happen, was it? (insert girly scream; from the girl, not from Indy. Indy would never scream like a girl. Unless there were snakes involved, which there are clearly not.)
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A few loose bricks