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Kiwis, tanks and errors oh my!

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:19 am
by Rattus
Hio folks. First post here. I'm a long-standing member of the Command and Conquer modding community. Been interested in firefight for quite a while and got the whole game package a few weeks ago. Anyway, despite the fact I never figured out how to mod Close Combat, I was quite pleased to see Firefight is even easier to add content to than Critical Mass...

So that's exactly what I did. In a way, I just couldn't let the New Zealand faction stand up in the war without it's most notable (and only) home grown 'tank'. To explain it, I think I'll quote another site... ... aland.html
God bless the men in this machine! In 1940 war hysteria gripped New Zealand and an effort was made to produce a home grown tank. It was decided to armor an International Harvester* farm tractor to make use of equipment on hand. The result was an amazing "tank" called a "Bob Semple" after a politician in New Zealand. Bob was a popular, colorful, Labor politician (just like an American Democrat - only worse). Backing this wonderful idea (probably because Bob was) were the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence (who was Bob). Bob must have been impressed by the U.S. Disston "Tractor Tank" and the idea that a tank would actually be named after himself! Bob probably had visions of Semples storming the beaches and taking Berlin or Tokyo! Rube Goldberg himself could not have designed it better. Apart from being just plain ugly to the bone, the front gunner actually had to lay on a mattress on top of the engine in order to fire his weapon! The Semple had a searing top speed of 24 km/h but had to slow down or even stop in order to shift gears. The "tank" was highly unstable in movement and top heavy. The Public Works Department tried to give this "white elephant" to the army and even offered to convert their entire fleet of 81 into Semples (at a cost of only 4200 pounds sterling apiece)! The army took them, tested them, and even paraded them around the country in an effort to whip up morale. After the laughter subsided, and in an rare display of military intelligence, the army returned them (I am sure that they only needed to have knocked on Afganistan's door to find a buyer as Disston did). Only 4 units** were built before public ridicule stopped the production. The Bob Semple was armed with 4 machine guns, it was 12 feet tall had had a crew of 8 men. 8 men? I can understand 5, but 8? 5 were probably soldiers, 1 was a shop steward, another fended off the birds trying to roost, and the last took out the trash once a day and waved to the people. There is a rumor that after the war Bob took a job with Ford and helped to design the Edsel and fuel tanks for the Pinto. He later went to Yugoslavia and influenced the design of the "Yugo" but this is not confirmed. The reported weight was from 20 to 25 tons. The extreme swing in reported weight may have been design differences between all 4 units** produced or incomplete historical data. The production of this tank was not New Zealand's "finest hour".
I disagree with some of the listed 'facts' on the site, but it's a good overview. Most sites list it as having 6 light machine guns, and photos confirm this with an arrangement of 3 in the front hull, one in the turret and two side mounts. Fortunatley, I found some decent referrence material and have the great pleasure to bring you the Bob Semple tank (complete with corregated iron) to Firefight. Some figures I had to fluff with, since some sites disagree on things like off-road speed, and I couldn't find a decent diagram anywhere, yet alone an armor one, so those numbers are intelligent guestimates (not that it matters when the armor is 8 to 13mm in range), but otherwise I tried to make it as accurate as I could. Also made guesses on things like ammo (it lacks it, mostly because I have no clue how they'd fit any inside with 8 (eight!) men.

Save for my obviously wrong scale of course (it should be a fair deal smaller, but hey, at least at this size it's believable that 8 poor souls are inside).



Now while making this I hit a rather nasty snag. It seems the game will have an error if you have a vehicle with more than 6 men inside. The seventh registers random amounts of cannon and bullet ammo, and nobody 'under' him can fire. I don't really understand where this comes from, but I am open to any solutions since I plan more vehicles in the future (one with an 11 man crew). The Semple shouldn't be affected by this too badly, since I made the 7th and 8th man the ones who are unarmed.

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:06 am
by Andy Brown
So how come a guy from Delaware is interested in a kiwi Heath Robinson tank? Why not something Brit or German from WW1?

(Not that I'm complaining, mind. Quite flattered actually. It's just a pity it can't be used in any historically accurate scenario!).


Andy (NZ)

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:56 pm
by Rattus
I just like the way it looks, and I have friends in Auckland. I'm actually probably best versed with Soviet tanks...