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Motor Rail Simplex 40hp tractor "Tin Turtle" WDLR [MOC]

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Here's the latest addition to my World War 1 War Department Light Railway collection... The Simplex 40hp armoured petrol tractor (A.K.A the "Tin Turtle".)

Following the success of their 20hp petrol engined rail tractor the Motor Rail Company/Simplex began producing a larger 40hp version in 1917. Its increased power allowed it to be fitted with armour plating to protect the vulnerable engine and driver, meaning it could operate much closer to the front lines. There were 3 versions produced and this MOC represents the "Open" version (the least armoured). 

It had curved armour plates at each end as well as an armoured engine cover. A lightweight roof provided protection from the elements.

43764621300_960312a3a4_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

The internal layout was similar to the 20hp version, except the driver now sat in the centre above the engine. To his left is the radiator and to his right is the brake wheel and a 20 gallon petrol tank.

43764620040_c6ebbf2573_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Controls (gear lever, clutch pedal and brake wheel)

30640908607_9070ff324b_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

View showing the armoured engine cover and back of the driver's seat! Some photos show the exhaust pipe coming out of the engine housing and up to a roof mounted silencer but in others (and in videos of restored versions actually running) it doesn't so I've left it out!!

31709778478_cfd109b2b7_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

End view - the gap at the bottom of the armour was to aid ventilation. Like the smaller 20hp version, it can run equally well in either direction.

43764619060_9c7147e1e5_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Years ago I built one of the more heavily armoured versions but it had a number of inaccuracies (mainly in the interior layout) but with better references this time I'm pretty pleased with the results - even if the driver does need his legs amputating to fit in!! I'm currently working on the other 2 more heavily armoured versions (the "Protected" and "Armoured") so watch this space!!

Thanks for looking... comments are always welcome!!

Edited by greg3

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Splendid!! I’m glad your boys have finally got a bit of armour protection.

It’s nice that you’ve modelled the open version because we wouldn’t see the interior details if you’d gone for the full metal jacket. I note your observations regarding the exhaust. I imagine that a lot of these locos would have received various modifications as a result of service experience, some of which would have been more official than others, so I would presume that the roof-mounted silencer would have been added to make them less conspicuous close to the front compared to the unsilenced versions.

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Been a bit busy recently with non-Lego stuff but I've finally got around to MOCing one of the more armoured versions of the Simplex 40hp petrol tractors used in WW1....

The most common Simplex 40hp tractor produced was the "Protected" version. This saw the addition of armoured doors to protect against small arms fire and shrapnel. Armoured visors and sloped side panels also provided added protection to the vision slits. However with the doors closed, ventilation became a problem so large slots were cut into each side. Extra armour was added to protect these openings. All Protected tractors had the exhaust exiting via a roof mounted silencer.

46278840962_7e73bfab10_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Interior layout and controls identical to the "Open" version.

45605789914_f0865fb6ca_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

The armoured doors meant that the engine could be left uncovered to aid maintenance.

46329306171_23f052301c_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

Views showing the exhaust, the extra armour protecting the vision slits and the panels covering the ventilation openings.

46329069341_f256e23d38_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

44512444920_cd4d984061_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

The driver fits in.... just!!

45416603575_bcc448b4da_c.jpgimage by g.nat, on Flickr

As always thanks for looking and watch this space.... more War Department Light Railway builds coming soon!!

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