WWII Combat Engineering Vehicle of Britain's 79th Armored Division.
About this creation
The Centaur Bulldozer was one of the many specialist combat engineering vehicles constructed and used during WWII by the British 79th Armored Division (Hobart's Funnies) to aid the Allies in a variety of technical tasks. Repurposing the chassis of the common British Cromwell tank, the Dozer was meant to be a replacement for the slow armored D9 civilian bulldozers used in the landing at Normandy which had cleared pathways and defenses for troops and vehicles to move through on the beaches. The Centaur Dozer filled the need of a fast, well-armored bulldozer vehicle that could keep up with accompanying armored forces as they advanced through Europe; though it came into use late in the war. Only a force of about 250 Dozers was made, with most of them being issued to forces in Belgium during the latter part of 1944. The Dozer, however, continued to be used by the British well into the Korean War, and even up to the Suez Crisis in 1956.
The Centaur Dozer was essentially a British Cromwell tank with its turret removed and a simple winch-operated bulldozer blade attached at the front. The Dozer could reach the Cromwell tank's high speed of 40 MPH, the fastest speed that could be reached by a fighting tank during WWII. It was not equipped with any weapons. Currently, only a few Centaur Dozers still exist, with one in a museum collection at the Bovington Tank Museum while another one is in the hands of a private collector.
School was the main catalyst in making me build this one. Building accurate representations of existing things is always a b****. Due to my limited number of bricks, tank treads, and large tread wheels, as well as the proportion restrictions imposed in building an accurate Dozer, I had to actually use my brain in building this MOC by coming up with unorthodox building techniques to achieve some of the features and looks of the Dozer. In addition, I also had to take some "artistic liberties" with building the model, so it's not a 100% to-the-last-detail, awesome representation of the Dozer. I based a lot of my model off of hobby model kits built by model builders on the Web, because detailed pictures of the actual Dozer were rare and hard-to-find. Despite the manic frustrations in constructing this thing, I think I've at least managed to capture the essence of the tank's look. Hope you enjoy whatever's left of that essence.
Good ol' Wikipedia picture of the tank. This Centaur was a bit weird because it appeared to use a pneumatically-operated bulldozer blade unlike the conventional winch-operated blade. Nevertheless, the side profile of this baby helped give me a good idea of what size the LEGO model would be like. Unfortunately, I don't think I managed the proportions of the model too well in the end.
A pic of a winch Dozer. This one gave me a better idea of what the front would look like.
A pic of the Cromwell tank, whose chassis would be the basis for the Dozer's construction.
And now, the LEGO Dozer itself! I even tried to make my photography look nice using a setup gig with the minifigs! !!!
This model was all constructed within one night. The nights before were spent on time-consuming experimention on how to make the base of the chassis perfect. Lesson to take away: NEVER DO AN ALL-NIGHTER ON A MOC. IT'S NOT WORTH IT. IT'S A TRAP.
The winch blade can't go all the way down. Oh well. And yes, I did use two "stud"-wires for the winch cable instead of using actual string. It was easier to build that way. Plus, I wanted my model to be a 100% LEGO model like I told my teacher; no modded parts, including string (After all, this was for a school grade).
THAT'S RIGHT. The front of the tank has the under-slope of the Cromwell without using the ordinary LEGO under-slope bricks. Using regular bricks would have made the front look really clunky and un-Dozer-like. Alas, I couldn't figure out how to attach the driver's frontal hatch so that it would actually open and work. *sigh* And yes, I know the slopes at the upper-left and right of the pics are slanted. I don't have enough of the clicky screen panels that would have done the job better, so I went with the ghetto option and used bricks instead of the panels. *thumbs up*
At the top of this tank's butt is its exhaust vent. Having an exhaust vent is kinda weird in a world of tanks having exhaust pipes, but that's just the way it was with the Centaur. Also note the chain link attachments at the bottom. Technically, the front of the Dozer also has these attachments, but if I tried it at the front it would screw up my hard-worked frontal build. Excuses, excuses...
I need more big wheels.
Alternate Christie suspension; either the mark of a LEGO-building genius, or a janky builder who has a poor amount of bricks. I had to make my own compact design in order to fit the 10 main wheels on my Centaur's small chassis base, as well as to keep the distinctive look of the Centaur's wheels taking up the entire space of the treads. Soon after constructing this, I saw a Challenger tank that had a design that I could have used, the only problem being that I couldn't figure it out...
Despite the fragility of my Christie construction (if you press down on the tank, the wheels just break off), it still does work. And yes, it can roll. *Note the word: "can".
Three opening hatches, just like on the real Dozer. I think.
And yes, it does actually fit minifigs. (That's kinda the whole point, isn't it?)
The brown logs you see are supposed to be seat cushions.
Bumper bricks. You've gotta love them. And yes, there really isn't much of an interior, but as long as the History teacher doesn't know that, then everything's fine. Yes, I know, I used SW wire tiles, don't stone me yet.
The distracting stud plate you see jutting out from the wall is only there to provide a place where one of the door hatches can be attached. It's not in the actual Dozer tank. But the raise in the floor of the tank before the engine IS supposed to be there. I think.
I had no idea what the engine of the Cromwell tank was supposed to look like. I only know that it was 12-cylinder. So to counter this setback, I used a very sketchy wire diagram of the Cromwell's side to improvise an engine compartment. Yeah.
My Dozer is way too short, fat, and tall compared to the real thing. Heck, I'm so brick-strapped that I don't even have enough of the 3x3 plates that would have made the side-attachments for the bulldozer blade look 200 times better (Or for that matter, tiles to make the thing studless)!
Oh yeah, you didn't see this coming, did you? Bruce Lee will totally take you by surprise even after he's dead. That's how awesome he is. He's so awesome, he makes this entire page better. :) lol
You have really captured the feel of it.
(Technically the Centaur wasn't as fast as the Cromwell because the Centaur used the Liberty engine rather than the more powerful RR Meteor but the reduced weight because of a lack of turret must have helped)
Wow, only two comments! Maybe because it isnt that well known, but that makes it way more original. The only bad thing about this its height and length, like you said. Don't even worry about suspension, what it indicates is a matter of philosophy. I know what your talking about though, on my Tiger V2 the wheels break off any time its not sitting on flat ground (and sometimes even then!) Oh, and you did a great job on your engineers, I love them! =)
PS, totaly didn't see Bruce Lee comming!