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Post Info TOPIC: clockwork tank


Legend

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clockwork tank
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Was browsing online for interior photos of rhomboids in connection with a different thread, and came across a picture of a lovely clockwork tank on an auction house website.

The toy was part of an old sale from 2008 (sorry to disappoint!) and is described as being made by a British company in Liverpool circa 1919.

I found the colour interesting; whilst we can only estimate the original colour for tanks, and Lodestar III in Brussels is the best source (allowing for deterioration and dirt), the strong colour this clockwork toy is painted may well be close to the genuine article - especially since it would have been painted shortly after the war, by people who may well have seen real tanks.

Clockwork tank.



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Legend

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Absolutely gorgeous, thanks for posting! The maker's name is on the sponson - Whitanco, about whom we find:

http://www.binnsroad.co.uk/railways/whitanco/index.html

A few notes from Doug Harris, in New Zealand:
'Whitanco' is an abbreviation of the company name Whiteley Tansey & Company Ltd, an English company first registered in 1912 and operating from Beech Street, Liverpool, which means that they must have been operating in proximity to the Hornby/Meccano factory. One of the directors, a Mr Whitely, is believed to have worked for Meccano Ltd as a toolmaker. Whitanco went into receivership in 1921, and ceased trading in 1924.

The same (or another example of the same type) toy tank appears here, with more photos:

http://www.andrewsmithcatalogues.co.uk/catalogues/fa080610/lot0778.html

It appears more yellowy-brown, perhaps due to different lighting conditions during photography.

 

EDIT: It's clearly a different example as it has 'brackets' at the front of the sponsons lacking on the one TinCanTadpole linked to. Judging from the number and position of them, they look like they're for tensioning the metal-link tracks!

As to whether either toy depicts the true colour of tanks, I would exercise extreme caution - they are, after all, toys, not accurate scale models.

Whitanco tank lot0778-0.jpg



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Wednesday 21st of November 2012 01:58:35 PM

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Legend

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A French website has a scan from a book showing the Whitanco tank's box:

Whitanco tank 409747293.jpg

Part way down this page, which has links to photos of numerous other WW1-style toy tanks:

http://desjouetsmilitairesaleveildespetitscommedesgrands.hautetfort.com/archive/2009/12/17/mark-i-et-mark-iv.html

I'm on a roll now! Here's one for sale, 38mins to go! Estimated value $500 to $700.

http://www.timedlive.com/main.php?act=item_info&secid=447145

Some more great photos and information:

We proudly present a very hard to find, scarce model of a WWI Barney E1 army Tank. This wonderful toy tank was made by the Whitely Tansley & Co, in Liverpool, circa 1919. This tank is tan/brown in color with original black metal tracks. There is a clockwork operation with opening hatch to rear to access which shows substantial clockwork motor. This item made by this company is hard to find. Little research is found and few examples of auction sales exist here in the USA. This early tin toy shows age wear, paint missing and some minor oxidation. Tank is also marked made in England. The tank measures 8 inches long, 5.25 inches wide and 3.25 inches tall.

I hope a certain Toy Making Dad is taking note...! wink



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Wednesday 21st of November 2012 02:10:09 PM

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Legend

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Great finds, Roger. My comments on the colour were actually influenced by having looked numerous times at a variety of photos of Lodestar III, and seeing a similar tan in patches of that tank, in certain photos.

Alas, photography has a habit of finding different shades from what the eye sees, and lighting conditions and camera settings can easily come up with greyer/whiter/yellower/lighter/darker versions of the 'actual' colour. There's no alternative but to visit the Royal Army Museum in Brussels at some point, and hope that the lighting is decent on the day (I think there are skylights in that room)...then try to find a clean and unworn patch of paint on the tank!

It's a shame the company that made these clockwork toys went out of business so quickly - who wouldn't want one of these tiny tan tinplate terrors trundling over a toy-scale trench?



-- Edited by TinCanTadpole on Thursday 22nd of November 2012 12:18:23 AM

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Legend

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You'd probably want to take a card with swatches of colour as well (sort of like a pantone chart), so you can be absolutely sure you match it up on the spot, 'in the flesh' as it were - like you say, photos etc. are so dependent on lighting they can be very deceptive.

You're right about Whitanco, such a shame they were only in business a few years, it's a magnificent toy and I for one would certainly love one churning its way over a miniature desk-top trench! I wonder if there would be a market for a modern version, not a direct copy but a clockwork toy in the same style?

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Rob


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Although Lodestar and the Whippet appear to be the only WW1 Tanks in original paint, is it not possible that another Tank has original paint somewhere on it, underneath another more modern coat, or perhaps a small part inaccessible during subsequent repaints? Would be nice to think the answer is out there somewhere

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Legend

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Rob - as far as I understand some of the surviving vehicles retain original paint on the belly plates; out of sight, hence no need to repaint. I think "Grit" in Australia is one example. Could be difficult to check the colour though, you'd need to have a good source of light, perhaps with a "daylight" bulb.

Roger - funny you should mention Pantone, as the same thought struck me last night. Interesting question about a modern version, it would surely need to retain the tinplate charm to appeal to plenty of people - given the popularity of all things 'retro' or 'vintage' (an overused term, that some apply to everything - not knowing that for cars it only applies to a short term from about 1904/05 to 1918/19. All post-1919 old cars are properly termed "classic").

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Rob


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I don't know if anyone can view this, or if you have to be a facebook user, but there's a good photo of Lodestar here, taken with flash, showing a rather tan colour;


http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=290550004398151&set=a.217630268356792.47629.217403635046122&type=1&theater&notif_t=photo_reply

Personally, taking the scale effect into account, i've chosen Humbrol No 26 Khaki as my Rhomboid colour of choice

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Legend

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TinCanTadpole wrote:

Roger - funny you should mention Pantone, as the same thought struck me last night. Interesting question about a modern version, it would surely need to retain the tinplate charm to appeal to plenty of people - given the popularity of all things 'retro' or 'vintage'...


Re: Pantone (and I'm sure there are loads of other standard colour swatch systems, I only mentioned that one because I've heard of it!), you could go to your subject (in this case a tank) and photograph it with the colour chart in view. I suppose all other things being equal, because the lighting would be the same for both the subject and the chart, not only could you 'eyeball' the chart on the spot to match colours, but you could also study them in leisure later in the photograph, because irrespective of how the lighting may have affected the subject's colour, it should have affected the colour chart in the same way. I imagine you'd need the 'texture' (i.e. whether matt, silk or gloss) of the subject and chart to be as similar as possible, but on the whole I imagine that should work.

'Retro' - exactly what I was thinking! You've hit the old nail on the head there. I should think it would not be too complicated to make a tinplate toy tank, lots of flat panels, no compound curves spring to mind (I've seen modern tinplate toy boats made in a retro style and they're rather more complex in form). But it would be very 'niche'. Still, something to ponder (adds to massive pile of projects that will be found still on paper when I'm dead and gone)...



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Legend

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I'm not on facebook but managed to view that alright. It's a good photo, but only goes to show the need to look carefully over the tank for any small patch of clean-ish paint, as the overall effect (which I'd describe not as tan, but perhaps khaki) is of a paint thoroughly coated with a film of dirt and faded to boot.

I'm unsure myself how much of a difference the scale effect makes, as I've only heard of it in passing - it has more relevance to braille-scale than larger models, doesn't it?

I suppose colour-wise it depends how much mud and dirt you want to cover the tank in; under a layer of grime, the base colour becomes less important, with the whole tending towards a darker, greyer, or perhaps faded version of the original. Long term, I'd like to build a radio controlled model in 1/16, and would prefer weathering effects to be as minimal as necessary, as a motorised model large enough for outdoor use can weather itself. From that point of view, an accurate base colour has more relevance.

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Legend

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For a large 1/16 scale model, I doubt scale-effect is terribly relevant, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. You might want to tone down the colours slightly, but when all is said and done there's a lot of subjectivity to this sort of thing.



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Legend

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Rob's correct, it's for the key - below are photos of other examples of the toy in which you can see a hole in the same place, and also that the clockwork motor is on that side of the toy.



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Friday 23rd of November 2012 09:54:13 PM

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Legend

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Coming back to the clockwork tank, has anyone an opinion about the sizable hole in the right sponson shown in the picture my original post linked to? Do you think it was made by the manufacturer, or an owner?

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Rob


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Is it for the key?

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Legend

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I'd wondered about the key, but since the text accompanying the tank said that the back hatch accessed the clockwork motor, I wasn't sure.

Looking at your first pic, Roger, "Barney" looks even more like the Tank Corps badge than a real rhomboid!

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Carl Whiteley

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Hi I'm the grandson of the owner of Whiteley Tansley & Co who manufactured the tank at Beech Street Liverpool in 1919. Yes I do have one along with the instructions but no box I also have the 1921 Company catologue showing the model and what it can do. The prototype of the tank was offered to Mechano but they were not interested but my grandfather was and made the production model tooling.

Regards

Carl



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Alan

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Just to let everyone know, there is an example of one of these Whitanco tanks appearing in our own saleroom on January the 9th. I found all the comments extremely interesting as our saleroom is in the company's home city of Liverpool. Its always gratifying to learn about local manufacturers that have long since fallen by the wayside. Our example is in excellent condition and photos will be on our website the weekend prior to the sale. Please visit theliverpoolsaleroom.co.uk for details.

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sprite

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this tank was mad by my grandfathers toy company around 1919 in beech street factory Liverpool. I have pictures of the Prototype and the instructions how to operate it etc etc etc. Lots of onfo on the solder who made the prototype and how Meccano turned it down before Whiteley Tansley & Co produced it.

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Legend

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Bumped - last three comments held pending with incomplete registration by the looks.

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Facimus et Frangimus


Legend

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I'd not seen those posts before, I hope he comes back, sounds like he has some really interesting information which I'd love him to share!

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tanwhitco@hotmail.co.uk

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Hi if your interested to find out more about the development of the whitanco tank prototype made by Mr Bernard Royal Corps thats why it was named Barney it was his nickname. Carl Whiteley

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Carl Whiteley

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Hi, Yes I could Email to you the pictures and the story of the soldier who made the Prototype if you can Email me. tanwhitco@hotmail.co.uk

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