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Parts of a tank

If you’re building military models, know your glacis from your extractor
It’s no surprise that tanks from just about all eras are hugely popular modeling subjects. Just look at how many different kits are available. And if you like to build model tanks (or if you just like to look at them), you may have wondered what this or that part is called. Never fear because we’ve got you covered!

Coaxial machine gun: Mounted parallel to the main gun, this is used as an anti-personnel weapon.

Drive sprocket:
Connects the engine via the transmission and drive train. The sprocket on each side can be driven independently, which causes the vehicle to turn. 

Escape hatch: Usually found on the back, bottom, or sides of a tank, this small hatch allows the crew to escape under fire in an emergency.

Fender: Extensions, often thin sheet metal, found over the tracks.

Fume extractor: Prevents poisonous propellant fumes from reaching the fighting compartment.

Glacis plate: Sloped front armor that increases protection against projectiles.

Gun mantlet: The heavily armored gun shield, usually removable with the gun in a single assembly.

Idler: A free-turning wheel at the opposite end of the suspension from the drive sprocket. It can be moved to adjust track tension.

Lifting hooks:
Used to remove the turret for maintenance.

Muzzle brake: Reduces the gun’s recoil and directs most of the blast to the sides, reducing the dust kicked up, which would obscure the gunner’s vision for the next shot.

Periscope: Vision blocks that allow the crew to see outside without opening hatches.

Return rollers: Carry the track above road wheels as it returns from the idler to the drive sprocket.

Road wheels: These free-turning wheels on heavily sprung axles are the most important element of the suspension. They allow the vehicle to move smoothly over terrain.

Smoke launcher:
A short-range mortar used to throw smoke grenades and create a smoke screen.

Towing clevis: Part of the gear used to rig the tank for towing.

If you want to know more about building scale-model tanks, check out Shep Paine’s Armor Modelers Guide from FineScale Modeler.

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