Terrahawks - Behind The Scenes Special
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In the ground based action zones the small robotic 'Zeroids' provided most of the firepower for the Terrahawks, however when faced with a more powerful opponent they could always call upon the Battletank to provide heavy artillery.

The Battletank was a rather conventional track-based armoured vehicle design, made more visually striking by it's two large robotic 'Megazoid' drivers who sat at the front.

Left: preproduction drawings contain most of the basic ideas but the proportions are different, with a shorter nose and longer rear gun section.

The vehicle was housed in the belly of the Battlehawk and could be dropped into the action when flying at low level, or as the Battlehawk came into land, with the vector jet nozzles on the sides providing enough downward thrust to cushion the impact of hitting the ground.
Below: Designer Steven Begg's concept drawing showing the tank's deployment with the Battlehawk on the ground, which did happen in the series, but is actually impossible on the finished model as there isn't enough clearance for the various flaps to open and for the tank to drive away.
In the earliest episodes the deployment was achieved by actually dropping the small Battletank model out of the biggest Battlehawk and onto the set in one single shot, but this did not look very convincing as the small tank had no movement in it's suspension. They soon stopped attempting that and began cutting from the small model leaving the cargo bay to the large scale model hitting the ground - although with this technique they could not show the whole model as they had to support it from the rear.
Two motorised Battletank models were initially built. The small one that fits inside the Battlehawk was built using the 1/35th scale Tamiya Kampfpanzer Leopard kit. The bigger 20" version (below) was based on the 1/16th Tamiya Leopard A4 radio-controlled kit - which has recently been re-released (without the motors) for around 500!
Above: The large-scale tank with one of the Megazoids removed - smaller versions are on the bonnet. Preproduction drawings show the Megazoids with only one gun each, which was then changed to two for the show. The model kit's motors and gearbox were uprated for use in the series, to give it more power and quicker response when turning - although several technicians have mentioned it was still a problem to get it to work reliably on set.
Above & below: Front and rear views of large model.
Below: The small version had a detailed bottom panel, as this could be seen when dropped from the Battlehawk.
Below: Top view of the large tank model.
Above: A major design element on the top panel is the 'Recovery Bar', used to pick up the tank and haul it back into the tank bay in Battlehawk - see concept design below for detail - yet it was never once featured in the series.
Below: The Recovery Bar in working position, only seen in this publicity photo.
Below: In the episode 'A Christmas Miracle' a new big-scale model was constructed. This varied slightly from the standard design, such as doing away with the recovery bar, but its big feature was replacing one of the Megazoids with a fully articulated cannon.
Below: The two original tanks sitting together in the model store.
Below: Battletank on display at Fanderson convention 1984. Picture Doug Pelton

My thanks to Steven Begg for providing his preproduction artwork for this article.
Thanks also to Philip D Rae and Doug Pelton for the use of their photographs.
Other photographs by Anderson Burr Pictures Ltd.
'Terrahawks' is copyright by Christopher Burr
No infringement of copyright is intended - non-profit fan interest site only.

'Terrahawks' is a Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr Production.

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Article David Sisson 2020

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