Origins

In 2007, a new rule was added to the extensive list that governs Oklahoma D-Day. It was the use of Command Cars within the game. The concept was to allow mobile vehicles for some of the key leaders on each side. They didn’t have kill plates and were completely open. Basically any shot from an antitank launcher could take it out and the commander inside was subject to normal fire. Of course Spartacus capitalized on the concept and found a 1991 Geo Tracker 4×4 near the field for only $300. Cosmetically, it was pretty torn up, but mechanically, it was in top notch shape. A few rattle cans of flat Camouflage Rustoleum and a cool rain template that WickedKlown2 cut out and presto, instant Command Car in German Splinter B rain pattern.

Seeing the usefulness and versatility of Geo Tracker as a Command Car, Spartacus looked for another. He really didn’t need look that far because Dewayne Convirs, the owner of D-Day Adventure Park had a broken down one in his barn. It had front end damage, a broken radiator, a burned out fuel pump, a dead battery and four dry rotted tires. As we’d find out later, it also had a red hornets nest in the dash board. Dewayne gave Spartacus the car outright for all the work that he and Buckshot did for him on www.ddayadventurepark.com.

Command cars were only the start. Spartacus was on a mission to build a much larger armor force for the Wehrmact of Oklahoma D-Day. With any such endeavor, a cool naming convention was a must. It was settled that all new tanks would be named after a Rob Zombie album or song. It wasn’t very German, but it had definite merit. MOUTH, the former referee coordinator at D-Day, purchased a tank from Bill Bailey and dubbed it Hellbilly. Spartacus’ Command Car became the Sinister Urge and this other Tracker would be christened… The Grindhouse.

Photos: A look at the building of The Grindhouse.

However, the hope of getting the Grindhouse into D-Day 2007 quickly diminished because the repairs were just too extensive to be done before the game at the field. The idea was shelved until the fall and handed off to Buckshot. Heading back down to Oklahoma for D-Day Adventure Park’s Red Dawn game seemed like an opportunity to tow the Tracker up to Chicago. It was pulled out of the barn, a tow bar added to the front, some green slime injected in the tires and it was ready for the 500 mile drive. Just a couple of hours into the journey, outside of Springfield, MO, a catastrophe almost happened when a loose bolt fell out of the tow bar and the Tracker was just about sent free at 70 MPH. A quick stop at Wal-Mart and all was fixed. The rest of the journey was almost uneventful… except when the Tracker somehow jumped into gear two blocks from Buckshot’s house outside of Chicago. The end result was a shattered transmission which became one more line item on the long list of repairs. So 500 miles later and seeing how it was late fall, the Tracker slept in Buckshot’s Garage for a few months until a new / used transmission could be located.

The first order of business to bring the Tracker back to life was dropping the fuel tank and installing a new pump. Once that was done a new battery was added and with some coaxing from some starting fluid she cranked right up. Sometime in late February, a transmission was located on eBay on the South Side of Chicago. The bid for $100 passed and Buckshot goes to pick it up. A little coercion and Spartacus and Buckshot installed the new tranny with only one torn pectoral muscle and some skin scrapped off of a knuckle. A quick bracket welded to the frame and a used radiator; she was mechanically “sound”… well, let’s just say she ran. We felt a lot had to do with the steady stream of Rob Zombie tunes we fed her while working.

The Build
With a running vehicle, the fun part began. First up, chop it and make it look like it was from the WII era and of German descent… Some precision surgery with a Sawzall and she was chopped down a bit lower. As it was mentioned before the front was a bit mangled from a front end collision. To make an air through grill, the mesh from some old Compaq Server racks were cut and bent into place. Some angle and straight iron and it had its WWII-ish look. Other scraps of metal from what ever else could be found went to build the rest of the frame. Sheet metal and a generous coating of Bondo filled in the rest.

Although we wanted to keep a tank or armored car feeling, it was extremely important to maintain visibility… that is if you want to spend more time in the game rather than the dead zone. Several consultations with Zeke, one of the foremost authorities in tank busting, pushed the design from small square portals to larger screened frames. We get more mist from paint, but we see EVERYTHING.

Being one of the most important aspects of tank, a lot of time was spent building the turret. Looking through the various different armored vehicles, the German SDKFZ 222 with its flip top grenade cage seemed like the best and easiest one to duplicate. Rather than try to fabricate a circle and bearings of the turret, the best choice and most popular among Paintball Tankers, was using a pallet carousel. It’s all metal and can be welded directly to it. Another concept we used (which was adopted from the Blackheart’s tank) was suspending the gunner’s seat directly from the turret ring. So that nothing would bind up in the turret, a rack was fabricated to hold our fireman’s 4500 psi SCBA bottle and another beneath the gunner to hold the turret motor batteries.

The turret evolved and in 2009, a motor was added to automatically spin it so the gunner could concentrate in mowing down crunchies. With some basic wiring, two 12v marine batteries, a few relays and a really cool gunship cyclic from a Huey that WickedKlown had procured, she spins with ease. Basically the cyclic, which is mounted directly to the Gatling, controls everything.

The interior was gutted, primed and painted with several coats of sand colored enamel Rustoleum for easy clean up. Splathappy somehow scored a bunch of aluminum diamond plate and donated it to the cause. It fit perfectly for the driver and passenger’s sides as well as the gunner’s platform. The seats were found at Murray’s Discount Auto on clearance for only $15 each (considering Buckshot lit the original seats on fire while welding).

Since the tank was originally being built to be fielded at D-Day first, a Normandy camouflage pattern was painted on it. Later, after getting a great sponsorship from Full Clip, it was converted to a dessert motif to match the Multicam patter the team was getting. The stencils were the work of D-Mac and his awesome graphic skills. He also has access to raw stick on vinyl and a cutter to use as stencils. It’s amazing what a steak and eggs breakfast will buy. Looking at the various options for tires and rims, we found out that it had the same lug pattern as a WWII Jeep. A quick call to Dewayne Convirs yielded a full set of 151 Jeep Tires and rims – for free. He even pulled them off of his own personal Jeep. Guess he liked the web site.

The build process was done on and off over the course of a couple years. As we fielded it and found out what worked and what didn’t, it was tweaked. It’s an ongoing process and the LSV2 is ever evolving.

Videos: An interview of Buckshot by Traumahead Sportz and a team-produced propaganda video taken at Living Legends 2.

 

Specifications of Hellions Light Strike Vehicle 2 – Grindhouse

Base: 1994 Geo Tracker
Passengers: 3 (Driver/Tank Commander, Passenger / Spotter, Turret Gunner)
Construction: MIG Welded Steal Frame
Tires: Bidirectional Firestone
Turret: 24v Motorized Turret with Grenade Cage
Total Onboard Paint Storage: 24,000 RNDS
Total Onboard Air Capacity: 2350 CI @ 4500 PSI
Side Ammo Cans: Paintball Storage / Pods
Rear Ammo Cans: Cold Storage / Coolers

Commo:

50w Kenwood Dualband
Dual High Gain VHF/UHF Military Antennas
Bluetooth Intercom System

Entertainment:

Base System: Panasonic CF-18 Toughbook Tablet with Riderunner front end software.

Booster: 2000 Watt Amplifier
Exterior: 2×500 Watt outdoor / marine speakers
Interior: 2×300 Watt boom box speakers
Interior: 1×500 Watt Subwoofer
Most Frequently Song Played: Pantera – Walk
Most Frequently Movie Watched: Apocalypse Now (Redux)
Most Requested Song: Ride of the Valkyries (Die Walküre by Richard Wagner.)

Weapon Systems:

Main Gun: M151 Gatling System partly fabricated by Engler Custom. Variable rate of fire up to 35 BPS.
Anti Tank Weapon: Metadyne Breach Loaded Havoc
Turret Air Source: Fireman’s 45 minute SCBA Bottle from Texas Air Solutions
Inside Air Source: Fireman’s 30 minute SCBA Bottle from Texas Air Solutions
Backup Air Source: Dual Cascaded SCUBA Bottles
Driver Marker: Tippmann X7 Phenom
Passenger Marker: Tippmann X7 Phenom

Sponsors:

CPX Sports
Tippmann Sports
Full Clip
Metadyne Industries
Texas Air Solutions
Engler Custom Paintball Guns

Planned upgrades:

  • Gattling gun reliability
  • Dashboard
  • Smoke screen
  • Tires


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