Two tanks and two nations for today! I’ve decided to include the 122TM, there’s not too much going on in terms of historical details, but still it’s a 3D style and there are still some things worth pointing out. The second tank is the Czechoslovak T 27.
Special Guest – 122TM
This style was released in connection with the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox. I have to say, this style looks very nice, it’s just so smooth and clean. The ox shown here captures the Chinese style, while not copying an existing piece of art (as far as I’ve seen).
I just wanted to show this detail to those of you who don’t know – this candle is burning. I’d love to see more small, easy to miss, but fun animated details.
Now it’s time for at least some history. What you see here are the fireworks, a pretty important part of the Chinese New Year, after all it’s one of the most important Chinese holidays, so they’re doing everything to make it look as good as it can be. But let’s focus on the parts that were replaced to get at least some historical facts behind the tank and it’s style.
Both the parts on the sides of the turret and on the turret roof are covered in the base model, so you may not know what’s there. On the sides there are four (2 on each side) anti-tank rocket launchers, on the roof – two KPV machine guns (or maybe the Type 58, a Chinese copy of the Russian ZPU-2 set, consisting of two KPVs). Are they historical? Is the tank even historical? TL;DR: yes, at least kinda. If you want the more elaborated answer, the next paragraph is for you!
The tank we’re talking about is known by several names, you can see it being mentioned as “122”, “Project 122” or “WZ-122”. So where did the name “122TM” came from and were the additional parts on the real tank? Well, there were 3 prototypes of this tank (before the project was reactivated as the 1224): WZ-122-1, also known as the “triple-hydro” (hydraulic transmission, hydropneumatic suspension and hydro-assistive control), armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun; WZ-122-2 “triple-mechanical”, a similar, but simplified and more traditional variant with a different 120 mm gun; WZ-122-3, or “the 704 tank”, an improved WZ-122-2 with a semi-autoloader. You may have already noticed what happened with the name – it’s just “122” (the correct name, WZ-122 is incorrect, as it was given to the fifth iteration of the 122 project, which became the Type 80 MBT) with “TM” for “triple-mechanical” added, so it’s just a second variant of the 122. The rocket launchers and machine guns were not present on this prototype, but they were featured on both the first and the third versions, so they included that, possibly just because they look cool. In the picture below you can see the first prototype of the 122/WZ-122-1/122 triple-hydro/122TH/whateveryouwantittobecalled with the mentioned parts added. Also replacing the rocket launchers with fireworks? A clever idea for a style.
Jan Žižka – Škoda T 27
This stlye is named after Jan Žižka, a Czech medieval national hero. There are some references to him, so we’ll surely talk about him more later.
I like this detail as it’s something that happened from time to time in reality, especially on T-34s. Due to the very long production and multiple versions being introduced sometimes new parts used to repair an old tank were very different than the original ones. There were at least 5 different models of wheels made for T-34s, from early solid dished ones to late starfish ones, similar to the T-55 road wheels. I guess something similar happened here, as long as the wheel dimensions are the same it would work. Russians did it even with larger wheels, here you can see a T-34-85 with two different variants of road wheels made for T-34s… And a Panther wheel because why not? You can see that the track is bulged over that wheel as it’s just bigger and that configuration was prone to damage, but it still worked for a short distance.
Multiple details here, so from left to right: a mace, a medieval weapon often seen on the portraits of Jan Žižka; a decorative steel beer stein, beer is a VERY popular beverage in Czechia, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, so there’s that; the Bock, a type of bagpipe, an instrument used in the region for centuries, now mainly played in the Czech Republic.
A Russian wooden ammo crate like we’ve seen before, but this time it has no lid so the metal ammo cans inside are visible. The ones pictured here contain 14,5 mm ammunition for the KPV machine gun, the weapon is not present on the tank, but it was used in Czechoslovakia.
It wouldn’t be a Czechoslovak style without the national motto – “Pravda vítězí” (“Truth prevails”). This time it’s shown together with the Bohemian Lion, present on the greater and lesser coat of arms of the Czech Republic, coat of arms of Bohemia and every version of the coat of arms of Czechoslovakia.
A chalice, you may think it’s a strange emblem, but it’s an another reference to Jan Žižka, who as also known as “Žižka of the Chalice”. The only reward for his service he ever received or claimed was a castle near Litoměřice. He gave it a bliblical name of Kalich (English: Chalice) and that’s where this name came from. He did not captured any more properties for himself after that.
Now it’s time for some more modern weapons – this is the Sa vz. 61 Škorpion SMG, a very compact Czechoslovak firearm from the early ’60s, ideal for the vehicle crews. I’m a little biased towards this weapon, as it reminds me of my spring-powered ASG Škorpion, the first ASG weapon that I had the opportunity to play with that wasn’t made of the cheapest plastic possible.
Another weapon made in Czechoslovakia – the vz. 52 self-loading rifle with a very characteristic integral folding bayonet.
Now that’s a weapon that gave me nightmares. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks if not months trying to figure out what it is, besides the fact that it looks a little bit similar to the Polsten (you may remember that autocannon, it’s a Polish/British/Czech modification of the Oerlikon) and that the Oerlikon magazine is used here. I contacted Jonathan Ferguson, Keeper of Firearms & Artillery at the Royal Armouries in Leeds (you may know him from the Royal Armouries Youtube channel or the series “Experts React” on GameSpot channel – if you don’t and you like what I’m doing here, definitely check it out, you won’t regret it!). Anyway here’s what he said about this strange gun:
You’re right that it must be Polsten (more than Oerlikon, I think?) inspired, and it could be some unknown Czech derivative of one of those two designs that the devs/artists have found, but if it is, I’ve never heard of it […]. Those tiny cooling holes don’t make much sense, and there isn’t room inside the barrel casing for the massive coil springs of the Oerlikon/Polsten. It doesn’t look like it could actually work, basically.
So yeah… The T 27 is already quite questionable in terms of it being a historical design, as it’s basically an enlarged T 17 light tank project. I guess that this tank was created by WG designers as an answer to the question “What if the T 17 evolved into something bigger?”, that scenario never happened, but it could easily happen given the right circumstances. This autocannon probably was created in a similar way, it’s a result of a scenario in which the Polsten evolved even more (after all the Czech engineers worked on Polsten, so it feels more like a natural development), but the artist took some liberties and made the autocannon unusable. Nonetheless thank you very much Jonathan, your help was really appreciated!
Wow, that was a lot longer than I expected. There are two more tanks left and I hope that I’ll be able to make posts about them before the end of the week, but I’m moving out on Friday, so there may be a little delay.