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June 3, 2009 > Tanks battle in nearby park

Tanks battle in nearby park

By Marty Friedman

World War II is not yet over. West Ridge Park in Fremont became the battleground for tanks like the mighty German Tiger 1 warring against the famed American Sherman on Memorial Day weekend.

Reproduced with absolute realism, these radio-controlled, computerized, scale-model tanks take you back to a time when our nation was fighting for its life.

Full of sound and fury
No, that's not an actual tank revving its engines or the sound of real cannons and machine guns firing away. They're the sounds of the Tiger 1 tank model that dominated the action in West Ridge Park. Easily moving forward or reverse and "spinning" to change direction, this model's 88mm has a strobe unit to simulate the intensity of a muzzle flash, along with actual smoke discharges.

Still not realistic enough for you?
Thanks to its onboard computer recording actual hits and tank "damage," the German Tiger 1 can be hit nine times before it's knocked out of the action. The Sherman can take only six hits, but it can fire almost twice as fast as the Tiger 1 tank. (Competitions usually last 10 to 15 minutes.)

The odd ball behind the Odd Balls R/C Tank Club
Like so many of the guys and gals who are into radio-controlled model tanks, Dan Rygasewicz is "on fire" for the on-site combat of the club he helped found: Odd Balls R/C Tank Club. Just be warned, once Rygasewicz starts talking about the passion of his life, this personable, middle-aged man never stops talking about radio-controlled tanks.

Did you miss the combat?
Come cheer on Rygasewicz and the other nine members of the club this Labor Day weekend at the Marriot game convention. All activities are free to the public.

Sorry, reliving WWII is not inexpensive
If you just want a model that you can simply drive through a timed obstacle course, you can spend less than $100. If you want to get into combat big time, the basic kit will set you back $600 - and that doesn't include the radio controls and the charger. The complete setup will cost you over $1,000.

Naval battles broke out in San Mateo
Haven't had your fill yet of the big war? Rygasewicz helped launch radio- controlled combat boats, as well. Firing ball bearings, these exact models of battle ships like the Japanese Yamato, the USS Iowa, and the German Bismarck fought a great sea battle in the San Mateo Maker Faire Bay Area. It is the largest fair dedicated to do-it-yourself technology.

You can reach the Odd Balls R/C Tank Club at www.oddballstankgroup.com

Join up, patriot. Your country needs you.

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