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The Cat-tank

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The Crew's primary means of transportation through The Silent World. It has been nicknamed by fans as "Cat Tank", "Catmobile", or even "Cat Bus" (after the Miyazaki character) due to its roughly feline appearance.[1] It is first mentioned in the prologue and officially shown in Chapter 4.

Markup Edit

SelburoseSymbol

SSSS comic's standard symbol

There is a logo painted on the entrance door which combines the selburose-like "six diamonds in a circle, one of them hollow" shape previously seen in various places (from general artwork on the comic's website to lapels on the uniform collars) with having the diamonds coloured so as to represent the flags of the Nordic countries, like in the (five diamonds) logo of the Nordic Council. It is the first sign shown that these two logos are actually related.

Nc

The Nordic Council symbol

Since the cat-tank has been bought as is, with the logo on it, we can rule out the possibility that the logo has been specifically created for the expedition. Its exact meaning remains, however, unknown.

It is also the first identifying mark seen on any vehicle of the year 90; there haven't been any license plates (except on pre-Rash cars), names painted onto ship hulls (apart from the pre-Rash "Viking Line" logo on the Timbercruiser), or registration numbers painted onto the military vehicles so far.

Propulsion and Steering Edit

Chapter4cover

Title page of chapter 4 with a view of the driver's cab (including the center mirror and the sideways version of the SSSS symbol)

The cat-tank stands on four separate tracks. There is a furrow in the hull suggesting that it is composed of a front and a rear part; it is theorized that the halves are connected with a torsion joint to allow all four tracks ground contact while rolling over uneven terrain.

The actual propulsion is done by electricity drawn from a bank of batteries, which in turn get reloaded by a generator driven by a multifuel engine. Suitable fuels mentioned by the author (link to SSSS) seem to only include liquids, "from 'normal' fuels to cooking oils and alcohol." However, the statement goes on to assert that the engine is "built by future-comic-technology logic," so pre-Rash physics might not be entirely applicable.

There is a front hood to house the actual engine, but the cross-section of the cabin doesn't show any reservoir at that height. The outside views do not promise much underfloor or overhead space to store fuel, either. Anyway, Word of God stated that the furnace within the cabin does not double-serve as the multifuel engine, and page 535 (link to SSSS) shows repeated overheating problems / fire under the front hood, which strongly suggests that the combustion engine is located there.

First views of the driver's seat reveal a steering wheel (instead of the double-lever controls typical for tanks and other full-track vehicles), but no gear-shift lever (matching the use of electric motors, which typically do not need a gearbox). Also, the driver's seat seems to actually be an office chair - and still mobile, instead of being firmly attached to the vehicle!

FeaturesEdit

Armament Edit

Most of the vehicle's walls seem to consist of two layers, each several inches thick, of metal, thus forming a lighter version of the armoured hull already seen in the Dalahästen. Note, however, that at least the driver's cab has a windshield - complete with cracks - and sideward doors with windows, and the "office" immediately behind it seems to have a hatch for a "window".

CatTankProxAlarm

As another protection against attacks, the cat-tank possesses some sort of radar or proximity sensor that alerts the crew to approaching objects, as seen on page 224 (link to SSSS).

Lighting and View Edit

Cat-tank-tail

One of the cat-tank's tail lights

The cat-tank has two large, triangular floodlights on top of the diver's cab, providing the "ears" to its cat-like appearance. In addition, there are two normal headlights inset into the grille, and even tail lights on the rear. While the floodlights emit white (link to SSSS) or blueish (link to SSSS) light, the headlights shine red (link to SSSS).

Cat-tank-ex-mirror

Emil about to "remove (link to SSSS)" the right mirror

Up until Emil's gaffe, the cat-tank possessed three mirrors for the driver, two external ones on either side and an inside centre one (visible on the chapter title page). Since there is no line of sight through the cabin beyond the wall separating bunk and storage area, that last mirror and the tail lights are hints that the cat-tank is, despite its unusual appearance, actually a retrofitted pre-Rash vehicle.

MirrorReplaced
On page 233 (link to SSSS), we can see that the right-side mirror that Emil broke has been replaced by a different model - apparently duct-taped to the "stem" left behind.
CatTankTarpsAndTower

Outward Compartments Edit

The cat-tank essentially has a double roof, with special storage compartments about one foot high between them, the whole setup being the most visible on page 279 (link to SSSS) so far. Rolls of tarpaulin ready to form a tent around the vehicle run along the sides, and along the centre, two flaps open upward to allow a folding antenna tower to emerge.

Interior Edit

Cat-tank-cutaway

Cutaway view of the cat-tank

The front part of the hull - housing about one quarter of the passenger cabin - contains the driver's cab (with the driver's seat on the left, and an L-shaped bench accommodating two, maybe three, on the other side of the entrance door) and what appears to be a small control centre. That latter has the vehicle's radio transmitter to the left and a single-seat "office desk" to the right.

On the other side of the hull's furrow, there's the entrance hall with the main door on the vehicle's right (see below, though), storage room (including a water reservoir) against the left wall, and two flat, unidentified devices attached to front and rear wall. The room is used to do decontamination on returning crew members, and a nearby compartment (exact position unknown) with what seems to be UV lamps is used to treat the possibly contaminated outer garments.

Another sliding door opens to a large room with the bunks - only one L-shaped one at knee height and a fold-down single top bunk above it - and a room-height heating device with the appearance of a cylindric iron furnace. Even before Reynirs arrival and Lalli being away on night scout duty, the bunks failed to accommodate all crew members. Lalli seems to prefer to sleep under the lower bunks, though, and Mikkel and Reynir have mattresses to put on the floor, so all six of them are bedded - with Sigrun having taken the top bunk.

Stacked-cats

A stack of cats

The stove is inset into a wall that the author confirmed to be adjustable, so as to change the distribution of space between the bunk room and the last compartment, the storage area. The mechanism to move the wall is attached to the side walls, with one double lever to operate it visible at the rear end of the right-side-mechanism, in the storage room. The stovepipe runs up to and a bit along the ceiling, then vanishes through a languet of ceiling panelling that appears to move together with the dividing wall. Note that there's no end of the pipe to be seen on the exterior.

The storage is accessible through a large door on the vehicle's rear end, but there doesn't seem to be any way to enter it from the bunk room, through the moving wall. The loading door is flanked by two mirrors attached to the inside of the rear wall.

Comparison of Vehicles of the Danish Forces Edit

Apart from the Ratmobile, the Cat-Tank seems to be the smallest vehicle that could be found in the Danish arsenals past and present - which makes sense, given that the expedition had to make do with a minimal budget.

Apart from these two special vehicles, at the time of this writing, we have only the tanks in storage at the Öresundsbro base and the destroyed ones on the battlefields near Kastrup to compare. The battlefields are littered with tracked vehicles that we would classify as a heavy (self propelled) howitzer, sporting a large non-swivelling piece of artillery sitting on an armoured hull without openings. The - supposedly newer - designs at the base include a rather normal, if huge, battle tank (tracks and a turret-mounted cannon) and several vehicles on enormous wheels with rather light roof-mounted weapons and comparatively small side windows in the driver's cab. (It isn't quite discernible whether they have windshields as well.)

Continuity Issues Edit

The half-tracks change between being fully recessed into the hull (e.g., page 191 (link to SSSS)), and partially protruding (e.g., page 189 (link to SSSS)). The chapter 4 title page (link to SSSS) and page 219 (link to SSSS) show an internal mirror, though the vehicle's aisle doesn't go all the way through. The windshield is usually shown to be bifid, except on the title page (link to SSSS) and page 189 (link to SSSS).

Page 220 (link to SSSS) pinpointed that the driver's cab does have outward doors, though it's still unclear how those (and the people getting in and out) avoid hitting the front half-tracks. Page 233 (link to SSSS) shows Sigrun using the half-track as a ladder to get down from the cab, but the door isn't visible in the panel.

On page 267 (link to SSSS), we see most of the team enter the cat-tank through a door on the left, where page 189 (link to SSSS) placed the water reservoir. Subsequently, the normal main door on the right side gets slammed shut. The left-side main door reappears even more clearly on page 279 (link to SSSS), while chapter eight repeatedly shows the right side of the hull with apparently no inset door anymore. Page 443 (link to SSSS) finally clearly shows the entrance to the left, and the right side blocked by closets.

While the antenna's aerial protrudes over the driver's cab on page 186 (link to SSSS), the mostly-erected tower on page 279 (link to SSSS) shows only a short aerial that would retract to the rear end when the tower folds down.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The first appearance (link to SSSS) of the "cat tank". Note the muzzle-like grille and pointed floodlights like ears.

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