Maklarr4000's blog

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

A brochure picked up on a family trip to Michigan in 2007 from the "Weird Michigan Wax Museum" in St. Ignace, Michigan.

Alas, I couldn't find much more about this attraction than what you see here. According to THIS site, the place closed down sometime in 2011, and there's only a couple old Google reviews that don't tell too much about it. It seems all that's left of the place are a couple digital clippings, and this brochure.

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Today's subject is a Bedford Pennsylvania Tourist Bureau classic, their bright neon brochures for "Gravity Hill", a free attraction on a rural road. It's a rather clever way to draw tourists off the main roads and off towards the hobby farms and other small-town attractions in Bedford county. I would expect the same brochures are still in use today.

The hill does have it's own website now HERE and the hill has a TripAdvisor page HERE

I've been to this one, and it's one of the hundreds of roads out there that due to terrain and vegetation, it appears that things like water or round items roll "uphill" in a rather clever optical illusion. There are a few roads like this in every state, though very few are as well advertised as this particular stretch of road in rural Pennsylvania.

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Today's subject is the Thrasher Carriage Museum, a "hidden gem" in Frostburg Maryland, featuring horse drawn carriages of a variety of ages, sizes, and uses. Their website is HERE. Their TripAdvisor is HERE.

I actually visited this museum in 2005. It's located at the end of the train line for a scenic railway, and it's one of only a handful of things to do within walking distance. It's a nice little place, and it's well signed with information so anyone can understand and enjoy the exhibits for their historical value without needing to know much of anything going into it. I recommend it if you're in the area! 

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Todays entry is the Spook Cave Campground, a boat tour of a cave and a campground. The brochure was picked up in the summer of 2007.

The Spook Cave has since updated it's ghost, but the tours are still on according to their website.

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Today's entry is the Crossroads Antique Mall, located outside Hershey Pennsylvania. This brochure was picked up by me in the summer of 2005, though we didn't visit then. As antique malls are sort of ubiquitous travel stops, they are of course still open and operating today:

The back is curiously empty with only a simple map. Not too bad as a black and white brochure goes.

So, I've been thinking about premium tanks that I don't have, for whatever reason, but would like to get at some point. Then I remembered I have a website where I could post said list for the amusement of others who might be in the same boat as me, or better still, might have them and could offer me some insight.

So, without further ado, the top 5 Premium Tanks I want in World of Tanks!

Number 5, the Mauerbrecher!

Yes, it's under-powered. Yes, virtually no one plays this anymore. Yes, it's basically been reduced to a bad meme, but... I still want one. I really want a trainer for the full maus crew, and though it's not a performance machine at tier 8, I've been surprised by it when I've played against it. Though it's weak spots are pretty blatant and obnoxious, the few Mauerbrecher players I've seen have become masters of wiggling around so hitting these spots accurately is difficult, even at close range. That draws in tanks that see it and become overconfident (me, in two different cases) at which point the "MB" pounds you into the dust. I thought I was invincible in my Defender- until the Mauerbrecher caved in the roof of my turret. That's when I thought "man, I think I've missed the boat on this one..." As this one debuted right at the end of 2017, it's likely to hit the scene again this year, and again in the future, so I'm sure I'll be able to get my own "MB" sooner than later.

Number 4, the Großtraktor (Grosstraktor) Krupp!

Ah, the G. - Traktor... it's at tier 3, it has a weak gun, it has soft armor, it has low mobility. It is rarely seen because it is trash that is pretty much never sold. But, though I can't really explain why, I do want one. It's such an oddity, and such a rarity that I'd like one to tool around in "for the lols" if that makes any sense. I've got a few tanks, (the Turan, Sentinel, and TOG II all come to mind) that I play almost entirely to be silly in, WN8 be damned, and there is something kinda cathartic in that. To add a tank to my collection that is basically impossible to do well in, but still throws people for a loop because of how strange it is, well, that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Number 3, the AMX M4 mle. 49 Liberté (Liberte)!

This one is more of my bad timing, and being broke part of the time. When the Liberte debuted (alongside it's non-nationally painted twin) Wargaming was kind enough to give them out as a rental to players to try out, as people were really on the fence about the idea of a French heavy tank being any good. Bear in mind, the AMX-50 drum-loaders were the best we had at the time, and they were ambush predators, not brawlers. At any rate, I got my rental of the Liberte, loaded into a few games, and gave it a spin.

I'm not sure if it was my connection, the matchmaker, the alignment of the stars, or what... but I didn't do well. In fact, after suffering ammo-racks, fires, and multiple downed crewmen, I was worried the tank was a dud. I looked to the other Liberte drivers around me, as there were many trying out their rentals as I was... it wasn't a pretty sight. It seemed no one could play the tank well, and I chalked it up to the tank being terrible, and never played it again.

Flash forward to September of 2017, and I had the pleasure of visiting a friend, and playing WOT with them locally (I'll let you sound off if you so choose sir). This gentleman wasn't a fool like me, and realized the Liberte's potential- he had bought one. He let me take it for a spin (with his 4-skill French heavy seal-clubbing crew no less) and I got a steel-wall on my first time out in it. I played another few rounds on his account, and a terrible cloud descended on me. What had I done? I had of course realized the Liberte wasn't terrible in the weeks and months following it's initial release, but playing those couple games really did open my eyes as to how absolutely broken the tank was in the right positions.

...of course, the next time the Liberte was offered, it was rather expensive, and I didn't have the money. Then when it was offered at Christmastime, I passed in favor of the other deal, which knowing Wargaming, I'll probably never see again. Will I get the Liberte? I guess that depends on if Wargaming chooses to sell it again, and if it's locked behind a massive bundle paywall- though I like to think we'll see it yet this year. Hopefully not right after all my bills come due...

Number 2, the Panzer 38H!

The tier 2 mini-maus, the Panzer 38H is just the French Hotchkiss H35 tankette, but in German markings, but... oh man, the armor, the gun, the crew... it's a dream machine for whoever's driving it, and a nightmare for anyone up against it. I remember many a game at tier 2 where half the team would be unable to penetrate the Panzer 38H's, even with premium rounds because their guns were just too weak to do the job. Even my reliable curb-stomper the FCM-36 couldn't out-swing the Panzer 38H. Even with gold rounds you weren't guaranteed to do much of anything to it... well, except make it angry! I think this has been on my "wish list" since the very beginning- I don't know that I'd even play it much, but to have the tank that kicked my butt so many times in the past seems sort of cathartic.

Number 1, the BT-SV!

It's fast in a straight line! It's armor is almost invincible! It's gun is terrible! It's a meme machine that runs on dreams, and only players who are super-old-school have this thing. As such, it's almost never seen in the wild- and when it is, it's planted squarely above the hole where the seals come out of the ice. Much like the Panzer I.C, I think this one is probably more fun to drive around in than to fight with. The fact it can go super fast in a (relatively) straight line, while also sporting enough armor to keep you alive while doing it... I don't know, the troll-level antics you could get up to could be tons of fun. It's tier 3, it's not like anyone is playing seriously at tier 3 anyway- I sure don't!

So, that's my list of tanks I want! Is it a good list? Tell me in the comments why or why not, and if you've got any tips, feedback, or suggestions, I am all ears! Thanks so much for reading!
So, as tanks are added and removed from the game, and with the February "nerf" right around the corner, I've been wondering what tanks are the worst in the game? Which ones might get that buff they need to play well again, and which ones are just too far gone.

Well, I know without question what the worst tank in the game is.

The French Tier 2 D1, of course.

The D1 is just... horrible. In every possible way.

Tier 2 is a chaotic place to play, with games that are quick and usually pretty one-sided. As such, fast tanks and tanks with good armor tend to be the most dangerous- your M2 Lights, and your French H-35's for example. The D1 has neither speed, nor armor to rely on. The D1 is among the slowest vehicles in the game, and with plenty of soft, flat armor all the way around, it's very easy for your enemies to just circle you until you are dead. The turret traverse is slow, and since the D1 spends much of it's time tracked due to it's weak and prominent track assemblies, death by arty or a ranged TD are very likely.

The D1 does not even have a good weapon to fall back on. While it shares the top guns from the H-35, it can't position them in a way that can make good use of them. Against tier 3 tanks, this tank struggles immensely.

Which is probably why people will play one, maybe 2 games in it before anyone sane will just free XP past it and onto the D2, which is similar to the Somua.

I've said it before, I'll say it again- the D1 is the worst tank in WOT.

Something interesting I've seen among World of Tanks players is that most have a very intense distaste for the Matilda Black Prince tank. It's not terribly uncommon to hear the Matilda BP ranked among the worst tanks in the game, which always surprises me, as I rather like it.

This leads me to my key question... am I the 'only' World of Tanks player that likes the Matilda BP?

I understand it's detractors- it's speed is poor at tier 5, and it's armor on the (rather large) turret is unreliable against most guns it'll cross. There are, undeniably, better tanks at tier 5 to play in.

However, the tank has some merits as well, it's gun chief among them. High penetration and fire rate, coupled with a good loader means that the tank can pour damage out into it's foes- while a small aim circle and low speed means it excels at fighting on the move, or brawling with light tanks keen on circling it. The turret provides ample protection against German auto-cannons and most light tanks, while offering enough depression and elevation to keep it workable on shallow hills and ridges.

Now, it's no Sherman, and I understand completely if there isn't another soul out there that would ever play with this tank, but... all the same, is there anyone else out there that does like the Matilda BP besides me?

Thanks in advance for any feedback on this one.

A few years back, I cemented my claim that the tier 5 Churchill III tank was the best premium tank for beginner and novice players to World of Tanks.

My rationale for this was based on a number of factors, including price, armor, speed, skill-at-tier, club potential, and more. However, since I made that claim so long ago, World of Tanks has dramatically changed, with new tanks, new skills, new skins, new equipment, and even a new match maker algorithm. It's time to see if the Churchill III is still the best "beginner" premium tank.


Back when I was a newer player, the Churchill III was among the first premium tanks I ever got, and I still have a ton of games in it, though I don't play it as much anymore. One factor that was very important for me back when I made my claim was the price of the vehicle. If you want to buy this vehicle, it's only $10 in the store, though it regularly goes on special, and has been available for free during campaigns and things in the past as well. It is also perpetually available- it has been in the premium shop since it's debut and has never left. Were my decision based solely on the merits of the vehicle, I would argue the Canadian Ram II is a superior vehicle for the price, but since I have been playing the Ram II has only been for sale for 20 days in total. For $10, you can get this tank anytime you might like.

So, what about the tank's combat characteristics? In my opinion, it has everything a beginner will really need to get going, and really learn the game's mechanics. It has a cannon that works equally well at close to relatively long distance; though it's not terribly destructive, it is able to punch through most armor at tier 5, some armor at tier 6, and accurate enough to hit weak spots on tier 7 tanks it may yet encounter.

The tank's armor isn't great, rather flat and unremarkable, but the Churchill is great in that it is a "box" shape, making it easy to begin learning how to manipulate angles to your advantage, and begin side-scraping like a pro to deflect shots off your armor. Likewise, the turret is very square as well, meaning it's easy to play with the angles to start bouncing shells.

Finally, the Churchill is slow- not devastatingly slow like some super-heavy vehicles (the TOG and some TDs come to mind) but also it is far too slow for a beginner player to rush off into trouble. Many new and potentially inexperienced players tend to run down the middle, moving into spots experienced players will be waiting for them to pick them off in a couple shots. It's not much fun for the new player either- they last a few seconds in game before they are blown to pieces- not a great way to spend a battle, and for many they may not even see what they're doing wrong. The Churchill physically cannot rush, so it must work in support of other vehicles, or as the lead vehicle in a charge- in either case, it's something the rest of the team will be able to work around and benefit from more so than a scout tank that dies instantly without taking a shot.

The Churchill also has a good amount of hit points, 700 in total, that afford it several hits from even large tank destroyers and artillery without destroying the vehicle. This affords the new player time to not only react, but to learn from their actions- to be able to see what it is they may have done that got them hit in the first place, correcting their behavior as they get better at the game.

But, the big question- does the Churchill III still hold up as my #1 choice for beginners? Well, not really.

The biggest problem facing the Churchill III is the matchmaker algorithm, which now places tier 5 tanks in the bottom of games with tier 6 and 7 tanks. Though the Churchill can succeed in these battles, the volume of more experienced players fighting against them (as opposed to when the tank fought almost exclusively at tier 5) means new players will be exploited by not only better tanks, but much better players as well. In a one-on-one battle, I can think of no means by which a Churchill III tank could best a German E-25 tank destroyer, one of the (if not the) most over-powered vehicles in the game. Due to their popularity, the E-25's are a common enemy, as are other popular offerings like the American T-29 and Soviet KV-2, both of which can reduce or even totally destroy a Churchill III in a single shot. For that reason, the tank I reluctantly recommend to newcomers is the Valentine II.

The Valentine II is comparable to the Churchill in many ways, it features pretty good armor, a gun that's okay at tier, and it doesn't cost much of anything (less then $10). The Valentine II cannot see tanks above tier 4, meaning it will only ever fight at-tier opponents and lower, which is really what new players need to fight with- other players who are at their same level, and not have to be David defeating Goliath every game as is the new norm. It's biggest drawback is the speed- the Valentine is a terribly slow vehicle, and for it's size and damage output, it really does feel too slow to be useful in some games. All the same, to train crew-members, get extra silver to spend on your other vehicles, and to make the most of your games as you advance forward.

This isn't to say that the Churchill III isn't still an excellent choice, and I still do recommend it, though not necessarily to brand new players as I once did so long ago.
This month saw the release of another American M4 Sherman tank at tier 6, adding to an already crowded harem of M4 derivatives from the heavy and powerful M4 Jumbo, to the pointed and dangerous Easy Eight, over to the rare and unusual FURY! tank. But, how does the Thunderbolt VII compare? Well...


I bought the Thunderbolt VII shortly after it was released. Positive reviews on the tank, and the notion that it would include a "Zero Skill" Brothers-in-arms crew was an enormous bonus, and for less than $20, you can hardly go wrong. The Thunderbolt itself is an amalgam- featuring very good frontal and turret armor, with a little "shoulder armor" to boost it around corners- though I would compare it more to an up-armored "FURY!" than either of the other Tier-6 M4 Shermans.

I really like this tank for it's sheer "run around in" quality. It doesn't excel in any single area, which makes it a jack-of-all-trades sort of vehicle, able to fight well enough with most vehicles it will face, and defend itself against attacks of at-tier and lower vehicles. It's not terribly fast, but it's certainly not slow either.

As premium tanks go, it's an exceptional trainer with a lot of perks, and is just a lot of fun to play around in. I highly recommend this tank!

Are we still rating these? 5/5, very good tank, can't go wrong on this one.
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