Racing tanks: What a concept! If you're ever really bored and need an excuse to haul out your radio-controlled tanks for a serious purpose, this exercise may be for you! The calculation isn't rocket surgery, but I prefer to figure out something once so that I can avoid taxing declining brain cells in the future. Putting this on the web assures me that I won't have to search for the scrap of paper with all the scribblings later.

To calculate the scale speed of your RC tank, you'll need a stopwatch and a measured "racing lane" with a start and a finish line (10 feet is good). Give your tank a running start to get it up to speed, and time its travel from start to finish. Input the time in the calculator and press "Calculate". These things work best if you take several readings and average them.

This handy-dandy calculator (which is nearly identical to the one that I made for slot cars) is hard-coded for 1:16 and 1:24 scale, two popular RC tank scales. Arbitrary default length and time values are filled in, but you can change them. The "1:1 Scale Miles/Kilometers" info probably isn't very useful to RC tankers; it tells you how long your measuring track would be if it were scaled up to full size (at 1:16, 330 feet = 1 mile). This is something that slot car track owners might be interested in, but not RC tankers, so I removed the interim rounding function to fix rounding errors in the final MPH/KPH conversion.

Input Output Instructions
1:16 Scale 1:24 Scale
Lane Length (Distance) Feet


1:1 Scale Miles

1:1 Scale Kilometers

1:1 Scale Miles

1:1 Scale Kilometers

  • Enter the length of the lane you'll be timing, in feet (or use the default 10 feet).
  • Enter the time it takes for your tank to traverse from the start to finish line. Decimals are okay.
  • Click the "Calculate" button.
  • Duh. Put your head down.


Tank Speed Time, in seconds






This video from IMPACT shows the data collection part of the speed test. Using that video's distance and time measurements (3 metres = 9.84251969 feet) plugged into the calculator tells you:

  • Test #1: Jagdpanther with stock Tamiya transmission
    3.2 seconds
    scale speed: 34 mph (56 kph)

  • Test #2: Impact TU3 with drop down gear
    8 seconds
    scale speed: 14 mph (23 kph)

  • Test #3: Impact TU3 with drop down gear and hop up gear set 2
    5.1 seconds
    scale speed: 21 mph (35 kph)


Weasel Words: From AchtungPanzer.com and a few other places. Some data are missing and some varied between sources. I don't have the 1:1 tanks to verify, and I doubt anyone has ever lined up all of them on a racetrack for speed tests. A lot of info "out there" is probably parroted (like this), and some may be theoretical limits, so treat these as ballpark specs for the maximum (not typical) speeds.
Sturmgeschütz III Ausf F 40 kph -
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf H 40 kph 20 kph
Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G 40 kph 20 kph
Panzerjäger V Jagdpanther Sd. Kfz. 173 46 kph 24 kph
Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf G 46 kph 24 kph
Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E Sd. Kfz. 181 38 kph 10-20 kph
Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II Ausf. B (King Tiger) 35-38 kph 17 kph
KV-1 35 kph -
KV-2 28 kph -
Sherman M4A1(76)W 34-39 kph -
Sherman M4 105mm 34-39 kph -
Pershing M26 48 kph 29 kph