by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Originally published on:
Description of the vehicle from the IBG website; The Scammell Pioneer was a British 6x4 tractor used in the Second World War as recovery vehicle, artillery tractor and tank transporter. All Pioneers in British Army were equipped with a 102 hp Gardner 6-cylinder diesel engine, rear-wheels drive and a power winch. Introduced in 1935, the version R100 heavy artillery tractor was used in World War II to tow medium and heavy artillery. 980 Pioneers R100 were produced to the end of the war. From 1936 the British Army began to receive 43 Pioneers heavy recovery vehicles SV1S. Many of these SV1S and R100 vehicles were lost in France in June 1940, destroyed by the withdrawing troops or captured by the Germans. The version SV2S had a redesigned crane with greater lifting height and was introduced in 1938. Total of 1,975 SV2S were built. Delivery of a tank transporter began in 1937. This variant was equipped with a longer chassis for an extended cab to accommodate the tank crew. 459 of Scammels in this variant were produced.
For my part I have seen and followed some of the heated discussions surrounding this kit regarding the accuracy of the molding and engineering. I do not have a Nuts and Bolts level of knowledge regarding the Scammell Pioneer and cannot comment to that level of expertise, in fact I have little more than a potted understanding on the Scammell series of vehicles so I am clearly not qualified to comment much on the measurements and details of the kit beyond the obvious. What I can bring to the table is a working-class level of modelling skills and hopefully a bit of insight into what I think of the kit regarding its buildability.
For the purposes of getting this review out the kit is not exactly finished. I have left some parts off to make it a bit easier to finish the weathering process and add a driver and crewman in an upcoming diorama. For this reason, the headlights, cab windows, tow hooks and cable, and crew rifles are not yet in place on the photos of the ‘finished’ model.
For a better view of all the sprues included in the kit check out the IBG website (http://www.ibgmodels.com/35029.htm) which provides nice clear photos as well as a PDF version of the instructions. The painting guides include call outs for Vallejo Air, Hataka, Mr. Hobby, and Lifecolor paints. Additionally, the web site has added the colors for AK Interactive paints as well.
The kit comes packaged in a standard kit slipcover type box with a sturdy tray holding all the sprue trees in separate poly bags. The decals and plentiful photo etch material are bagged together and but don’t suffer from their close quarters. The plastic, a common yellow tan concoction, is a little bit on the soft side but very easy to sand, carve, remove from the sprue, etc. without any tearing or other problems. The kit has 17 sprues of parts as well as the 7 large tire tread sections, so it is a full box to be sure. One of the sprues is the clear pieces such as windows and headlights while 4 of the smaller sprues are doubled up with the 8 large sprues all being one of types. The decals provide marking for 5 different vehicles as laid out below and a fret of photo-etched material with over 50 parts provided. The kit has over 300 parts Finally, the instructions are a 20-page affair with 3 pages devoted to the sprue layout and 5 pages reserved for the 5 different marking schemes; the decal marking pages are, it should be noted, in color making painting a bit simpler. Finally, you get a nice color glossy print of the box art as well.
The marking options are as follows:
• Scammell Pioneer captured by the German Afrika Korps in 1943.
• Scammell Pioneer, unidentified unit, Red Army, Eastern Front 1943.
• Scammell Pioneer, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, workshop REME, Normandy, June 1944. In the famous ‘Mickey Mouse’ pattern
• Scammell Pioneer 26th Recovery Section, 6th South African Armoured Division, Egypt, January 1944.
• Scammell Pioneer 16th Company EME, 1st Polish Armoured Division, England 1943.
Like all the IBG truck kits that I have built this one begins in the same way with the buildup of some of the sub-assemblies, in this case the tires, the gas tank, and the open cargo area under the driver’s station. None of those steps caused any concerns in construction. I did make a slight change to the cargo basket; the horizontal runners should stand proud of the vertical bars that hold the cargo in but the photoetch piece has them all flush. I simply added a piece of styrene strip of the same size over the brass piece to better replicate the look of the original. In truth, it is hard to tell but it was an easy bit. The gas tank has what looks like a port on the side, this is supposed to be a gauge for the tank, you may want to add an appropriate sized decal to yours.
After that you are tasked with the buildup of the Gardner 6LW diesel engine. It is fairly well detailed with all the parts you commonly see in plastic and none of the wiring or tubing that is an integral part of any automotive engine. Decide here what level of exposure you want for your engine and build and detail accordingly. I was going to close it up so the super detailing would be a moot point but if you want the side panels off you may want to add a bit of extra effort here. Do be careful with the radiator shroud; it is easy to put on upside down and it is hard to tell you have done such until you try to install it later.
The walking beam suspension and undercarriage is where the bulk of the parts end up. In fact, the construction of the walking beam is the most parts intensive in the construction process. It is not overly difficult with a good bit of repetition from left to right and forward and rear with keyed locations for parts where needed. The only thing it needs is a bit of patience and clean up to work through. The wishbone style front suspension seems straightforward but takes a bit of care due to the butt joint at the rear. If you want everything to sit level make sure that the G25 and G26 parts are level or your front wheels may have a problem.
The remainder of the frame can be a bit tedious with all the crossmembers, springs, and gussets but goes together easily enough. Be careful at either end, the instructions are a bit problematic here; at the front part F20 should be rotated so that the locating cut is angled up for the F25 attachment. You want F25 to be forward and oriented perpendicularly to the frame. At the rear of the frame the instructions have parts H13 and H14 transposed so adjust accordingly.
The construction will then take you to the mounting and building the recovery equipment; winch, power take off, pneumatic tank, sheave wheels, fairleads, etc. The only issue to be aware of is rigging the large undercarriage vertical winch drum. I added the cable thread as soon as I finished the winding drum, if you wait until later it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to run the line through the sheaves, fairleads and rollers. I used an elastic thread that looked the part and as a bonus it was a little easier to work with from a regular thread. I would imagine you could use a small gauge braided wire for an even better look. While most of this is up underneath the service bed super detailers may want to add some of the springs and catches that were omitted in the kit.
The upper bed carries the sliding boom and horizontal winch as well as the large wooden equipment boxes. These areas are very well done and just cry out for some weathering. I really appreciated the large photo etched piece for the manufacturers data plate on the winch, it really dresses up the part with some nice fine detail. I had no issues with any of this construction as everything fit like a glove both as a sub-component and when fitted altogether on the truck bed. At the rear of the bed the mud flaps are a photo-etched piece that require a couple of bends before installation, I wish I had left mine off until after everything was complete which is what, with the benefit of hindsight, I would recommend!
The cab is much improved over earlier IBG truck cabs. Nice detail throughout with minimum cleanup needed. The ejector pin marks in the back wall are placed in areas that are covered by interior cabinets, plentiful photo etch for fine detail, and even a photo-etched piece for the dashboard, however, a decal for the actual instrumentation would have been the icing on the cake. Alas you will need either a very steady hand or some aftermarket decals for the instruments. Do be careful with the rather thin frames for the seats as well as the shifters, if you are not careful when removing them from the sprue you could have some breakage. The doors are molded closed, if you are planning to open them you do have small issue to address; the door from the inside measures out to 33” in scale top to bottom, but from the outside to the bottom of the frame is only 30”, oops. I don’t know which of the two measurements are correct, if you cut out the door using the outer molding as a guide that would be MUCH easier, or you could leave the doors closed as is for the easiest option. Also, the roof is missing a small rain gutter/lip around the bottom edge. I spent about 5 minutes adding this extra detail with some strip styrene; an easy fix.
As with every IBG kit I have built the SMLE rifles could use a bit of an upgrade from an outside source; I decided to use what was provided as most of the fine detail of the rifle would be lost inside the cab anyway but you may decide different. The one confusing area of construction is the call out for the steering column; the instructions admonish you to “First move detail XX through hole in front of element”. The problem is you have no “detail XX” nor the normal arrow that would at least point to it. I think that IBG may have used the “XX” designation as a placeholder in the instructions and never came back to rewrite it as part D24. What it means is that the steering column needs to be fed through the floorboard from underneath as it will not fit through the other way around. It should remain loose until you install the cab and can join it to the steering gear box assembly attached to the frame.
With the cab attached to the frame the next step is the hood/bonnet and the side panels. The top of the side panels should be angled in towards the engine to provide a cooling louvre that runs along the length of the entire panel. IBG has put a slight angle to the piece but not nearly enough to match photographic evidence or indeed even the box art. In my view, you have three options in dealing with this somewhat prominent feature; first, leave it as is and just know that it is a bit off. This is the easiest option and if you opt for this it will still look like a Scammell Pioneer at the end of the day. The second option is to leave the offending side panels off. This is a more than acceptable solution as many photos of the vehicle in action show the panels removed. This does mean that you may want to detail up the engine a bit more, but the good news is the engine provided gives a great base for detailing. The third option, which I went with, was to correct the angle. I beveled the top edge as best I could with a sanding stick then turned the part over and began slowly scribing a line into the plastic at the vertex of the angle until I could easily bend it in to more closely match the correct angle. I did need to carve away a bit of the locating ridge on the front of the cab to accommodate the new angle as well as add a piece of styrene to the top of the frame to help keep everything lined up. To correct it probably added about 15 minutes to the total construction so not a game changing time investment.
With the rear cargo box and boom installed the only left are just a few odds and ends plus the wheels. I like how IBG has the wheel attachments set up, the lug nut holes on the inner rim partially remain and are keyed to the wheel hubs providing a good strong attachment with multiple gluing surfaces that provide for a solid bond. My example ended with all 6 of the wheels firmly in contact with the ground; no floating wheels for me, something that has always been my personal challenge with wheeled vehicles.
I marked my example in the livery of the 7th Armoured Division in Normandy, however, in the spirit of getting this review up for the boss I have not finished the painting or weathering yet. The decals are from Techmod and are very easy to work with, thin, in perfect register, with nice vibrant colors. The kit does provide some thread and a hook for the boom which I have not installed either. The thread provided appears a bit too thin to my eye so I will be using something with a bit more heft to it when I finish it up. Also, I have added a mud base with the upcoming diorama in mind from a combination of Squadron Green putty, acetone, and backyard dirt if you are wondering what the gunk is on the underside.
I enjoyed the build of this kit immensely. Everything went together easily and the plastic moldings were completely flash free with minimal cleanup needed. At times, the instructions were a bit confusing with the looping arrows for placement running into other arrows but care and patience should win out. There are a few small niggling details to add that were left off, cooling louvers, roof lip, gauges, etc. but you can make your own determination as to how much you are willing to live with, much like every kit.
Thanks to IBG for the review sample!