Accurate Armour 1/48 Scammell Pioneer SV/2S
Kit #48011 £ 63.61 from Accurate Armour
Images and text Copyright © 2009 by Matt Swan
The Scammell Pioneer was developed in the late 1920s for the Imperial Market as a logging and oilfield vehicle in areas where there were no developed roadways. This heavy tractor unit featured a very articulate suspension system with dual powered rear axels and a powerful low revving Gardner diesel engine. The tractor was designed to handle a 20 ton load. In 1932 the British military adopted the vehicle as an artillery tow vehicle and in 1939 a chassis winch was incorporated creating a tank recovery unit with a crew of three that was used by Allied forces throughout the Second World War. The tractor was capably of handling most rough terrain with the basic 6 X 4 drive train however should things get especially rough tank style tracks could be mounted on the four rear drive wheels allowing the beast to travel wherever desired.
Many early military Scammells (sometimes referred to as 'coffee pots') were shipped to France with the British Expeditionary Force and were subsequently abandoned during the evacuation. Some of these units were destroyed while others were taken into service by the Germans. At least one Scammell Pioneer saw service during the Korean war as well. The tractor while slow was so effective that it was retained in military use for many years after the war and continued in service with civilian contractors as well. Approximately 3500 SV/2S heavy tractors were produced during the war with about 2000 of those being recovery vehicles. Scammell continued to develop and manufacture recovery vehicles and tank transporters through to the end of the twentieth century. Today many of these early tractors are still in existence and several have been restored for museum display. This is not a pretty vehicle, it looks like a brute and without question is a serious workhorse.
While there are several hobby shops within the US handling Accurate Armour kits these days I dealt directly with Accurate for this acquisition. They were very quick to respond and shipped the package promptly. The kit arrived in a well padded shipping envelope with all resin parts in a solid cardboard box. The resin pieces were packaged into a couple of zip-lock baggies with some additional packing material. On initial inspection I found no evidence of warpage on any parts but did have three small areas of damage; two very fine struts had been broken during shipment but were still in the baggies so nothing to really worry about there however the front tow hook on the chassis had been broken off and was not in the package.
The resin parts are all of very good quality with very few bubbles and paper thin flash that could simply be brushed away for the most part. All pour blocks featured very fine connection points and needed only a light score with a razor knife to remove. The suspension is designed to be articulate with steerable front wheels however the mounting studs for the front hubs and frame are not very large which makes for a very weak connection, some slight modification will be required to firm this up. The aft suspension system is fairly beefy and will be mobile without modification. The Gardner engine is cast as a single piece but is very nicely detailed. There is an incredible level of detail cast into all the parts with this kit. Every single resin part has a part number cast into the pour block to aid with assembly.
Besides all this nice resin we get a small photo etched brass fret that contains a variety of tools, mirrors, bracing pieces and other exterior details. The fret includes parts for functional door hinges. The kit includes two different lengths of chain and a short piece of string to act as a hoist cable. Parts inventory results in one hundred thirteen resin pieces, forty two photo etched pieces, two chains, one string and an acetate sheet to make windows from totaling one hundred fifty nine pieces in the box.
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Decals and Instructions
Accurate Armour includes a very nice full color A2 sized assembly booklet consisting of eight pages. All assembly instructions consist of high quality pictures of the assembled model with part numbers clearly identified. There are no color call-outs or color chart included for the model. There are very few written construction tips and some careful study of the images and the kit parts is required before any glue is applied. Some parts placement is somewhat obscure and can only be figured out after some careful thought. There is a single page showing a painted model intended to assist with exterior painting and decal placement. The last page of the instruction booklet contains a complete parts listing by number and description, this is very handy when trying to identify some little piece that is puzzling you. There is a full page of text covering general painting for different theaters of operation and specific decal placement for some armies, just like the assembly instructions some careful study is required here before any decal should be wet.
The kit includes an extensive decal sheet allowing for virtually any British or American unit you could wish to build. The decals are all printed with good registry and excellent color density. The decals lift from the paper very easily after being wet and snuggle down nicely with only some light setting solution. Unfortunately the British roundel is too large for the cab roof.
I’m generally and aircraft modeler but still dabble on the dark side from time to time. Now I’ve built 1/35 scale kits before with functional steering and somewhat articulated suspension but always in plastic so was very interested to see how Accurate Armour dealt with these things in this scale and material. With that in mind I started with a review of the suspension parts. Right away I found a problem in that the mounting studs were very fine and had a fairly loose fit. While they did allow for the front suspension to move and the wheels to steer just a little shake would knock everything loose. To remedy this I removed the wheel hub lower mounting stubs, drilled them out and installed 3mm lengths of copper wire with only about 1.5mm exposed. This make for a very, very tight fit but once the wire stud snapped into place the hub was locked in and could rotate freely. I also removed the forward frame stud, drilled that out and fashioned a new stud from a toothpick. I left this piece a little long so it could be sized better when the engine was installed. The resin tie rod probably would have been fine to use if I was going to glue the steering into a single position but no provision had been made here for mobility. I drilled out the mounting hole in the hubs then fashioned a new tie rod from copper wire, the ends were locked in place with bulbs of superglue. I was careful to not get any glue into the mounting hole and applied accelerator immediately to the bulb. This following series of images shows the process;
I painted the chassis overall olive drab then painted details such as leaf springs with steel. The engine was painted and detailed. Once the base paint was dry I started to work specific areas with Rust-All applying several coats to things like the exhaust system. The entire chassis got a single coat of Rust-All then was sealed with Future. Next it was washed with a sludge wash then dry brushed with silver and steel. Lastly the chassis and engine were sealed with Polly Scale clear flat. While this dried I did some work on the cab mostly just painting details and adding some punched out Mike Grant decals to the instrument panel.
The wheels were airbrushed with tire black then the olive drab details were brush painted. After being sealed with Future they were washed with a sludge wash then weathered. To create the dirt pattern I took a ground pastel chalk and a wet paint brush and painted the chalk into the tires. Once dry I dampened the tip of my finger and wiped the excess off the high spots. Now with a dry paint brush I applied more ground chalk as a dusting then glued the wheels to the hubs. After all the work to make the suspension fully mobile I could not do anything to make the wheels actually turn on the hubs but that’s okay since I won’t be driving this anywhere making little truck noises.
During a stint of dry fitting and assembly consideration I realized that the front fenders need to turn with the wheels. The instructions have you gluing the fenders to non-moving parts which pretty much shuts down any mobility the steering has. To fix this issue I drilled some small mounting holes into the mobile areas of the front hubs and into the lower points of the fenders then installed some short lengths of fuse wire here. The original fender mounting hole now acts as a pivot point and the front end turns just fine now.
From this point on construction pretty much followed the kit instructions. Many of the bed and cab parts were painted and weathered separately before being assembled. Once all the pieces were on for each sub-assembly it was sealed with some Polly Scale clear flat.
I had some difficulty with the hanging side panels on the bed as I kept breaking them off but this turned to my advantage when it was time to add the bed to the chassis. There was some minor warpage with the bed mounting struts and with the side panels missing I was able to reach in with tweezers and make necessary adjustments. Once the bed was secure I replaced the side panels and everything was good.
The cab was assembled and painted in two sections, the front and the back half. After weathering and dull coating was finished I cut each clear panel from the master sheet and placed them with clear parts cement. The two upper front panels had semicircles of masking tape laid into the centers then were dusted with dull coat. Once the masks were removed I had a nice wiper impression on the pane. I think the single most delicate point of construction on the cab, other than placing the clear parts was installing the steering wheel. The steering wheel shaft has to thread through the front panel of the cab and connect to the steering box on the chassis. By reaching into the cab with long tweezers I was able to place the part then superglue it into position. The final details to be added were things like the windshield wipers, rear fenders and driver’s side equipment box. The two chins provided with the kit were simply dipped in dull coat and dropped into the equipment box. From what I understand this box was also used to carry the linked tracks for the drive wheels. I elected to leave the side panels off the engine bay and those were stowed in one of the bed compartments.
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This is definitely a fun little kit. I’ve been a fan of 1/48 scale vehicles for many years and this has got to be the most well engineered and thought out kit I have yet to encounter. Parts fit very well, flash was minimal, pour stubs were very fine and there was hardly any warpage within the parts – something very difficult to achieve with resin kits. The decal sheet is very extensive and well printed. The single greatest weakness of the kit is in the instructions. Some parts numbers were switched between lefts and rights, some directional arrows were completely missing and there were no adequate decal instructions. The modeler is almost completely dependant on outside research for marking placement. While I give this kit a very good recommendation it is not for entry level models and previous experience with both resin and photo etched parts is an absolute must. Now I have to build something for this to tow ….