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Airfix 1/76 Scale Scammel Tank Transport

The Scammell Pioneer was an off-road design from the late 1920s, built for the Imperial market where made-up roads were scarce. The combination of a suspension with a lot of movement while maintaining traction and a low-revving diesel engine gave it impressive pulling power on rough ground although at low speeds. Its capabilities and performance matched that needed for military vehicles. The British Army would take the Pioneer for many uses during the war but their first tank transporter based on the Pioneer was a 20-ton capable unit delivered by Scammell in 1932. This led to later 20 and 30-ton tractor/trailer combinations.

The trailer was more-or-less fixed to the tractor and not demountable like modern semi-trailer trucks. Hinged ramps were used to get the tank onto the trailer, which if immobilised could be pulled on with the tractor unit’s winch. Pioneers fitted with tank transporting trailers had a longer chassis for an extended cab to accommodate the tank crew as passengers, and larger rear wheels.

About 500 tractor-trailer units were provided to the British Army and they were effective recovery vehicles. One problem was found when carrying American tanks on British roads. The higher profile of the US tanks meant that on occasions the vehicles could not pass under bridges. This meant that the trailers were undesirable post war and most were scrapped while the tractors were retained for use with other trailers or sold into civilian use.

The Kit

Well, where do I start? The Scammel Tank Transport from Airfix is an oldie but goodie plastic model kit. I does come with little parts to fiddle with so be prepared to use a magnifying glass or some other sort of magnification. This model kit has been in my stash since my long hiatus in wish I started back in 2008 by buying interesting model kits subjects in 1/72 scale. Later on I found the scale a bit small for my taste and eyesight.

The model kit has 107  parts and measures 210mm long x 38mm high. Color call for Humbrol enamel which although my local hobby shop has Humbrol available, I prefer Acrylics like Tamiya and Model Master Acryl any day. As I mentioned before, these kits are nice for a weekend build or just to kick back and relax after a more complicated model kit. The later was the reason why I chose to assemble this kit and it wasn’t without a few bumps. But the final model is not that bad for the bargain price of $7.99 at my local hobby shop.

These molds either are showing their age or since the end product is so inexpensive, maybe the quality control is more flexible. This is just a wild guess, I must admit that Airfix puts a lot of great model kits on the market and that’s the reason why they have been in business for so long.

The kit came molded in tan which some time is dedicated to flash cleaning and deburring for what it seemed to be a misaligned mold. I worked in injection molding eons ago and I know the results of a misaligned mold.  Someone in the packaging department dropped an extra set of decals however one half tire was missing holding slightly my build.

I contacted Airfix’s customer service. Not knowing how long they would take to get back to me, I went to the hobby shop and got another kit just to get the wheel (they are so affordable). To my surprise, the new kit came molded in light gray and I dare to say that the detail and lack of flash was like 60 to 70% better than the first one.

Also to my surprise, in less than 48 hours I’ve got response from Airfix USA notifying that my missing part was already on its way to me. So, Kudos to Airfix USA for their customer service. That’s great, I’ll be building the second one in desert colors.

With the exception of the extra time consumed cleaning flash, I have no complaints on this model kit. I’m letting the pictures speak by themselves. The kit does not include clear parts, you must scratch build them. In this case, I always have a leaf of clear .010 styrene from K&S which works very good in these cases. Get one today (or 2) en enjoy this build.

The rusty chain came from the craft store as well as the steel cables from the beading section.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.