Thunder Model 1/35 Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter – Build Review, Part 2
This article is part of a series:
The Tractor Unit
As usual, there are a couple of subassemblies which need to be built up and painted before proceeding any further – in our case this will be the engine, the cab interior, the winch, and the trailer mount.
Engine assembly is straight forward with some 30 parts including PE parts. The only issue is the order in which the instructions tell you to put everything together. Attaching the radiator to the engine by means of two tiny pipes does not make sense, as it is way safer to attach the radiator to the chassis later on and mount the engine separately. I would also suggest to attach the air filter pipe (part B31) now, as this will give you a way better idea of where the additional piping (D14) should go.
Painting the engine was done with a green/gray mix and various Vallejo metallic colors, weathered with oils. The exhaust system was treated with pigments. As the instructions’ paint guide is a bit meager, your best bet will be searching the internet for images of the real thing.
A word of caution: Thunder Model stated a couple of days ago that they had an issue with the design of the radiator. Basically the wrong CAD file was used for creating the molds. They are in the process of molding a correct replacement part and will provide a means by which to order it on their website.
Moving on to the frame you will first have to decide what to do with all the ejection marks. Most of them are either raised or very shallow, so a thin sanding stick will make short work of them.
The front axle allows you to pose the wheels at an angle; it is, however, not moveable, so you will need to decide on the angle now and glue everything in place. While doing that I attached the wheels temporarily to give me a better idea of where things were headed.
Building the frame is a bit time consuming due to the amount of small parts and multi-part assemblies that need to be filled and sanded.
The trailer mount and the winch are beautifully detailed and go together fairly easily. The only thing you will have to look out for are these weird ejection pin “towers”, some of them seriously affecting fit if not removed.
Before installing these subassemblies I gave the chassis a quick coat of Tamiya Flat Black – getting to all the hidden spots may be difficult once winch and mount are in place.
After getting the task of filling all the ejector pin marks out of the way, I could start on building the interior.
As mentioned before, the wood structure of the cab’s floor looks strange. I smoothed everything down with coarse steel wool and rescribed the lines between the individual wood panels. The rest goes together very quickly, but care has to be taken when removing the shift levers et al. from the sprues, as these parts are very fine and prone to breakage.
After a basecoat of Flat Black, the interior was airbrushed with AK Real Colors “Light Stone”. As these paints dry totally flat, I had to apply some Tamiya Clear Gloss before the usual procedure of washes and gentle chipping.
Moving to the outside of the cab, the only part in need of some care is the air filter. Out of the box, the springs holding this thing together aren’t all that well detailed.
Scraping them off and making new ones from thin copper wire takes only minutes and considerably improves the look.
Sandy Bottom. And Top.
Out of the four options in the paint guide, the plain sand-colored one may seem the most boring. I decided to go with it nonetheless, as I think it will show the kit’s pure amount of detail without distraction.
The chassis, wheels, and cab where painted separately from each other to facilitate weathering and detail painting. Again, everything got a primer coat of Tamiya Flat Black, followed by AK Light Stone. After another session with Tamiya Clear Gloss the decals were applied, using Revell Decal Fix as setting solution. The decals behaved flawlessly, the only thing I noticed is they need to soak a bit longer than other manufacturer’s.
The tires received a coat of Vallejo Black Grey, and the whole vehicle was given pin washes with Ammo Panel Line Washes, followed by sponge chipping using a mix of Vallejo Black Grey and Dark Brown. For dust effects on the wheels I used Ammo Light Dust pigments.
Final assembly includes attaching the cab to the chassis and installing the exhaust pipe and steering mechanism. This can be a bit fiddly, so make sure to bring a steady hand and take your time.
The very last part I attached was the stowage basket underneath the driver’s side, in this loaded with a bunch of old Italeri jerry cans painted in various sand tones. The basket is a simple yet effective PE assembly, just be careful when bending it as the PE material is rather thin.
So there you go. Building the tractor took about two weeks, almost straight out of the box. I did not encounter any problems whatsoever, and the whole process was the most enjoyable experience. Are there negatives? Sure. Quality Control could take another pass at the instructions and the paint guide, and the number of pin marks on the cab parts does seem quite exaggerated. But how I wish these where the only issues of every kit out there…
The next and final part of this review will deal with the trailer. I have to admit I have already started on it, and boy, is this a huge beast!