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Thunder Model Scammell Pioneer Heavy Artillery Tractor R100 – Build Review, Part 1

Following their splendid Scammell Tank Transporter (reviewed here), Thunder Model recently released two additional variants of this iconic British truck – the SV/2S recovery tractor and the R100 Heavy artillery tractor. With the upcoming release of a British 7.2in howitzer by the same company, this feels like the right time to take a closer look at the R100.

The Queen of the Battlefield Needs Towing? Hold My Tea…

(Picture source: Wikipedia)

The Scammell Pioneer R100 Heavy Artillery Tractor was used throughout WWII to tow medium and heavy artillery pieces. Capable of towing up to 20 tons, it could be found in artillery units equipped with bulkier guns like 7.2in or 8in howitzers, and 155mm guns. Starting in 1935, 980 units were built, although quite some of them were lost during the fighting in France in 1940.

What’s In The Box?

Adorned with Thunder Model’s usual style of dynamic imagery, the box is filled to the brim with sprues. In total, you get twelve sprues of grey plastic, a separately packed replacement radiator, one clear sprue, a zip-loc bag containing various goodies, and the instruction sheet and paint guides.

The Instructions.

The A4-sized b/w instruction booklet consists of 16 pages, which lead through the construction in 26 steps. The order of construction is, for the most part, logical, although you might profit from changing the sequence a bit when building up the engine.

As with the tank transporter kit, paint call-outs are a weak point. There is not much guidance in the way of detail painting, and where call-outs are given, they only refer to Ammo by Mig paint numbers. So once again you will have to consult your references (or Google image search) to get an idea of what colors to use.

A nice feature of the instructions is the inclusion of a diagram that shows the drive axle gear and air linkage schemes. If you want to add further detail to the kit’s chassis, this diagram will come in handy.

After a slight glitch with the radiator part in the tank tractor’s release, Thunder Model added a corrected replacement part to all subsequent boxings. This part gets its own snippet of instructions, with a description of how to use it.

The marking guide comes as two separate sheets, with color print on glossy paper. There is a choice between four marking options, which are:

– Unknown unit, France 1944 / S.C.C. 2 Khaki Brown and S.C.C. 14 Black
– 1st British Army, 54th Heavy Artillery Regiment, Operation Torch 1942 / S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab and S.C.C. 2 Khaki Brown
– Unknown unit / Khaki Green No. 3 and S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab
-Captured, in German service 1943 / Dark grey

Some of the marking options are bit tricky. The “unknown unit” option number three carries a license number reading “WL-256413”, which leads to the conclusion that we are dealing with another captured vehicle in service with the German Air Force (WL standing for “Wehrmacht – Luftwaffe”).

Option number two, the 54th Heavy Artillery Regiment – or more precisely the 54th Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery – was indeed placed in North Africa in 1943. This makes the use of S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab rather questionable, as this color was only introduced in 1944. As long as I cannot find any other information, I will happily substitute the OD with S.C.C. 1A Dark Brown, a common color for this time frame.

The Sprues.

Most of the sprues in this kit are already known from the tank transporter release. Again, detail is exquisite and sharp, sprue gates are easily reached, and the plastic “feels” solid.

What I did notice, however, was a bit of flash on some of the smaller parts from the initial kit’s sprues. I guess this is a normal result of the molds being in heavy use – and a good reason to not wait too long before getting this kit 🙂

One thing that keeps bugging me is the placement and type of ejector pin marks. Although one can argue whether pin marks on the inside of a cabin roof are such a big deal, there are some parts which will no doubt remain visible – like the insides of the cargo bed. With these parts it looks like it will be easier to just sand everything off and rebuild the diagonal supports with plastic stock.

Apart from these quibbles though, I was happy to see Thunder Model did their homework on wood texture. Whereas the cabin floor looked a bit weird in the tank transporter release, all the wooden parts now show the same fine texture – even on their back sides, no pin marks to be found here.

As mentioned before, detail is abundant and excellent. The sheer number of small fittings will require patience and a sharp scalpel, but you will be rewarded with a very well detailed build.

Finally, the replacement radiator shows the correct number of ribs, and the molding detail is excellent.

PE et al.

The two PE frets contain detail parts for the engine, a complete stowage basket, and the instrument panel. In addition you get rings for the insides (!) of the real wheels.

The decal sheets contain the usual assortment of unit badges, license plates, and serial numbers, all printed in register. Going by Thunder Model’s other kits, they should go on nicely, although they need to soak in water a bit longer than you might be used to.

A length of rope and a fine chain for the tractor’s lifting pulley round off the mixed-media bag.

First Impression.

After Thunder Model’s initial tank transporter, the R100 is more of a natural progression than it is the Biggest Revolution Ever in injection molding. That being said, this company continues to astonish me with their bold subject choice, the neatness of execution and the attention to detail.

This thing does not have tracks. Instead it has some mean looking tires. It does not have a turret. Instead it has character. And it does not have a gun. But you can hitch a mighty huge one to its rear.

All of which makes this another clear winner for me.

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

6 responses to Thunder Model Scammell Pioneer Heavy Artillery Tractor R100 – Build Review, Part 1

  1. Looks like a pretty nice kit – thanks for the in-depth review, Boris. I’ll be watching with eager anticipation to your progress.

  2. Great review, Boris, the tooling looks razor sharp. As are the photos and comments!

  3. Good stuff Boris. Look forward to seeing your build.

  4. Another good review, Boris, you’ve nearly sold me one of these, it would look very impressive with the right gun in tow.

  5. Well done, Boris! Great review. This looks fun to build.

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