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Mike

Scammell Pioneer R100 Artillery Tractor 1:35

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Scammell Pioneer R100 Artillery Tractor

1:35 IBG Models

 

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The Pioneer was designed in the 20s as a large tractor unit for unmade roads, which eventually caught the eye of the War Office as a potential candidate for tank transport, but it wasn't until later in the decade that it became a more serious tank transporter.  In the meantime, the R100 derivative was used from 1935 onward to pull smaller and medium weight artillery, taking full advantage of its terrain handling ability that was due in equal parts to its excellent suspension set-up and a powerful engine that was capable of delivering torque at low revs, making it ideal for unmade roads and rough terrain, even though only the rear wheels were driven by the 6-cylinder diesel engine.  Its large cab size allows the crew and their equipment to travel inside, which endeared it to them immensely when the heavens opened.  It was relieved of towing the larger weapons when the AEC Matador arrived, but until then it had been used with the British 8" Howitzer as well as the American Long Tom gun.

 

Many unfortunate vehicles were destroyed or captured at Dunkirk, and having lost so many it was never available in the desired quantities, so often worked alongside other similar vehicles, with almost a thousand units built by the time they were discontinued.  During wartime a career that long was unusual, so it must have been doing something right.

 

 

The Kit

For a long time there hasn't been a mainstream model of this staple of WWII British AFV Prime Movers in this scale, with a ready market just waiting to be tapped.  There was a lot of buzz in this section of the hobby when it was first announced by IBG, and after the 2V2S Breakdown Tractor, we're now blessed with the R100, which is a substantially different tooling with new sprues aplenty.  The box is a top-opener in IBG's standard green colour, and on the top is a painting of the subject matter, with examples of the colour schemes on the sides.  Inside are fourteen sprues of mid grey styrene, one of clear parts, a substantial fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a bag of wheel tread parts (x6) a decal sheet, and the instructions.  A bonus feature is the inclusion of a print of the box art on satin sheened stock, showing off the blurring of the wheels in motion, which is good enough to pin up as inspiration if that's your thing. 

 

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First impressions are very favourable, with plenty of detail throughout, the inclusion of the engine bay, underpinnings and those superbly detailed wheels with separate sidewalls attaching to the slide-moulded contact surfaces.  Coincidentally, those are the first parts to be constructed when the build begins, with six of them assembled as already mentioned, taking care to align the treads correctly, which are directional.  Other sub-assemblies are then built up for use later, such as a pair of PE cowling parts for under the cargo bed; the immense fuel tanks; stowage baskets using PE parts to good advantage for scale-fidelity, and of course the 6-cylinder diesel engine that gave the R100 such good traction in poor conditions.  This last assembly is built up on a two-part block with intakes, manifold, ancillary parts and PE brackets, which are joined at the front by the radiator housing that has two stacked cores, and a cowling around the rear that ducts the air from the fan on the front of the engine.  All these are put to one side after painting while the rear double axles are built up, again from a sizeable part count.  The front axle with anti-roll bars are also made up at this point, after which the main ladder-style chassis rails are put together, and two huge leaf-springs are fitted to suspend the rear axles.  The radiator housing, towing hooks, headlamps and various PE brackets are fitted, and another batch of sub-assemblies in the shape of mudguards, winch, and transfer box are built up for attachment to the chassis along with the engine, linked by drive-shafts.

 

The front axle mounts on a central pivot at the front, with the wish-bone shaped anti-roll bar fitted to a point in front of the transfer box, then the steering linkage is added, as is the exhaust pip that weaves its way through the chassis rails to the muffler aft of the transfer box.  The big twin axle sits on the big leaf springs, taking engine power from the transfer box from another drive-shaft, the fuel tank is attached to the outer rail of the chassis, and a lozenge-shaped reservoir fits in a space behind the differential.  At this point the chassis and running gear are ostensibly complete and attention turns to the floor and superstructure.

 

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The body is split between the cab and the passenger compartment, and it is the latter that is built up first, with quite a number of parts creating some of the complex shapes to accommodate the equipment underneath as well as the wheel arches.  PE parts are used in the underside of the floor around the rearmost axle, and a small accessway is part-formed in anticipation of mating with the cab section, which is built up next.  The roof sections are also built with internal and external detail, as is the bulkhead between the two sections, which has the seat backs attached with PE mounts for scale fidelity.  The cab floor has a large transmission bulge at the front, with the driver's controls and pedals added to the right, and a frame around the gear selector made from a PE part.  More PE is used in constructing the front firewall, to which the windscreen is pre-moulded.  More PE parts are used to represent the metal trackways on which the windscreen panels rotate for cooling the cab, but the glazing isn't added until the assemblies are installed on the chassis.  There is an issue with the shape of the cab that gives it a slightly trapezoidal look from the front, which should in fact be square.  There is a documented fix for this on Britmodeller already (although it's the Breakdown Tractor), which you can see here along with some work on the cab roof to give it a more prototypical look.  The crew seats all have separate supporting frames and cushions, which will match up to the backs on the bulkhead that is glued around the cab to create the enclosure.  The steering wheel, wing mirrors and top engine cowling are fitted along with the optional side cowlings, stowage bin and the passenger compartment, which is plonked on the rear with an access ladder fitted to the left rear.  The side access doors are both separate, so can be posed at any angle, and a rack of three Lee Enfield rifles are stowed in the accessway with their buttstocks held in place by recesses.  The rooves are added to both compartments, after which the model is flipped over to fit the wheels that were made up at the beginning, plus a few small brackets that fit onto the chassis  after a bit of folding.

 

 

Markings

There are four basic schemes included, with five vehicles portrayed in the painting guide, serving in France, Italy and Crete during WWII.  The decal sheet is surprisingly not postage stamp-sized, and printed for IBG by Techmod on blue decal paper with good spacing between the decals to ease cutting out.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  1. R100 from 52nd (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery of III Corps of British Expeditionary Force, France 1940
  2. R100 from 61st Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery of I Corps of British Expeditionary Force, France 1940
  3. R100 from 18 Battery, 56 Heavy Regiment, 2nd Army Group Royal Artillery, Italy 1943
  4. R100 from 52nd (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery of British 2nd Army, France September 1944
  5. R100 from unidentified Luftwaffe ground unit, Crete 1943

 

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Decals are by Techmod as previously mentioned, with good registration, sharpness, colour density, and a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

This is the second release from the Pioneer range, working up to the archetypal tank transporter, which I'm really looking forward to.  The detail on this kit is excellent throughout, and from the box you receive all the parts necessary to build the interior and exterior, with just the addition of a few wires here and there if you plan on opening up the engine.  A nice variety of colour options including a captured example, plus a fairly comprehensive PE sheet makes for a good package that's well worth a look.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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