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Scammell Pioneer Recovery Truck

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Hi everyone, i hope that all of you have been enjoying the modeling during this last lockdown, and i hope that some of you have been able to go to some model shows now. One of my lockdown projects was the IBG Scammel recovery truck in 1/35th scale.

The kit is fairly basic, but taking into account the cost, it is acceptable. I decided to add some extra detail to the chassis and the Gardner diesel engine, as there was a reasonable representation of this in the kit. Not long after I purchased the kit, I managed to purchase the booklet Army Wheels in Detail, Scammel Pioneer number AW18 from Capricorn Publications, at the Abingdon IPMS annual model show. I found this most useful for the detailing I wanted to do.

The chassis assembly is straight forward, with no real issues (yet) about the fit of the parts. The front axle and rear swinging beam axles were fitted at a later stage. At this point I had not yet decided to add the brake rods etc.

The engine came next. After initial assembly, I added a drive shaft between the front cover and a shaft running below the injection pump, based on a photo of under the bonnet of the real thing and from looking in the above mentioned book. This shaft drives the air compressor which is water cooled, so various pipes and coolant pipes had to be scratch built and added. The real engine has injectors inside the rocker cover, which is still sometimes the case on some modern truck diesel engines. I have a tin full of coils of copper and steel wire of different sizes, so a suitable diameter (about 0.4mm) section of steel pipe was cut from a coil. I then straightened it by rolling it between a hard surface and the flat of a steel rule, and cut into short lengths. Using a 0.5mm drill bit, I drilled some holes into the outlet tops of the injector pump. Holes were also drilled into the join between the cylinder head and rocker cover for each of the six cylinders. The pipes were then bent and trimmed and secured with super glue.

There is a lever at the front of the pump which is the throttle linkage. This was made from a small piece of scrap PE, with a hole drilled through the top and bottom of the lever. It was attached by a pin to the pump through the bottom hole. The linkage then goes to another lever at the back of the pump, (also made from PE) which connects through some rods to the throttle pedal inside the cab. These rods were not added until the cab was in place and the rods attached to the bulkhead .There are some springs attached to these rods, but were too fine to accurately reproduce here, so they were omitted. Some extra pipes were added for the fuel lines from the pump to a scratch built fuel filter. On the right side of the engine is a water pump, which is spiral in shape. I found a bit in the spares box which looked similar, and it was adapted and added to the engine. When the engine and radiator were fitted, the top and bottom hoses were added, but you cannot really see those on the completed model.

The chassis has a winch amidships, which is powered by a shaft from the gearbox. I coiled some medium thread around the winch cable drum before fitting it into the frame, which eventually came out through the two roller guides at the rear of the chassis. The winch clutch operating rod is on the top of the frame and locates into the back of the cab. The levers were once again made from PE and the rods of wire. There is a bracket on the chassis on the left side with a rod going to it, and there are some springs also attached to that side between the levers and brackets. I had a go at making the springs from fine copper wire tightly wound around a straight piece of thicker wire. It was not a resounding success but they are there, even if you cannot see them properly.

Assembly continued from there. The rear swinging beam axles were assembled and the brake operating levers were made from wire, one for each of the four wheels. The linkages and brackets made from thin steel wire again. Apparently the Thunder Models version of the Pioneer has a lot of this included in the kit, along with a much more detailed engine.

The axles themselves have no locating pins or pegs, or indeed anything to secure their location onto the rear road springs. This is one of the criticisms I have of the kit. I felt that these might be weak points and could break away from the springs easily, so I decided to pin them in place. I marked up their position and drilled a hole into the axle in the gap between the beams, up into the base of the spring, and pushed a steel pin through. Before cementing them in place, I had fitted the front axle, which has a road spring transversely mounted on top of the axle which then just sits in a central location on the underside of the frame. Unless you want the vehicle leaning on its suspension, ensure that axle is parallel to the frame. Then on fitting the rear axle assemblies, I temporarily fitted the road wheels to ensure all six wheels sat on the deck together .It seemed to have worked reasonable well anyway.

The rest of the construction of the body parts and cab were again straight forward. I did not add any extra detail in the cab as the doors are fixed so not much can be seen inside.  The rear body is just a series of boxes; I had thought of modifying one to be open but decided not to in the end. Once the body is mounted, the rear mudguards are PE which were easy to fit, but I found the mudguard stays, also in PE were a bit more difficult. There is a carrier bolted to the chassis at the front which holds up to seven balance weights. The majority of this frame is made from PE, which I found a bit tricky.

The jib goes together easily after some cleaning up, and can be retracted or extended. The mechanism for extending the jib is a set of gears driven by a handle mounted on the box towards the front of the jib. It uses a chain to extend or retract the jib, and I managed to find some small chain in my spares box. This was attached to the top of the jib by a little PE bracket (a real pain these were) to the gearbox, then another length from the gearbox to the PE bracket at bottom of the jib. It was left slack as all the photos showed it like that. There is a cable guide on top of the jib, which IBG omitted, so one was fabricated out of scrap PE again.

The spare wheel carrier is PE from the kit. There seems to be some differences between vehicles when you look at photos of them. Some have the spare wheel on the roof, some to the left of the body at the rear, (as with this kit), and some have it mounted centrally at the rear, when a triangular shaped towing bar is carried. I mounted the wheel in the position shown in the instructions, but when I get round to making another Pioneer, I will mount the wheel in the middle and scratch build a towing bar, as these were used extensively on civilian versions.

The other criticism I have of the kit is the weak mounting points of the front mudguards. The mudguards turn with the front wheels, so are mounted to the top of the front hub by two stays that angle down and join the hub at one point. The mudguards have no real mounting points, you are expected to butt join them to the top of the stays. I thought these would be weak points and that I could be forever repairing them. So I cut some thin strips of spare brass from a PE set, and gently curved them to the shape of the underneath of the mudguard and down onto the stays. When a reasonable fit was achieved, they were cemented into place with superglue. The joints are now much stronger, but I think I may have moved the weak point down to the front hub where the stays are fixed on. Time will tell.

After final assembly, the model had a couple of coats of Halfords grey plastic primer. The chassis had been painted before assembly in light olive, and the engine painted a blue/grey colour which is what original Gardner engines were. The injection pump and compressor below it were painted dull aluminium. The engine had been weathered with thinned down washes of dark brown and grey. The exhaust was given a coat of rust weathering powder and oil streaks with brown and black washes. The central winch was dry brushed with gunmetal, as was the cable. Chips and scratches were added in various colours including rust. But once again, not much is visible with the body in place.

The body and cab were also given a coat of plastic primer, and then sprayed with Tamiya XF49 khaki. The contrasting colour of the camouflage was Tamiya NATO black, which is actually a dark grey (and is good for painting tyres.), was sprayed freehand for a soft edge. During the weathering stage, (the decals were applied before the weathering started), the khaki was much darkened by washes of thin black and dark browns. The NATO black areas were washed with a mix of lighter tones, greys and light stone for a streaked look. A thin black pin wash went over and into all the recesses, and then the high points were dry brushed with the base colour lightened by adding some white or light stone. A couple of coats of varnish were next. The dust accumulation on the bottom of the doors and panels is Humbrol dust wash, and is, in my view, very effective. A dust mix was also made from Humbrol weathering powders, equal parts of sand, white and dark earth. This was applied with a soft brush over the inside of the cab, inside of the rear body, the roof and the bonnet. The balance weights were painted in different colours, some being very faded and a couple were in desert yellow, as was one of the road wheels, just for a bit of variation. I have a thing about wheels and it could be argued I spend too much time on them. The tyre treads were picked out in a mixture of sand and dark earth weathering powders. The rims weathered with pin washes of darker versions of the base colour, and also chips of rust added around the rims and around each wheel not. The tyre walls are treated to a dust wash and accumulated in the area where the tyre meets the rim. The tool or equipment carrier box on the off side underneath the driver’s door had a few items added from the spares box. These were also brushed with the dusty mix powder. The netting slung over the body and part of the towing bar was just a little bit of bandage, in which I wrapped a thin piece of blue tack. This was then soaked in water and PVA glue and shaped over the bar to give it a heavy look. The whole thing was then given a couple more coats of matt varnish. As is usual, I mask off the area on the windscreen and give it a quick flick over with the airbrush with thinned light earth, although in some cases, matt varnish is sufficient.

I decided to show in on a base. This was made of a piece of MDF, onto which I glued a piece of cork cut from a roll. This gives a nice rough texture a bit like concrete, which it was meant to be. The sandbag wall is a resin piece I picked up at one of the shows, not sure when or where! The cork was sprayed white, black and then with a bit of yellow and all sorts of colours brushed, dabbed on with a sponge and whatever else was around. I originally had a “captured” BMW motorcycle slung on the back of the Scammel, but changed this to a Bronco Triumph 350 dispatcher’s bike. That had a damaged front wheel, not done deliberately, as I had difficulty in assembling it with the, (you have guessed it) PE spokes! Whilst assembling the Triumph, a small piece of the rear carrier shot away from the sprue when being removed. No amount of searching ever revealed it, so I had to fabricate one from the steel wire. Fortunately it fitted ok and cannot really be noticed on the finished model. Another victory for the carpet monster The Triumph was going to be shown standing against the sandbag wall, but it was swapped for the BMW, which is now being repainted from German camouflage to olive green. The damaged wheel is in the back of the truck.

Altogether, the model was quite enjoyable to make, despite its small shortcomings. I will at some stage in the future purchase another, maybe the Thunder Models version, but this one will be in civilian colours.


Laurence Cassidy.

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Seeing your excellent work on the 1/35 Scammell Pioneer Recovery Truck is an inspiration. It looks really good, especially the fine detail. The setting in your diorama really works well too.

Can't wait to start my IBG 1/72 version of the same vehicle (and then the IBG 1/72 Scammell Artillery Tractor and the Tank Transporter)- but loads to clear away before I start any more or I'll get even more confused in the man-cave than I am already

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Supermodel! That's a real showstopper. I like the weathering very much, the complications of the bike and stowage, it all looks very realistic to me. I'd give this a First Prize anytime.


I've never heard of this manufacturer before so thanks for that. 


Incidentally, your garden table with the grass underneath looks very much like 1/35 scale deep water, should you ever need an ocean backdrop.


You wrote a good deal of text for us but I found this quite hard to read on screen in one solid block of text. I do realise that you were using paragraphs and would like to suggest a line space between them for ease of reading.

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Here was I thinking too many words, where's the pictures & then they arrived (or I scrolled down. ;) ) & what superb pictures they were of a superb build. Scammell has long been a favourite & you has caught it wonderfully well. :)


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That really is very nice indeed.  Very well done.


A subject that has intrigued me for a while.  IDF had at least 1 in their early days, which attracted me.  I was thinking of the Thunder Models kit but that seems to have didsappeared from shelves since the company appears to have folded.


You don't mention after-market parts.  There are many for this kit.  Did you use any?


Would the wheel nuts have been picked out in red (outer) and white (inner), especially being REME?  (or were recovery companies still RASC at this time?)

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Thank you all for your kind words, I am sorry if the text was too long, but I took the easy way out and used the same text as I used for the article that I had written for a modelling magazine.

There were no after market parts used on the model, other than the bits as described in the text. I am not sure if any parts are even available. I would like to make the Thunder models version, but did not realise that they had gone down. 
This model will be at our clubs show on the 2nd October, see the Abingdon IPMS website for details. Thanks again.

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That is brilliant work. So much detail added. Well done. I have the Thunder Models version in the stash so this IBG comparison is interesting. I have done the Thunder models transporter which I would recommend. I have heard that overall Thunder are better than IBG but it's all in the eye of the beholder.



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