Rich H of the Ribble Warriors – a notorious plasticard-wizard who you may have heard from time to time on the Downorder Podcast, has produced another conversion – a Grant Scorpion III.
Rich H: As some of you will know from my previous projects I have certain guidelines when it comes to choosing my next project:
1. It’s got to be rare.
2. It’s got to be rubbish (usually why it’s rare).
3. It must have seen combat action at some point.
4. No one makes a suitable model of it.
This one fits neatly into all four!
The Grant Scorpion was a development of the Matilda Scorpion tank flails first used in the desert, which were later developed into the Sherman Crabs used throughout Europe and finally culminating in the ferocious Churchill Toad after the war.
This model is an early Grant Scorpion III and utilised an external engine pod with an operator sat in it. The later models moved the engine to the back deck and the controls into the tank, then added a second engine for more power and finally utilised the tank engine as in the Sherman Crabs.
The first things were a good clean and de-flash – fortunately being a Warlord model there was little of either to do: some minor flash around the tracks and a couple of resin gates to trim off. The rivet detail is incredibly tiny and crisp! Then, using epoxy I glued the tracks on; I prefer epoxy as it gives a little time to correct mistakes and isn’t brittle like superglue can be.
The 75mm gun mantle had to go which was a little fiddly to get to but, seeing as it’ll be plated over, neatness wasn’t that vital. I also drilled out the turret where the barrel sat to make a stronger join and clipped the Lee cupola MG off and fitted it alongside the main gun (some pictures show the 30cal barrel protruding). The hull was now ready for the next stage.
Building the arms
Finding decent drawings proved impossible so I made the best of what I had, using a single low resolution drawing from a Russian website and as many reference pictures as the internet could get me (not many!). I set about building the latticework arms. Many of the Scorpions are subtly different as I assume they were built in various, different depots. I picked one with a nice clear picture and worked from that.
The latticework arms are made from styrene angle and styrene strip, I just picked the size that looked closest without being too thin and spindly. The first one turned out OK but then I discovered a better picture and realised I’d made it wrong (angle on the outside) so I built another. It’s generally easier to start afresh than to correct the mistakes with any degree of neatness! It was just a case of cutting strips and assembling the arms and engine box again which was a bit tedious, but not that bad compared with some I’ve done in the past (my T-50 was by far the worst to date!).
A few rivets were trimmed from the side of the tank and the engine box glued in place. The crew were added and the build completed.
I don’t fancy the flail operators seat, he’s in a metal box in the desert heat with a radiator for the V8 Chevy by his knees, protected from the flail by nothing more than a thin metal shield! That’s probably why he looks thoroughly miffed!
My previous Sherman Crab had a working flail but even by my standards that was a little extreme. So pinching an idea from the internet I simply added some wadding from SWMBO’s sewing box cut into circles. This was nice and quick to make and has the added bonus of protecting the front of the tank from knocks. The working flail took hours of soldering tiny chain links to a brass tube so I’ll not be doing that again!
I’m no great painter, I paint to table top standard only – I’d rather be building!
Colour schemes appeared to be two tone Tan and Brown so I used a base coat of Desert Sand and patches of English uniform brown. Tracks were painted brown and dry brushed dark silver with the rubber blocks painted dark grey. The whole thing was then given a strong tone wash and a light sand dry brush. I then applied an Allied star decal to the rear deck (Introduced for the invasion of Sicily following friendly fire incidents in the desert) a serial number on the side and a star on the turret sides. No idea how accurate these are but given the dearth of pictures it’s hard to tell for sure. I then realised the pictures generally showed a pintle Browning so I added a 50cal from the bits box.
This Grant was built for Sam ‘Downorder’ Lancashire’s ‘The End of the Beginning 2’ event: North Africa and the Invasion of Sicily, where four Grant Scorpion IIIs saw a little bit of action. So mine is going to be kept clean as it’s just rolled off the boat (also I don’t trust myself not to mess it up!).
Despite the minor false start on the first arm it’s turned out very well. On the whole I’m very pleased with it!
My next project is the T-18E1 Boarhound.
It’s rare, rubbish, saw a little bit of action and there are no models in 1:56 or 1:48, but I’m always looking for new projects – if you have a suggestion or any questions about my builds find me on the forum!
Rich has also offered a suggested rules profile for the Grant Scorpion, in case you want to try this beastie for yourself!
Cost: 140pts (Inexperienced) 175pts (Regular) 210pts (Veteran)
Weapons: Turret mounted Light AT gun and Co-axial MMG.
Damage Value: 9+ (Armoured)
Mine flail – when you give this unit an advance order you can activate the mine flail during that turn. When the mine flail is active it automatically clears any anti-personnel minefields it moves into. If it moves into an anti-tank minefield section, it clears it automatically but the flail is destroyed and cannot be used any longer in the game. The model cannot fire in its front arc in the same turn it activates the mine flail.
– May add a pintle-mounted HMG for 25 points
The Grant Scorpion III can be taken in any British North African and Invasion Sicily theatres in place of a Grant or Lee tank.