The Scorpion was one of a family of British Recce vehicles that exist under the umbrella of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) programme. The Scorpion was one of two ‘Light Reconnaissance Tanks’ within the CVR(T) and was used to equip the Armoured Reconnaissance regiments (such as the Blues and Royals).
I picked a pack of Scorpions up to use for the Recce troop of 3RTR and only later found out that the troop was equipped with the Scimitar (the other light tank). This does at least allow me to do something of a comparison once my Heroic and Ros Scimitars arrive!
Skytrex sell the Scorpion at £2 for five tanks (or 40p per tank). This is equal to Heroics and Ros (although Skytrex only sell in multiples of five) and significantly cheaper than GHQ (£6.75 for five or £1.35 per tank). Skytrex do charge £3 for UK shipping which is pretty standard.
The Scorpion should be about the size of a standing man and, stood next to H&R infantry, this appears to be correct. Lengthwise a Scorpion should be 4.3m, or about 15mm in 1/300 and the Scorpion measures up correctly here too. Alongside a H&R Sultan (which uses the same chassis) the Skytrex Scorpion appears a lot shorter (comparing track length) so it’ll be interesting to see how the H&R Scimitar looks next to it.
There was a pretty significant mould line that ran around the bottom half of the hull which was impossible to completely eradicate as it ran along the road wheels. The turret was similarly affected but easier to clean off.
The form is where my complaints start to set in. The forward hull should slope down from the turret plate to give a chisel edge look to the tank (the wiki article has a decent three plan view which shows this). The Skytrex model has a very slight gradient to the front which makes it look almost parallel.
The turret of the Scorpion is pretty good with the exception of the cupolas which should be underflush with the vision blocks but instead stick up above them looking like PzIII-esque dustbin cupolas!
The main barrel looks to be about right length but seems to flare out blunderbuss like at the end which took a bit of effort to rectify.
Other major features such as the exhaust and number and spacing of road wheel are present and correct.
The Scorpion is very short on detail, especially the main hull. The driver cupola is reflected by a simple circle and the engine covers have no mesh texture to them, being simple raised rectangles. The main exhaust is a simple cylinder with no reflection of its covers or mesh detail. The track and wheels are very simply depicted with the cover of the front idler being very poor (probably not helped by the fact that the cut out for the wheel got swamped by a mould line). The flotation screen which should run along the edge of the hull all the way round is missing (which would be accurate for a post 90’s version I guess, but not helpful for a 1970’s one).
There are no tools or the hatches reflected except for a mystery block under the exhaust which may be a pry bar or tensioning bar.
The turret is a bit better with vision blocks and smoke dischargers being present if unremarkable. The main gun search light ,hull box and rear turret box have no hatch detail on them.
Overall, there is little to reward the painter and painting the Scorpions was interesting only in so far as they were the first 6mm moderns I had ever painted!
Without seeing the H&R its hard to make comparisons. The hull form and lack of texture/detail (especially compared to the GHQ chieftains that arrived the same day) was a definite disappointment and the awkward position of the hull’s mould line a major annoyance (by no means unique to Skytrex though).
The model is pretty identifiable as a Scorpion, despite the flat form of the hull front and certainly useable on a table top if unimpressive as a painter’s model. If the GHQ price is hard to swallow it’s a viable alternative but it remains to be seen if the equally priced H&R isn’t a better product for the money.
by Lee Parnell