How can you not be swept away by the unending charm that positively radiates from this pint-sized joy machine. The details, of which every one has been laboured over in the pursuit of perfection, are as captivating as they are exquisite. Built with unending enthusiasm, this scale Scammell didn’t come from a kit or from plans, it instead came from the mind of one man determined to build a replica like no other. It’s a celebration of home engineering, a triumph for garage workshops everywhere. It’s magnificent. And it’s even radio controlled!
But the romance of the meticulous detail isn’t the only thing to enjoy here. This smaller than average Scammell exists as a proud salute to its real-world big brother. A truck that was pivotal in wartime logistics despite, ironically, not being designed for military use. It hauled fuel, supplies and even tanks. And it did so with undiluted determination. This replica celebrates that. It’s just… wonderful.
This Scammell came to be, as is the case with all good things, somewhat by accident. The owner and creator of this fascinating vehicle wanted a project, and eventually settled on building this Scammell. A noble vehicle, it warranted the honour. But, being a completely unique idea, there were no plans from which to work. No kit from which to build it. So instead, everything was done by hand.
The starting point was the wheels, all six of them. One of only a few ‘off-the-shelf’ parts, the wheels are meant for a small trailer. Instead, they were fitted with rugged tyres, detailed with additional bolts and fixings to make them look more authentic, and then they formed the basis of the build. By which we mean all the measurements were extrapolated from them. Lengths, widths and heights were taken from real surviving Pioneers, and the numbers were crunched to make them fit the wheels. Clever stuff.
Given the heft of a real Pioneer, it’s safe to say this model is no featherweight either. You will need to move it from place to place on a trailer, or in a big van. But don’t worry about loading and unloading, as the vehicle is, in fact, radio controlled. Though this is to help move it. It’s not, to quote the owner, “for thrashing around the park.” This Scammell plods rather than powers.
It’s taken over eight years to build, and as we’ll explore shortly, that time was well spent. However, spectacular though this model is, the fact remains that it’s done now. It brought its maker joy as a project, but now it’s complete, it’s time for a new build. Hence this unique opportunity for you to bid on it.
It’s small, but it most certainly has an interior. The roof of the cab comes off, exposing the intricate details within. Behind the main cab we have the batteries and the receivers for the radio control system. Ahead of that, there are two perfect scale seats, foam covered for ‘comfort’. There is a dash complete with decorative dials, along with a rope-wrapped steering wheel as per the original truck. The floor is made of teak, which has been varnished to a high shine and looks the part.
Surrounding the driver’s seat there are levers and controls, all painstakingly crafted from brass and other materials. They’re all decorative, of course, but they do indeed look the part. There are even three pedals in the footwell, and while the clutch and throttle are spring-loaded, they are only for show. The brake pedal, however, does indeed function. Should your hamster go for a joyride, it will be able to stop at least.
So much to talk about for such a small vehicle! The body is made from hand-formed metal, and has been treated to the correct number of ‘rivets’ throughout, further adding to the detail. Everything has been expertly powder-coated in a period correct green colour. The removable roof section is metal with a wooden frame, even including hand-formed compound curves that form the forward sections. On the sides of the cab, there are opening doors with functional latches. It’s staggeringly detailed.
The rear of the Pioneer has been built to replicate the recovery body, so there is a functional crane that uses high-tension metal rope and there is more teak to cover the bed, while the sides are detailed with opening storage compartments and even a hand-made fold out ladder, as per the original. There is also a spare wheel mounted on the back. Oh, and for total immersion, the air filter box on the front of the cab features a Bluetooth speaker that has pre-recorded Scammell sounds loaded onto it!
Up front, the grille is a work of art. To replicate the vanes of the original, nine thousand washers – a mix of flat and spring – were threaded over bamboo skewers before being painted matte black. It really looks like a functional radiator! It’s even piped into the ‘engine’. Of course, it’s just a dummy, but it’s been made to scale and looks every bit the real powerplant.
It seems odd to talk about the mechanics of a scale model, but this Scammell does indeed have them. Firstly, there are the detail elements. The transverse leaf springs front and rear that would have been used for towing, or as ‘bumpers’ on the full-scale truck. Then we have the crane on the back, which can be extended, operated and used by hand. The cranks and winches all function.
Then there is the underside of the truck. Resplendent in bright red, it’s all been made from scratch from sheet steel. It boasts the same 6X4 drive configuration of the original truck, with the four rear wheels on pivot chain drive assemblies. The articulation offered by the rear suspension, which sits on the correct number of leaf springs (custom made by the same company that made the full-size versions) is the same as the real deal. A theme that continues up front, with a highly articulated front axle, complete with – we kid you not – power assisted steering.
The drive comes from a stairlift motor and a pair of golf buggy batteries! The motor has a worm drive for the rear four wheels (single speed). This is electronically controlled by a digital speed controller paired to a traditional handheld R/C controller. The steering comes care of two electric seat motors from a Rover 800, which again is operated by the hand controls. It’s incredible to see this truck move under its own power, in a way so modern compared to the original truck of the 1930s.
We must stress, however, the operation is more to aid with loading and unloading of the truck from whatever means it has been transported. It’s not a ‘take it down the park’ kind of thing, and as such, should be treated as a bonus feature rather than a selling point. It makes the truck more usable and easier to display.