From the outbreak of the Second World War, the British Army already had the tried and tested Daimler Dingo within its ranks. However, Daimler alone could not meet the demand for reconnaissance vehicles and so other companies were approached to produce a vehicle with similar range and capabilities. One of these companies was the Midlands based Rootes Group, parent company for names such as Talbot and Singer, who in 1942 had built a vehicle similar to the Dingo only slightly larger and heavier, the Scout. Production of the Scout continued until 1945 by which time at least 4,298 were made. 1,698 of these were Mk. Is with the remainder of the production being Mk. IIs with an improved transmission system. The Scout was a two-man vehicle and armed with 7.7mm Bren light machine guns mounted on a Parrish-Lakeman cradle located on the roof.
I first saw this model on a kit-building forum and was attracted by its unusual looks and diverse application in the field. The company distributing it are a Czech based company called SKP which only has a few products in their catalog as a newcomer manufacturer but offers things a little different from the main players such as the Scout.
On opening the box I was greeted with two frames of light grey plastic, a detailed color booklet, dry transfers with three vehicle options and a small photo etch sheet from Eduard. The kit itself is cast fairly well though there is still room for improvement. All the major detail was present and correct and the plastic itself is very strong, similar in density in fact to a Tamiya kit though there was a lot of tags and flash from the molding process. I appreciate that the shape and angles of the Scout does make SKPís job of casting it a hard one, but I think they have tackled the subject very confidently and competently although it would've been appreciated if they'd cast part numbers onto the sprue to make identification easier.
From the outset there were a few fitting problems. I would have to say this kit is not for beginners due to the amount of filling and sanding that is required to achieve a decent finish between parts. I spent a lot of time test-fitting each piece before glueing, in particular with the main chassis where I found most of the problems. On the plus side, I liked the fact that much of the surface detail, such as hatches and panels, are glued on afterward. This meant that I had a flat surface to work on without having to worry about sanding a corner off a door hatch and could achieve nice crisp corners. I had to be careful and not leave gaps around the applied detail that normally would be cast as one piece. I overcame this with the aid of great patience and a bottle of Mr Surfacer 1000 applied with a small sponge around the problem areas. The surface texture on the model was some of the best Iíve seen, so it was a shame to loose some of that with the Mr surfacer and sanding process, but you canít have everything!
Depsite this, the main body of the kit went together very quickly. After two night's hard work, I had the basic construction of the hull and undercarriage completed. Extra care had to be taken when fitting the independent hatches onto the hull to make sure that they were not stuck on at an angle. I achieved this by forming a little handle made of bluetac onto the outer surface of the hatch, making gluing them a lot easier. The axle assembly was a more complicated affair with certain parts requiring some scratch building and drilling, further emphasizing the fact that this is not a beginnerís kit. Some of these parts could have been cast without the need for modification by the builder but weren't. In addition, the kit requires bending wire around the axle to form a mounting bracket. While this offers greater authenticity and detail in the end, no wire is supplied in the kit and no plastic alternative is offered.
By looking closely at reference pictures, I added a few panels here and there which were omitted from the kit itself. These were recreated with thin styrene sheet for the panels and rod for the bolt heads. I wanted to try and create an accurate depiction of the Scout which meant a few parts needed to be altered. Areas such as the headlights received extra attention as well since some of the parts were simplified in the molding process. I enjoyed the researching for the proper appearance of the item and getting down to some scratch building to add to the base kit in an attempt to improve in this area.