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HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Scammell Commander with 62-ton Crane Fruehauf semi-trailer plastic model kit review

A complex, challenging kit of a unique tank hauler
Kit:85527 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$254.99
HobbyBoss (Sample courtesy of Model Rectifier)
A detailed replica of a large, complex subject
Instructions vague in spots; complex photo-etched metal parts
Injection-molded plastic (tan); 790 parts (73 photo-etched metal, 28 vinyl tires); decals
The Scammell Commander entered service in the British army in 1984 as the tank transporter capable of hauling the new, heavier Challenger main battle tank. Reportedly, 125 Scammell Commanders were manufactured, and the transporter remained in service until the 2000s when the Oshkosh M1070 replaced it.

The HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Scammell Commander with 62-ton Crane Fruehauf semi-trailer plastic model kit is a massive beast that builds into an impressive replica of the large transport vehicle. The kit’s plastic is well-molded with some impressive slide molding for the tractor’s cab and hood (or should I say “bonnet” since this is a British subject?). There is an extensive number of photo-etched (PE) parts, with some that are extremely small! (See pic.)
And then there are vinyl tires: 28 of them! That includes two spare tires for the trailer, but unfortunately, the spare tire for the tractor that is usually mounted on the trailer’s gooseneck is not included.

I started assembling the trailer because it’s less daunting than the tractor. Nicely engineered, it does have major ejector-pin marks on the large parts. Fortunately, most are on the bottom and won’t be seen unless you turn it over. However, several visible ejector-pin marks on the trailer's gooseneck beams need to be filled.

Moving on to the tractor, the kit does not include an engine and starts assembly with the ladder frame, suspension, and drivetrain. Particularly detailed, pay special attention to ensure all the wheels will sit level on the ground.

The battery cases have incredibly tiny, delicate hooks to secure them to their frames. The kit provides no cabling for the detailed winch assembly, which is a noticeable omission. However, it is easily replicated, along with airbrake hoses for the trailer.

I found building the exhaust challenging. The photo-etched metal brackets that separate the mufflers cannot be used as provided; I replaced them with scratchbuilt plastic equivalents. Still, once complete, this subassembly looks impressive.

Finally, assemble the cab and the hood and add them to the frame. In general, the kit’s color callouts for detail painting were anemic, missing in many cases, and wrong in others. The biggest mistake was calling for plain gray seating when the upholstery should be a “sexy,” 1970s-era plaid. I did a crude approximation by masking various overlapping stripes.
Photo-etched metal screens separate the top portion of the cab behind the front seats. When closing up the cab, getting the screens and support posts aligned with the floor was another challenge. The PE grille at the front of the hood lacked meaningful support and required me to add reinforcing framing to ensure it stayed in place.

All the decals went down nicely over a clear gloss.

The HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Scammell Commander with 62-ton Crane Fruehauf semi-trailer plastic model kit was a very challenging subject to build due to its size, complexity, and some of the kit’s flaws. I spent 85 hours assembling it over five months, taking several breaks to complete other kits. It’s the largest, most complex kit I’ve built in my 50+ years of making models. However, I am pleased with the result. I recommend it to any experienced modeler who’s up for a challenge and needs something to haul their Challenger 1 or 2!
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