Different Modifications for CVR(T), Part 2 - Scimitar by Alan Ng December 2017
It has been two years since I wrote “Different Modifications for CVR(T), Part 1 - Scorpion” .
“Different Modifications for CVR(T), Part 2 - Scimitar” will more accurately reflect on the second gjun tank in the
As this is a continuation of Part 1, I will only refer to or briefly mention areas that have been mentioned before, so as not to repeat again here.
Part 2 – the Scimitar
The Scimitar kit (AF35013) was released by AFV Club, and it shared many common parts with their Scorpion (AF35S02) - and its earlier release under the Revell label. In fact, only Spure E from the Scorpion was replaced by Spure F in the Scimitar kit - which mainly consisted of the gun mantlet and turret boxes. This is very obvious because Scimitar used the 30 mm Rarden cannon instead of the 76 mm gun of the Scorpion, plus the associated gunsight, optical systems, storage bin at the rear of the turret, and the addition of purpose built turret side bins. As mentioned before, the turned aluminium 76 mm barrel was replaced with a 30 mm aluminium turned barrel, NOT 20 mm as mentioned in the instructions, and the Rarden’s barrel sleeve. Last, but not least, the short and wider bin on the LHS hull, the water jerrycan behind it, and the larger 7-inch headlights (same as Ferret/Saladin/Saracen) were included, but without any shrouds around them. This pretty much summarises the differences between the Scorpion and Scimitar kits
If you build the kit straight out-of-the-box, you are going to have a mid-service Scimitar, as seen in Desert Storm and UN deployment to the Bosnia conflict in the 90s. Decals are provided by AFV Club for the traditional Green/Black and Desert markings of the British Army, Belgian Army and UN for both British and Belgian units.
Back-dating the Scimitar (CK3505 Backdate Set) - SMM numbers given below are also included in CK3505)
Pretty much like the Scorpion, you will need the bolted transmission cover (SMM3511) and fibre-glass mudguards (included in SMM3507). Last but not least, replace the more modern Messier dampers (as supplied in the kit) with the old suspension system on the lower chassis (SMM3509). The flotation screen on the upper hull (SMM 3507) was slightly different to the Scorpion as it did not have the thin metal cover around the front quarters (so the whole screen was uncovered), as Scimitar’s Rarden had no issue with blowing out the flotation skirt when firing the 30 mm cannon! In any case, these screens started to be removed from August 1985 onwards. The exhaust extension, solid cover over the exhaust, aerial stowage case, exhaust cover, sledge hammer/axe (all included in SMM3510), small headlights, and even the long and thinner LHS bin etc. all more or less follow the same path as the Scorpion, so these are not repeated here.
Moving onto the turret is where the fun part begins! When Scimitar first entered service, or during the very early stages of its service life, there was no OTIS sight in use, so a few changes are needed. The OTIS mount on top of the commander’s sight (the circular object) has to be removed, as well as the larger rear turret bin (AFV Club kit numbers F1, F7, F19 & F20). Without OTIS fitted, this has to be changed back to the original rectangular bin (E8, E9, E12 & E13) as used by Scorpion. OTIS was introduced from December 1988. There should not be any turret side bins - refer to “Back-dating of Scorpion” in Part 1. Very early crude PVC hold-alls and ammunition boxes were in use, originally. Four-barrel smoke dischargers are believed to have been used from Day 1 on Scimitar (SMM3513). In addition, an extra smoke launcher box (B1) and some kind of storage box (E10) were fixed to the RHS of the turret.
One final note on the 30 mm Rarden cannon. Many modellers complained that the barrel sleeve was rarely seen without a cover, so a simple canvas has to added to hide/protect the barrel inside the barrel sleeve in most cases. A canvas cover over the muzzle was also very common (both in SMM3513).
An early Scimitar, after stripping off all of those storage bins and an almost completely different lower hull with screens, bolted transmission cover and early suspension, looks quite different!
The Falkland Conflict 1982 (CK3515)
Much has been covered in the Scorpion in Part 1 article, with the exception that Scimitar could carry 120 mm/Trip Flare box (C238 Mk.2) boxes (commonly mislabelled as 81 mm mortar ammunition boxes) across the front. Like the float screens, the smaller 30 mm Rarden did not affect these boxes across the front, unlike the 76 mm gun on Scorpion which ripped them open. Latest research revealed that a large fire extinguisher, a water jerry can and a cable reel were carried on the rear turret bin, so check your references on which particular vehicle you are modelling for the placement of various storage and at which stage of the conflict, such as the transmission breather cowl which was kept until the end, though the pipe had been removed at a very early stage. Very common on Falkland CVR(T)s during the campaign, and before and afterwards, were synthetic recovery ropes (SMM3514).
Another general improvement to the AFV Club kit - both Scorpion and Scimitar - is to remove the overly thick trackgurads and replace with photo-etch guards (SMM3516 which also includes mudflaps and reflectors). See the two Falkland pages on this site reference - Before and During the conflict.
Operation Granby (1st Gulf War)
OTIS (Optical and Thermal Sight) 1990
This was the last operating theatre for the Scorpion, while all sort of storage bins, standard or otherwise, found their way onto Scimitar. Even Chieftain bins (F5, F25 & F26) and (C2, C3, C4, C5, & C6) as well as the turret side bins (F2, F13, & F17 and F4, F14 & F16) are included in the Scimitar kit (AF35013). The OTIS mount (F11) together, with a new rear turret bin (F1, F7, F19 & F20) specially designed to house this bulky optic, became standard equipment for Scimitar just before the outbreak of this war. The Messier dampers (as in the kit) were also beginning to be installed on Scimitar (introduced from September 1990 onwards), though the older Armstrong suspension (SMM3509) remained in large numbers as well. However, no two Scimitars were the same, so check references for any particular vehicle. The AFV Club provides you with everything to build a Scimitar in the 1990s, including the later hinged transmission cover. With some good references, maybe some PE sets, you can build many different vehicles from this period.
In a separate development, during 1997 the MoD announced that 170 CVR(T) Scimitars would receive an upgraded thermal imaging system for both observation and gun sighting. The candidate chosen was the Thales Sight Periscopic Infrared Equipment (SPIRE). However, the full 170 vehicle aspiration was subsequently reduced to just over 100 and the later batches were to carry the prefix Enhanced or E-SPIRE.
A number of additional Scimitars were also fitted with the SPIRE system under an Urgent Operational Requirement for service in Bosnia as part of SFOR.
ESPIRE had one new large sight for the gunner (right side) with a moveable protective shutter. The commander kept the normal sight with the OTIS mount still retained (though no longer in use at this point).
TNTLS - Tactical Navigation & Target Locating system. As part of the SPIRE programme, 40 Scimitar were also fitted with a TacNav digital compass and navigation system from KVH. This had a sprung GPS mast fitted to the hull left rear trackguard, while a GPS antenna (PLGR - Precision Lightweight GPS - receiver) is on the turret roof between the commander’s and gunner’s hatches. A Driver’s GPS Repeater Display is slightly right and in front of the driver’s hatch (but not fitted to all vehicles).
ESPIRE was originally fitted to petrol-engined vehicles with Clansman radio (for example, serving in Bosnia with IFOR, 1995-96). Clansman radio was still fitted to vehicles after the LEP
Tracks - As the decade closed, the remaining CVR(T) vehicles were provided with a new single pin track design called the TR10 from William Cook Defence.
LEP (Life Extension Programme) Early 2000s (CK3517)
In the 2000’s, Scimitar went through the LEP upgrade when the Jaguar petrol engine was replaced by the Cummins diesel engine, changing the configuration of the engine deck grilles and adding an air intake to the right side of the hull front. Various stowage bins from Sabre were installed during the LEP - except for the sloped right-hand hull bin which conflicted with the position of the new diesel engine’s air intake. These bins included three small bins across the front of the hull and a LHS bin which was flush with the top of the engine deck. With the purposely-built hull front bins, the original vertical direction indicator lights (which would have been hidden behind the new bins) changed to a horizontal arrangement.
Other modifications were made:
A new barrel clamp on the hull front.
A larger rear hull bin which had an external frame (the previous smaller bin had smooth outer walls).
A larger diameter exhaust pipe (the protrective screen stayed the same).
Shrouds for the larger headlights.
New type of Fire Extinguisher (Foam) - cream in colour.
New tracks introduced from 1996 (AFV Club AF35294).
Bowman radio replaced the previous Clansman system from 2004. This was installed in a box at the RHS rear corner of the turret (CK3519, including turned brass masts), probably because of a lack of interior space in the turret. The introduction of GPS was part of this upgrade. Bowman radio antennae mounts (SMM3520 - also including masts) replaced the previous Clansman antennae mounts.
Operation Telic (2nd invasion of Iraq)
Applique Armour/Under Belly Mine protection Armour (also on the lower hull sides and under the sponsons in 2002). (SMM3529)
Cheek armour for the turret.
Plasan-Sasa perforated armour in 2003 on the hull and turret sides and across the upper front hull.
EPBA (Enhanced Protection Bar Armour) in 2004 and ECM
BGTI (Battle Group Thermal Imaging) – 2004 (CK3518)
Quite large BGTI sights were fitted for both Commander and Gunner, both with moveable protective shutters.
BGTI introduced a full day/night operating capability linked to the Bowman system, and can be easily distinguished by the two large sights on the turret roof, both with moveable shutters. A simple GPS mast sits between the commander’s and gunner’s hatches. There is an interface between BGTI and Bowman. BGTI uses the GPS that was part of the Bowman installation.
New-bulid Spartan-based hull + Scimitar turret with crew survivability enhancements such as bar armour and ECM.
This sounds like the promotion of HKCW/SMM products, but the intention is to provide detailed and hopefully accurate information to help fellow modellers should they wish to build CVR(T) of any particular period.
Osprey New Vanguard 13 Scorpion Reconnaissance Vehicle 1972-1994, Foss, Dunstan, Sarson, ISBN 1 85532 390 7, published 1995
Tanks Illustrated – Scorpion, The CVR(T) Range, Dunstan, Arms and Armour Press, ISBN 0 85368 747 1, published 1986
Museum Ordnance Special Number 23, Scorpion, Scimitar and Sabre, Darlington Productions, Prigent, published 1998
Modern Combat Vehicles 5, The Scorpion Family, Forty, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 1175 3, published 1983
Scorpion and the CVR(T) family, Bob Morrison, Concord Publications Company 1044, ISBN 962 361 044 0, published 1994