In-Box Review
M56 Scorpion
M56 Scorpion
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by: Andras [ SPONGYA ]


The M56 Scorpion was an attempt to supply a gun platform for the US airborne forces that can be easily transported by airplanes, and can be deployed using an air-drop. This requirement pretty much made it impossible for the vehicle to be armored, so it is essentially a gigantic 90mm M54 gun on a dodgem chassis. Crew comfort (and safety) also took second place to the size requirements that came with the airborne deployment option.

The M56 was developed and manufactured by the Cadillac Motor Car Division of GM from 1953 to 1959. It was a small, fully tracked vehicle (with a rare feature: its road wheels had tires on), powered by a 200 hp engine, with a maximum road speed of 45 km/h. It had a crew of four: commander, driver, loader, gunner. The ergonomics of the vehicle were, letís put it lightly, not very good. The loader had to disembark before the gun fired, and jump back holding the ammunition. The gun recoil also endangered the commander. The only part that can be considered armor on the vehicle is the gun shield, which has a large windscreen cut into for the driver negating its effectiveness somewhat; the rest of the self-propelled gun is about as armored as my Nissan Micra.*

The M56 was in service in the USA, Spain, Morocco, and the Republic of Korea. It was used in Vietnam by the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

There are not many models available of this little AFV; Iíve found a very expensive resin one in 1/35th scale by Hobby Fan, and thereís an old OOP (and quite inaccurate) Revell kit; other than that thereís the 1/72nd scale OKB kit reviewed here.
*I have nothing against Micra; I love that car.

The Box

The model comes in a surprisingly small cardboard box, with the parts safely packed into Ziploc bags, and protected by bubble wrap.

The Kit

Considering the size of this vehicle the number of parts (especially the amount of PE) is nothing other than astonishing. The model is made up by approximately 70 resin pieces and about 70 PE partsÖ all this is in a model that can almost fit into a matchbox.

The resin is smooth, dark, and very crisply detailed; the PE frets are the thinnest Iíve ever seen. (Itís quite easy to crumple them, so be careful.) The tracks come as resin sections which need to be warmed up before shaped to the running gear. The detail is excellent, and there is very little flash anywhere.

The model does come with instructions (not something that's a given with resin kits). The instructions are very detailed; they are computer generated, which makes them outstanding, and also unusual in the resin kit world. In my sample both the cover art and the instructions were badly faded, which makes the assembly a tad more difficult.

The sheer number of parts and the small size makes me a bit cautious about the build, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. It promises to be a fun challenge, and the end result will be a rare -and tiny- model of a lesser known vehicle.
Highs: Very detailed model, good instructions, very extensive PE.
Lows: The instruction sheet is faded, the price of the kit is high.
Verdict: Absolutely recommended for experienced modellers. Perhaps a bit of a challenge as a first resin model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  PUBLISHED: Aug 19, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Andras (spongya)

I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andras [ SPONGYA ]. All rights reserved.


Yes, this one was mentioned in the review... 180 dollars ain't exactly cheap.
AUG 20, 2016 - 07:19 PM
Why not just have the M54 gun towed behind a tractor instead of fixing it on a light chassis with a terribly high centre of gravity? If Russia's in the EU then your island is an Anerican state
AUG 21, 2016 - 01:10 AM
It was supposed to be air-portable. And who uses towed anti-tank artillery anymore? Don't think the center of gravity was that high. The whole vehicle was 4 - 5 ft high; much wider than it was tall.
AUG 21, 2016 - 04:00 AM
Yeah, it is about the size of my Micra, actually. (Well, minus the gun. I really feel the need of having one driving in London, though.)
AUG 21, 2016 - 01:15 PM
DITTO! Would be nice to see a PLASTIC M56 in 1/35. Just PLEASE, not from BLACK PLAGUE! DRAGON, BRONCO, AFV CLUB, (AFV CLUB is a subsidiary of HOBBY FAN, so they could use the HF kit as a basis), or any one of the other major manufacturers would be just fine...
AUG 24, 2016 - 05:20 PM
Panda/KittyHawk showed off a photo of a Scorpion back at IPMS Nationals a few years ago that was supposed to be a future release
AUG 24, 2016 - 09:19 PM
LINK When the M56 fires at the end of this video, it looks like my 11 year old daughter when she shoots my 12 guage shotgun!
AUG 24, 2016 - 10:28 PM
"Terrain not meant for Sunday drivers"
AUG 24, 2016 - 11:19 PM
Off Topic- How did you make out with obtaining The New TMD parts that you were wondering about?
AUG 26, 2016 - 12:53 AM

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