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Vargas Scale Models- 1918 Skeleton Tank

Kit Number:
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Vargus Scale Models
Retail Price:
Reviewed By:
Steve Santucci

 Vargas Scale Models- WW1 Skeleton Tank

Vargas Scale Models 1/35

The Kit

Basic simple and minimal parts and the haters are going to hate the small part count, purists will turn their nose to the 3D printing but how else do you find such odd one-off vehicles? 3D printing has brought subjects to the market, especially the WWI and inter war years. So let’s dive into the kit

 The kit… The parts are as follows, 3 versions of gun mounts, a hatch and the turret and of course the body which includes the driver compartment and super structure. As it goes with almost any kit there will always be some level of clean up. Warm water and soap is suggested to remove any residue that may interfere with the painting of the vehicle. 


 Additional cleaning before construction and such falls under the removing and cleaning the supports from the build plate to the part. Next only a few surfaces contain print lines, there are several methods one can take to deal with them. The manufacturer suggests automotive primer. I usually scape and sand using 200-600 grit sand paper and flexible sanding sticks. Once that is completed it is time to assemble the parts. 

 I researched the Skeleton Tank, there was only one built and resides in Ft. Lee Virginia. It was on display for many years at Aberdeen. It is currently undergoing restoration. The tubular structure with its steel box and wooden façade and numerous bolts is eye-catching, at least for me. The turret may be presented in four configurations, the first is no turret, and the second is just the turret minus the gun mount. Three gun options are present. As little is known as to what one it would have had in production, choice is a matter of accuracy or interest.  

 Use CA glues to attach the parts but use care!!! Once it dries and the parts are in their secured the next stop is the paint shop! 


 It is here in the assembly process that the most work will be conducted that is in the form of paint and weathering. There are several photos showing the tank in various situations including testing in a field. Therefore, the options are not too limited. One can choose dirty testing, off the production line ready for testing, post testing... the choices could be endless...or pay homage and recreate the Aberdeen static presentation. 

Painting: My research and discussions have varied in color. I used a dark green but recently and more like much after the build I discovered that from 1919 to the mid-1930s tanks in the US army were base painted a Dark Olive Drab. I base painted black as I do all my assembled ground based kits. Allows me to see any imperfections and ensure near 100% coverage of the vehicle. After 24 hours and a good look over and last minute clean up and touch up I move to painting the areas that are to be wood with a proper color then follow with the old technique of hairspray. Let dry the proper time, then move on to the base coat. 


 Next, after a good day of curing I move to the weathered and used look. I give areas a a green wash and very minor wear on areas that may see some scuffing and rubbing. Then I move to the wood sides and carefully using a stiff brush, remove small areas of the paint to reveal the wood underneath. I then use a darker color to give the wood different looks of age and exposure. Next is grime, grease and rust in the most appropriate areas and places. Finally, I work in a little bit of dust as I chose a very light wear and weathering. 


 I know many have their opinions on kit building… are you an assembler or a builder its all a matter of perspective and opinion. What I like most about this kit was it allowed me to learn more about the early tank development and work on techniques new to me. I look at some of these 3D kits as palettes that allow creativity and experimentation. The kit was a quick build but I spent more time on the research, paint, weathering and such. I have built several 3D kits and enjoyed them for the very same reasons as above. Neat, different, unique and providing a canvas to test, experiment and enjoy the hobby!




Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to Vargas Scale Models for this review kit.

Reviewed by Steve Santucci


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