Friday 24 May 2013

Matilda Scorpion Flail Tanks

The revolving drum and chains on a Matilda Scorpion
The mine-clearing flail concept was first devised by a South African officer, Captain (later Major) A. S. du Toit. While du Toit went to England to develop the idea, Captain Norman Berry, a mechanical engineer who had been sent to South Africa in 1941 to evaluate the system, championed and experimented with the idea. Later Major L. A. Girling was tasked with developing the concept and it was Girling's team that eventually produced the Matilda Scorpion.

The first prototypes were mechanically unreliable and kicked up so much dust that engine filters blocked and crews had to wear their gas-masks in order to breath. But the flail had proved itself and the design went on to be improved and revised for the Grant tank and later the Sherman and modern variations on the concept are still in use today.

These 1:300th scale (6mm) Matilda Scorpion Flail Tanks are from Heroics and Ros and I bought them on a whim (I saw, I wanted!) when I was at Salute a few weeks ago. Initially and rather stupidly I only bought two models and only later realised I would need three for a Platoon. At this small scale its almost impossible for the vehicles to be cast showing the flails spinning so these models just show the chains hanging down as if at rest. But I wanted to inject a little bit of movement into the finished models, so instead of adding the flails I have added the dust kicked up by their rotating chains. I used the same method for making these clouds that I used on my Dust Cloud bases a few months ago, only these are much smaller and have been shaped to fit around the flail drums and the tank itself.

Matilda Scorpion Flail Tanks begin to enter the minefield
In Flames Of War mine flail tanks do not need to take a motivation test to enter a minefield. They are well trained and confident of their armour’s ability to withstand any mine that their flail fails to detonate. A mine flail tank that crosses a minefield without being hit by a mine has cleared a lane through the minefield in the same way as a Pioneer team.

Passing through the minefield...
..and out into open desert.
I'm really happy with how these turned out and I'm looking forward to incorporating them into my British Infantry Tank Company. 


  1. I love that you have put dust clouds in front of them. Clever idea!

  2. Those are really nice, mate :D

  3. These are really great! Good idea well executed.

  4. Those are top notch! Bought them at Salute?...a plus for 6mm! Easy on storage and fast turnaround from purchase to deployment!

  5. Excellent - love the dust effect...

  6. Great looking figures...and idea!

  7. Nice looking figures. I agree the dust clouds really are a great idea.

  8. Very nice indeed. I especiall like the dust clouds, read the article on that. Will remember that tip. Great. Thanks alot.

  9. The idea of the clouds was great and so well carried out


  10. Brilliant, real sense of motion...


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