scale modeling database | stash manager
Rick Taylor (MasterGunner)

WW1 US Skeleton Tank

Late in WW1 the US determined that there was a problem with current tanks. The British designed rhomboid tanks were good at crossing the enemy trenches but were so heavy that most got stuck or broke down in no-mans-land. The French FT17 light tank usually made it across no-mans-land but couldn't always cross the enemy trenches. The US looked for a tank that could do both.

Pioneer Tractor Company tried to solve the problem by hollowing out the rhomboid. The tank used standard iron pipe and plumbing connectors as a frame with an armored engine/fighting compartment suspended in the frame. Pioneer completed a prototype in October 1918 and submitted it for testing. It was fast by WW1 standards and crossed the trenches well. However, its limited ability to carry armament doomed the project. The single prototype is preserved at Ft. Lee.

This is another great kit from Vargas Scale Models. It is a CAD design and is 3D printed in brittle gray resin. It builds up into a nice representation with minimal effort allowing you to spend more time on painting and weathering.

I primed the parts with MR Surface 1000 from a rattle can. After sanding out any remaining striations, I gave it a coat of Mr Surfacer 1500 black rattle can as a preshade. The model was painted with AK Real Colors RC024 Faded Olive Drab. I gave it a dot filter of Winsor & Newton oils. After sealing things in with a coat of Future, I gave it a pin wash of AK Streaking Grime and weathered it with various AK Streaking products and pigments and splashed it with AK Earth Effects. The tracks were painted with Tamiya XF84 Dark Iron followed by a coat of AK Track Wash. AK pigments were applied to the tracks and fixed with AK Fixer. The cleats were rubbed off and dry brushed with Model Master Steel.

It turned out well. I'm happy with the kit and the results.

Album image #1
Album image #2
Album image #3
Album image #4
Album image #5
Album image #6


Mark K
Delightful - congratulations on another splendid model!
13 November 2021, 02:41
Alex Rodionov
Very interesting, rare and vell done model. Thanks for the story.
13 November 2021, 05:52
I agree with Mark and Alex! 👍
13 November 2021, 11:18
Rick Taylor
Mark, Alex, Neuling, Thank you! It was an easy build which allowed me to spend more time on the weathering.
14 November 2021, 02:21
Rui S
Interesting model, and nice weathering 👍
14 November 2021, 02:22
Ben M
I've wanted to build this one but they seem out of business. It was in a book of tanks I had as a kid and I found it fascinating.
14 November 2021, 02:54
Rick Taylor
Thanks Rui! I've been working on improving my weathering techniques.
14 November 2021, 18:55
Robert Podkoński
Frankly speaking I have been hoping to see the model of this monster here 🙂 Thank you, Rick! Looks fabulous!!!
14 November 2021, 18:58
Rick Taylor
Vargas Scale Models is still in business. You can find their products for sale at Jeff V's Corner Store

Vargas also sells directly on eBay

I'm not seeing the Skeleton Tank for sale right now.

14 November 2021, 19:05
Rick Taylor
Thanks Robert!

I just messaged Vargas. He is boxing up a batch of Skeleton Tanks now. So they should be available within days.
14 November 2021, 19:17
Ben M
Thanks, Rick. Your skeleton tank looks fantastic.
15 November 2021, 01:32


6 images
1:35 Skeleton Tank (Vargas Scale Models R3D-046)

All albums

View all albums »