052 Giant Viper and Trailer


The Viper was a mine clearing system often used in conjunction with the AVRE


The Viper was a mine clearing system often used in conjunction with the AVRE , its replacement, The Python is also available. (pictured)

The instigator of many of my kits & conversions is Dennis Lunn, it is to him that I owe the inspiration and details. In addition Dennis has provided much knowledge and help and has built many of the conversions. He has now made notes on the building of some kits and conversions and provided pictures to compliment the narrative.

Dennis’ build notes:

Giant Viper

The Giant Viper was a Minefield Clearance piece of equipment. It was used by the British Royal Engineers. It was designed to clear a path through a minefield approximately 200m long and 8m wide. It has since been replaced by the Python Minefield Clearance equipment.

Giant Viper consisted of an explosive hose, a delivery mechanism and a transportation trailer. It was usually towed by a Centurion AVRE, a Chieftain AVRE, a Combat Engineer Tractor or an FV432, but was not usually launched from behind the 43. The explosive hose was filled with plastic explosive and was 250m long. It was delivered across the minefield by a cluster of solid fuel rocket motors and landing was controlled by three small parachutes. The equipment was stored in a transport crate which was mounted on a trailer. Originally this trailer was a single-axle two-wheeled trailer but was later replaced by a converted Heavy Floating Bridge Trailer which had two close-coupled wheels either side. The transport crate was usually lifted onto the trailer by fork-lift truck or crane and secured to the bed of the trailer by four turnbuckles.

The Giant Viper on the later version of trailer saw action in the Gulf in 1991, when it was usually towed by a Centurion AVRE. (I saw a practice live demonstration in the Gulf, it made the earth move!!!).

It should be decided at the start if the Trailer is to be in the ‘Towed’ mode behind an AVRE and with the three Steady Legs up, or in the ‘Parked’ mode with the three Steady Legs down.

The obvious place to start is to remove all traces of the Print Carrier from the bits of the kit. Time spent cleaning up components is time well spent. I used the Dragon Badger ‘Brush On Filler’ for the shallow marks and a small amount of Squadron ‘Green Stuff’ for the deeper marks.

Make sure that all the holes are cleaned out on the Wheelplates before assembly. When starting the assembly it is better to fit the Axle on the base of the Trailer Bed before fitting the Wheelstations onto the Axle (make sure the Axle will go through the hole in the inner Wheelplate before assembly). By doing this the Wheels will be parallel to the ground when fitting them onto the Axle. I drilled out the centre of the Wheels and opened up the holes in the Wheelstation Plates and the Spacers so that a 1mm rod would go through all the parts. For added strength I applied a spot of glue between the inside walls of the Tyres and the Wheelplates. This meant that the Wheels would not rotate but really improved the rigidity of the Wheelstations. I then assembled each Wheelstation and painted them before assembly onto the Axle.

To mount the Spare Wheel first of all I removed the Spigot at the apex of the A Frame, it was too short and the diameter was too small. I drilled the apex to accept a piece of 1mm rod. I then drilled out the centre of the Spare Wheel to take the 1mm rod. I cut a short piece of ‘C’ Channel and drilled it 1mm. The 1mm rod was stuck to the apex of the A Frame, pushed through the centre of the Spare Wheel, and into the C Channel, which was pulled up tight to the centre of the Spare Wheel to hold it in place on the A Frame. I added a short piece of flat plastic strip 24mm x 2.5mm x 1mm across the base of the A Frame for added strength. The A Frame was then fitted on the Drawbar of the Trailer.

I filled the hole in the top of the Launch Arm and filed the inside of the Launch Arm to achieve a good fit of the Rocket Motor Spigot onto the Launch Arm.

The adhesive I used for Print-to-Print and Print-to-Plastic is EMA Plastic Weld.



Additional information

Weight 100 g
Dimensions 100 × 80 × 54 mm


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