sWS with 15cm Panzerwerfer 42This vehicle is well outside my already limited knowledge about German AFVs and softskins from the WWII period, so I'll quote from Wikipedia:
The kit we're looking at here is an armoured type fitted with a werfer rocket launcher system. I'm a little curious that the vehicle has no Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd.Kfz) designation, but maybe there's an experten here who can put me right? I was very interested in this kit release not just from the point of view that it isn't a run-of-the-mill Sd.Kfz (is there such a thing?), but also because the tooling was acquired from an independent manufacturer and has been previously released under the MACO lable. It appears that the owner of MACO, Matthias Conrad, decided to call it a day and Revell were able to buy up tooling for kits that were sometimes based around their own products, whilst offering something a little more off the wall than a mainstream manufacturer might consider adding to their catalogue. Without any further ado, the box art.wrote:The Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper (Heavy Military Tractor), or sWS, was a German World War II half-track vehicle used in various roles between 1943 and 1945. The unarmored models were used as supply vehicles and as tractors to haul artillery. Armored versions mounted anti-aircraft guns or a 10 barrel rocket launcher (Nebelwerfer). Less than a thousand were built before the end of the war, but production continued after the war of an improved model in the Tatra plant in Czechoslovakia.
Quite a dramatic image of an sWS loosing off a salvo of rockets that shows off the brutish and angular lines of the vehicle. There's only two and a half runners, but the box feels crammed with bits, although the A4 format instruction booklet folded in half pads it out somewhat.
The runners are not indexed. This one contains the armored components, the werfer unit and a whole bunch of ancillaries.
The quality of the moulding, engineering and fineness of detail is very, very good. Some of the parts are insanely small and delicate, so even if you can remove them without damage, they're still very much in line to end up as carpet monster fodder. I think it's this factor that has led Revell to rate the kit at 'Level 4' and this is very sensible in my opinion. Check out not only the tiny and near as scale as you can achieve hatch and grab handles, but also the MG 42 with separate bipod, ammo drum and mounting bracket!
The rest of the plastic consists of one and a half runners with the chassis and running gear. Quality of design is exactly the same, but the mouldings themselves exhibit a tiny amount of flash. It's really not very much, but clean up of some of the very tiny and fragile components is likely to be challenging and in the case of the myriad track links something of a chore. The link and length track parts and the wheels all feature excellent detail. Tools are moulded separately which will get the old hands rejoicing and, but for the flash that needs removing, are exquisite.
Decals are perforce on a small sheet with everything that is needed for the two scheme options offered with the kit.
Instructions are in the now standard format of line drawings printed on semi-gloss paper (that wears well on the bench) with paint guide and colour call-outs referenced to Revell paints with explanatory mixes as required. One curiosity with the kit is that it actually offers two versions, the Panzerwerfer or Munitionsfahrzeug, but there's no mention of this on the box and it's only until you get near the end of the instructions in Step 32 that there's any mention of it. There's no colour option for the Munitionsfahrzeug, so if this is your choice you will need to research it.
I'm a little disappointed there's no plan view to show the topside camouflage blotches, you will need to either research it or wing it.
This is a cracking looking little kit on the sprue, but go easy on those little parts! I think it's quite brave of Revell to go with a kit that would appear (to me at least) to be some way outside of the mainstream, but that's part of the charm. MACO had other variants of the sWS on their catalogue including the earlier un-armored versions, I hope that this one does well enough to encourage them to look at these and the rest of the range in the near future. Revell have couple already lined up and we'll be looking at the Pz KpfW II Luchs in the near future, in the meantime I would suggest giving this one a look in.
Review sample courtesy of Revell.
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