Great Wall Hobby 1/35 sWS 60cm Infrared Searchlight carrier 'Uhu'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper (Heavy Military Tractor), or sWS for short, was a GermanWorld War II half-track flat-bed cargo vehicle used in various roles between 1943 and 1945. The unarmored models were used as supply vehicles and as tractors to haul things. The semi-armored version could mount a medium anti-aircraft gun while the fully armored model carried 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.
Among the modifications made to this vehicle was one where it carried an 60cm Infrared Searchlight. In such a role it was the 'illuminator' for IR detector Panthers. The SWs was heavily armored as was the norm for these late war vehicles. Just how many were so modified is unknown.
Though I'm sure someone will prove me wrong, this seems like Lion Roar's first large size kit. They have done a bunch of motorcycles, where the molding and detail are superb. I say Lion Roar as Great Wall Hobby (GWH) is pretty much the same company. Even the web site info is Lion Roar.
Anyway, the kit has excellent molding and is packed with bagged sprues all within yet another bag for protection. The tan plastic is devoid of any molding glitches I could see. The kit is quite light on photo-etch, which will please those that don't like working with it. What pieces are included are limited to some detail bits and pieces that would be too fine in plastic. There is an upgrade p.e. set available for those that want to add it.
It has a nicely formed one-piece hull into which the suspension tubes are inserted. The main tires are made up of several layers of tread that are glued together to provide realistic tread depth and basically eliminates the mold seam on the front tires/wheels. Of course, it also makes each one of these a small nine piece model in its own right. As it is an open vehicle, the interior is complete and nicely done. Everything you'd see by standing outside is included and there are a lot of parts. The instructions show that the engine covers can be displayed open, but since the kit doesn't come with an engine, most will have this closed.
The searchlight and mount take up a considerable number of parts. This is where the big pieces of photo-etch go as they are what are used for the shutters on the light. The mount is also superbly detailed and is placed on a plate that sits atop the cargo compartment of the half-track. The links for the track are separate and it seems they simply snap together, but I'll bet they need to be glued to stay that way.
Instructions are very well done and remind me of those I've seen in Bronco kits. There are 18 very well illustrated construction steps and like Bronco kits, absolutely no color information is provided. This is saved for the full color exterior painting guide with a five view of the vehicle. Inside colors are never given. Color references are for Gunze paints. The small decal sheet is for one vehicle; that one shown on the box art. The box artwork is repeated on the back side of the color painting guide.
Overall, this looks to be an excellent kit. The subject is a bit on the different side, but with so many vehicles covered by other companies, it was probably difficult to find something that would be interesting and German for their first large size kit. I think they found a good match.
http://en.wikipedia.org August 2009
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