|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes photo etch frets|
The Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper (Heavy Military Tractor), or sWS for short, was a German World 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.
In addition to the basic cargo role, the vehicle was also adapted as a mount for the medium 3.7 cm FlaK 43 anti-aircraft gun, which was placed at the front of the cargo area on a mounting with a large gun shield. The sides of the cargo compartment folded down to give the crew more room to maneuver. Ammunition was carried at the rear of the cargo area.
As most of you know, Great Wall is actually Lion Roar, so you know it is of excellent quality. 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 undoubtedly 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 3.7 cm FlaK 43 and mount take up a considerable number of parts. This is where the big pieces of photo-etch go as they are used for the screens that go around the outside of the open bed and for the empty shell catch screen on the right side of the gun. The mount is also superbly detailed and is placed on a plate that sits in 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 20 very well illustrated construction steps plus an addendum sheet. 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.
Those folks I know who have built the sWS kit previous to this one have raved about how nice a model it makes. It should as it seems to have all you need right in the box. I'm sure you will be equally thrilled with it.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line store.
March 2010 If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page