Great Wall Hobby 1/35 sWS w/37cm Flak
|KIT #:||L 3521|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes two small photo-etch sheets|
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 a single 37mm flak gun, a modification done to many other types of large halftracks and some fully tracked vehicles. These mobile anti-aircraft guns were difficult to find and were also quite effective against troops when used in that role. Just how many were so modified is unknown.
The kit has excellent molding and is packed with bagged sprues all within yet another bag for protection. The plastic is devoid of any molding glitches I could see. The kit is 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. The kit does come with individual link tracks so hose will take up a considerable chunk of the total parts count. The kit also includes a full torsion bar suspension just like the actual vehicle.
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 the standard cargo version and not the armored 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. However, Great Wall does have an engine kit that can be used with this vehicle.
The chassis has photo etch for the side panels in the back where the gun is mounted. These can be displayed either down flat for the operational position or up for the transport mode. This extends to the superbly done 37mm gun as well, for there is both a travelling and a firing mode for these guns. There are some modifications that are needed for these modes so it is important that the builder choose one prior to starting on the kit.
Instructions are very nicely drawn with clear construction sequences. Any modifications or alternate parts are clearly shown. There are no color clues provided during construction, something that as an aircraft and car modeler I find quite odd. There is, however, a superb full color painting and markings guide offering color information in Gunze, Tamiya and Vallejo paints. There is a small and generic decal sheet providing instrument dials and license plates. Just one markings option is given and that is the one on the box art.
This is the third or fourth (I think) sWS kit done by Great Wall. It is a very nice kit and of a subject that is both a bit unusual and interesting. I am sure you will like it.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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