Hobby Boss 1/35 Land-Wasser-Schlepper (LWS) #2 Prototype
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Individual plastic links.|
In its combat operations during WWII, the German Army faced countless water obstacles, especially in the undeveloped tracts of Russia. Many attempts to overcome such water tributaries were made, and one of them was via amphibious vehicles. Though not as well known perhaps as the Landwasserschlepper, one of these amphibious vehicles was known as the Panzerfähre, which translates as “armored ferry.” This vehicle was essentially an armored amphibious tractor that was designed as successor to the aforementioned unarmored Landwasserschlepper. The Panzerfähre (PzF) was designed to work in pairs, with a self-floating pontoon nestled between them. In this way, they could ferry vehicles and light tanks across water obstacles. The PzF utilized the hull of the Panzer IV. However, as Germany’s tanks gained in weight as the conflict wore on, plans for the Panzerfähre were dropped in 1942 as it wasn’t capable of carrying the heavier tanks then being produced. All in all, only two prototypes were completed, and the Panzerfähre never entered series production. Both examples saw service on the Eastern Front from mid-1942 onwards.
Molded in Hobby Boss' usual tan plastic, the detailing supplied on the parts is really first rate. The kit also provides a small section of rope to attach to the deck stanchions. These stanchions are hinged so that the builder can raise or lower them if so desired. Also moveable are the aft intake tubes. Hobby Boss continues its superb packaging by having the one piece hull and the deck section segregated in a cardboard enclosure to keep it safe.
Most of the construction will be with the individual track links. Unlike the Dragon kit, the Hobby Boss kit is basically a simpler kit to build. By that, I mean that there are fewer parts with the Hobby Boss kit. For instance, the suspension attachments for the hull are molded in place on the Hobby Boss kit and separate on the Dragon kit. The intake tubes are three pieces with the Hobby Boss kit and five with the Dragon version and so on. From what I see, both will make excellent models.
The Hobby Boss instructions are superbly drawn with ten construction steps on one of Hobby Boss' long fold-out sheets. Additional detail drawings are provided where needed. As usual, no color information supplied until we get to the separate color and camouflage guide. This is in full color and provides a number of different paint brands from which you can choose. It is basically overall 'German Grey' with a variety of other shades. The small decal sheet provides two insignia for the sides.
Overall, this Hobby Boss kit is a superbly molded and nicely detailed kit. It should be a relatively quick build when compared to a similar tank kit and is a rather unusual subject to say the least. Is it better than the Dragon kit? No, it is just different and a bit less complex when it comes to parts design and count. I'm sure it will end up being a fun build.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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