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Maultier

Italeri 1/35 Panzerwerfer 42 auf Maultier Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2010 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Panzerwerfer 42 auf Maultier Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0277 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Limited reissue of this nice Italeri kit Cons Price
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.00

First Look

Maultier
Maultier
Maultier
Maultier

Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the German's advance into Europe, the newly developed blitzkrieg army demonstrated its mobility across the battlefield. As the front lines advanced into the Soviet Union, the muddy landscape soon revealed the shortcomings of these vehicles, most notably their trucks. While purpose-built half-tracks were rapidly coming online, the Germans also developed a parallel solution in the spirit of their recycling of obsolete and captured equipment.

The solution was quite simple - convert many of their existing trucks into half-tracks. These vehicles were based upon the several truck types, mainly Opel, with the rear axles removed and replaced with tracked running gear from surplus Panzer I tanks. These vehicles were designated Sd.Kfz.4 'Maultier' (Mule).

In 1943, the Germans started converting some of the Maultier vehicles into specialty armored combat vehicles. These converted half-tracks were given an armored shell and some special-purpose mission equipment. One of the more notable configurations was the Sd.Kfz.4/1 which mounted a ten-tubed Panzerwerfer 42 rocket launcher system atop its rear deck. By the end of 1944, over 22,500 Maultiers were produced with around 300 built with the Panzerwerfer 42 system configuration.

Italeri has reissued one of its classic kits in the form of the Opel Maultier Sd.Kfz.4/1 mit Panzerwerfer 42. This kit has been off the market for a few years and it is nice to see it back, even for a short production run.

The kit is molded in a light gray styrene and is presented on two parts trees, plus a set of vinyl track and rubber tires. The detail is finely molded and there does not appear to be any flash on any of the parts or trees. Ejector pin marks are mostly limited to areas that will not be visible when the kit is assembled.

The Maultier features a nicely detailed chassis that includes the Panzer running gear that replaced the rear axle. Under the hood is a nicely done engine that an AMS modeler will want to detail up with wiring and hoses.

I'd like to say that this kit had a detailed driver's station, but even the full-sized Maultier didn't have much detail there either. Nevertheless, the interior of the armored shell includes stowage for rocket rounds.

The kit features positionable upper deck hatches, engine access doors, and rear access doors. The Panzerwerfer rocket unit can be rotated and elevated.

The kit provides marking options for two examples:

  • Sd.Kfz.4/1, Self-Propelled Rocket Unit, Russian Front, 1944
  • Sd.Kfz.4/1, Self-Propelled Rocket Unit, Western Front, 1945

It is nice to see this kit back on the market as it is an interesting subject given that we have one nearby in the World War II Victory Museum (look here).

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

Reference

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