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sWS Kit

Italeri 1/35 sWS with Panzerwerfer 42 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject sWS with Panzerwerfer 42 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0356 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent German halftrack model detailed inside and out Cons No clear parts or crew figures. Modelers must assemble their own license plate numbers. Model is Out of Production
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $26.00

First Look

sWS Kit
sWS Kit
sWS Kit
sWS Kit

From mid-1944 a number of sWS halftracks were equipped with a factory mounted armored cab (8-15cm). The engine, radiator and driver’s compartment were enclosed in light armor plate. The armor was welded, except for the engine cover which was bolted. The body consisted of a flat bed covered with steel plates.

This heavy German halftrack was produced in limited numbers towards the end of WWII. It was supposed to substitute the heavy 5 and 8 ton halftracks in service with the Wehrmacht since the start of the war. Three basic types were made: rocket launcher carriers with ten 15cm tubes, anti-aircraft version with a 3.7cm Flak 43 and a heavily armored cabin, and not-armored tow units for heavy artillery pieces.

Typical features of these “Wehrmachtschleppers” were greater mobility and increased loading capacity. Limited parts availability, due to the war effort, made simplification and reduction to basic components necessary. The rocket launcher carrying sWS was built in very small numbers.

sWS was the abbreviation for Schwerer Wehrmacht Schlepper (Heavy Army Carrier). The full name was a real mouthful: Armored Schwerer Wehrmacht Schlepper sWS (Gepanzerte Ausfeurung) with 15cm Panzerwerfer 42 (Zehnling).

Italeri is a model company based in Italy. This particular kit was imported through their U.S. distributer Testors, according to a little sticker on the side panel of the box. It’s copyright date is 1998.

The kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The boxart shows an sWS parked in a woods at night and firing the Nebelwerfer. It is in overall earth yellow with small narrow German cross on the side with the nickname “Thor” above that. It carries a Luftwaffe license plate on the front, with the WL prefix. However the plate is partially covered with caked on mud and some of the numbers are covered. Side panels have one paragraph histories of the vehicle in 12 different languages (including English) that are labeled with color illustrations of the flags of the countries that speak those languages. It also says that the kit is not for kids under 3, but is aimed at modelers 10 years old and above. Italeri’s address appears on the side panel too.

Inside the box are two large light tan trees of parts that fill the tray tightly to the 4 walls. There are also 2 identical medium sized light tan parts trees, the decal sheet and the instructions. None of the parts trees is cello bagged. This is a common fault that runs through the majority of AFV model kits that Italeri markets. Parts get knocked off the trees due to friction between them and clear parts wind up getting scratched. However, there are no clear parts in this kit. There is a little sheet, printed on both sides, that has “Important information about this kit” in no less than 20 languages.

The instructions consist of a large sheet that accordion folds out into 10 pages of 7 ½” x 12 ¾” format.

Page 1 has the history of the vehicle in 10 languages (including English).

Page 2 begins with “attention” paragraphs in 11 languages (non in English), followed by the parts tree drawings of the two largest parts trees.

Page 3 begins with the parts tree drawing of the identical medium sized parts trees and a couple of international assembly symbol explanations. Below these is a paint listing of Model Master brand colors suggested to use to finish the model. The bottom of the page has the first assembly step.

Pages 4 through 9 give a total of 14 assembly steps.

Page 10 is the marking and decal application instructions and drawings. There is one 5-view line drawing of a pretty generic scheme. The sWS is shown in overall earth yellow with a small thin German cross on the sides of the cab with the nickname Thor above the cross. You are supposed to compose your own WL license plates with the separate numerals and WL- that are on the decal sheet. Not something I…or for that matter…most modelers will not appreciate doing. Bad move Italeri! These drawings are said to be just of a sWS with the German Army, April 1945. There is a small rectangle with an alternate camouflage scheme of sand, medium green and military brown shown on it, that you could choose to paint the model.

The first large tan letter A tree holds: chassis parts, hatch doors, suspension parts, tools, drive shaft, fuel tank, rocket rounds, cabin seats, control levers, dashboard, steering wheel, cab roof panel, muffler etc. (136 parts)

The second large tan letter B tree holds: the fighting compartment floor, roof and doors, ammo racks, armored vision flaps, rear crew step, rear door panel, engine hood parts, Nebelwerfer parts, dashboard etc. (63 parts)

There are 2 identical medium sized tan letter C parts trees. They hold the front rims and tires, the road wheels, drive sprockets, idler wheels and link and length type tracks (60 parts per tree)

The decal sheet completes the kits contents. There are no clear parts or any crew figures included in the kit. There was a tissue sheet in the kit, that was supposed to protect the face of the decal, however it was floating around loose and not protecting anything…sigh.

This is a neat German halftrack variant. Highly recommended to all modelers of German WWII AFV’s. The detailing, inside and out is excellent.