Tom Modellbau 1/35 88mm Raketenwerfer 43 'Puppchen' Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||December 2006||Manufacturer||Tom Modellbau|
|Subject||88mm Raketenwerfer 43 'Puppchen'||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||05||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The kit comes in a small tray and lid type box. The box art shows a black and white illustration of a Puppchen in action with a three man crew. Truth in advertising was not in effect for this kit, because you do not get any figures in this kit.
In 1944 the Anhaltisch/Westfalische Sprengstoff AG of Reindorf (also known as WASAG), submitted a design for the German Army requirement for a light anti-tank gun. This particular design, by Dr. Erich Von Holt, was original in its approach. The idea was to use a “Raketen Panzerbuchse 54”, better known as an “Ofenruhr” or “Stove Pipe”. Similar to the American 2.36 inch Bazooka. The tube, unlike a pipe, had a simple sliding breach block, which, when closed, sealed the rear of the weapon. This gave the specially prepared 88mm hollow charged rocket a greater velocity and range than the standard Panzerbuchse 54, which had a velocity of 110 metres/second and a maximum range of about 150 meters. The Raketenwerfer 43 “Puppchen” (doll), had a considerably better performance with a improved muzzle velocity of 180 metres/second and an effective range of 700 metres.
The ring stabilized 88mm rocket projectile was competent to perform admirably along side its conventional cousin in penetrating armor plate up to 160mm thick with the advantage of a single round only weighing 2.60 kg.
About 1,000 “Puppchens” were believed to have been manufactured. The accuracy and the high performance of the weapon was quickly learned by the OKH Oberkommando des Heers, (Army High Command) on July 1st, 1944 stating that “The special badge awarded for single-handed destruction of an enemy was not applicable when a Puppchen was used in its destruction”. So good was this weapon.
The advantage of the Puppchen, with the breach loading arrangement, presented several disadvantages over conventional light anti-tank weapons. A relatively high recoil required the weapon to be mounted on a wheeled box section carriage which increased its weight considerably. However, as a mobile weapon it proved itself to be relatively easy to maneuver and bring into action quickly. The Puppchen could be fired with or with the wheels being mounted. On the Russian Front it was often mounted on skis (like the configuration of this kit).
The kit contains two identical light cream colored trees of parts and the instruction sheet.
The instructions is a single letter sized sheet printed on both sides. The front of the sheet starts with a line drawing of the Puppchen, followed by the history of the weapon in German and English. The back of the sheet has a drawing of both of the identical parts trees and six assembly steps. You will have to keep referring to the parts tree drawings, because the trees themselves have no part numbers molded on them next to the individual parts. These trees appear to have had some parts removed from them at the factory. I’m thinking that it was perhaps the parts for the 3 figures shown on the box art? If that is so, why were they removed?
This Tom Modellbau kit is the first time and only time I have ever heard of this brand. The instruction sheet mentions that Tom Modellbau made at least seven other kits at some time. I have not seen any of their kits listed anywhere however. I think the company went under, and out of business.
At the time, this was the ONLY kit of this weapon in model form. Since then, the Puppchen is available from DML in two different kits. The first one is kit no. 6097. This kit is a duplication of the box art of the Tom Modellbau kit. You get the Puppchen on skis and a three man crew (so, no sad lament about the unavailabilty of this Tom kit). I have since purchased this DML kit. The second kit from DML is kit no. 6117. You get a Kettenkrad pulling a Puppchen that is on wheels. A third kit is available from RPM. This one is kit no. 35041. It contains a Pz.Kpfw. TKS(p) (ex-Polish tankette) pulling a Puppchen on wheels. So, things have improved over the years for the availability of this weapon in kit form.