For those of you who are aware of Lion Roar, you will know that their kits are usually very detailed and quite accurate, utilizing both the standard and slide injection moulding process. The same quality continues with their new line of kits, labeled Great Wall Hobby
The Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper sWS general cargo version (sWS) is one of the new releases under the Great Wall Hobby brand and comes boxed in a durable 24x37cm box with attractive artwork of the sWS in a "loading up" scenario, along with some information about the kit.
For a bit on the basic history of the sWS, here is a segment borrowed from Mr. Charles Reading (with permission):
The sWS was developed and built by Bussing-Nag, the first prototype completed in spring of 1943. Three basic variants were produced: an unarmed prime mover, an armored version and an air mobile defense platform. Although the sWS vehicles featured great mobility and loading capacity, only 820 were completed by the wars’ end.
The contents include 9 sprues moulded in grey styrene, one single piece chassis, one clear sprue, and one photo etch fret. After careful examination of the sprues, I can simply state that the moulding is akin to that of newer DML kits, if not better. With only a couple of exceptions,seam lines are basically nonexistent, which is brilliant for tubular items like torsion bars, tool handles and the mounted fire extinguishers.
Ejector pin marks are few, or well hidden on surfaces that usually wouldn’t be seen. The worst pin marks on the kit are around the cab area, underneath the front mudguards, and some on the firewall separating driver and engine. After taking a few cuts on a piece of sprue, the property of the styrene appears to be softer than DML's and easier to work with, unfortunately this means you need to be more careful with your knife!
The lower hull/chassis is well moulded in one piece with crisp details. No visible ejector pin marks and only one piece of styrene bridging a gap to remove.
contains the basis of the running gear, with some suspension components, a brilliant addition of a 6 Piece wheel with moulded in segments for greater detail. Two sprue A’s are included.
contains a large amount of small vehicle fixtures, notably a well moulded Notek Light, and horn, a few cab components including various gears and levers. Also included on this sprue is a fuel tank and spare wheel housing.
is the only clear sprue and contains two rectangular windows along with two headlamps. The headlamp lenses have a very good moulded horizontal lined pattern.
contains supports, fixtures and a bulkhead for the cargo section of the truck. Here the real winning factor of the kit is displayed, the woodgrain on the sWS is really fantastic and crisply moulded. One down point is that it is noticeably repetitive. Notably, there are pin marks on the interior surface of the canvas roof cover for the cab.
consists of the main cab superstructure including some very nicely slide moulded headlights, although on my example they are ever so slightly misaligned. The radiator is nicely moulded, as is the tread plate on the floor of the cab. A real bonus to the kit is the airholes on the side of the cab access doors are moulded open, and need no further opening up whatsoever.
is a relatively simple sprue containing most of the main components of the cargo deck and sides. This sprue is covered in woodgrain, and when I first opened the box I was very
impressed. There are a series of ejector pin marks on the underside of the cargo bay floor, but I believe these will be covered by other components quite well.
contains two fire extinguishers, a pick, a crowbar, an engine crank, two wire cutters, one hammer, one axe, and two shovels. They are very sharply done with moulded on clasps, (but they look good to me), and some very light seam lines, (and I mean very light).
contains a jack which is moulded in 6 pieces. The 2 mounting pieces have the wing nuts moulded brilliantly on. Some parts of the jack utilize slide moulding, and in general it looks to be well detailed and accurate.
The two sprues containing the tracks contain two different units on each sprue, the part of the track with the teeth, and the connectors to place in between those. The tracks are well moulded, but unfortunately there is an ejector pin mark in the middle of every link with the guide teeth, this is one of the big let downs of the kit (from an in box perspective anyway).
The small PE Fret contains 11 parts, including two number plate holders, and some items with a tread plate pattern, the fret is coated on either side with a small layer of film, which is a godsend as all those little bits won’t fly away when cutting them off the fret.
The very small decal sheet includes number plates, technical data stencils, some dials, and some US stars for a captured variant.
The instructions contains only 7 pages, which is quite refreshing for a new release, as usually the kits of today contain not an instruction manual, but an encyclopedia! The front page sports the box art and on the inside cover is a sprue overview and a parts list, the usual "caution" and warnings on the top of the first page, along with a key. The assembly instructions are simple, clear and well numbered, with sub assemblies lettered in a square box, no painting instructions are provided at this stage.
The painting guide is visible upon opening the box, and is a clone of the box art on one side while the other side contains basic painting and decaling instructions with three different marking schemes:
• West Front 1945
• Wehrmacht 46th infantry division 1945
• sWS captured by U.S. forces 1945
All are finished in dunkelgelb overall. Also included on the kit painting instructions are the painting instructions for the Miniart crew.
A great addition to the kit, and a great collaboration with MiniArt, the crew consists of 5 figures and 2 200 litre fuel/oil barrels. The figures supplied in the kit are of men at work, (and no, not the Australian 80's band), posed as the following:
• 1 Man rolling a barrel.
• 1 Officer jotting down notes.
• 1 Man holding a rope (the rope is not included but suggested on artwork)
• 2 Men pushing a barrel up a ramp.
The poses are very articulate, and look well balanced and natural to me. The man rolling the barrel being my favorite, and although his uses are limited, would make a great addition to any dio where barrels of some kind are involved.
The officer has a well sculpted face and looks to be in his late 40's, jotting notes in a small handbook. He is wearing the attire of a high ranking officer and sports what looks to be the "order pour la merit".
The chap "hauling rope" looks to be waiting to haul the rope, as he has a slight hunch to the shoulders and seems to be a little relaxed to be hauling a 200L barrel up a ramp.
The last two figures, the men helping to roll the barrel onto the loading bay are designed to be used in unison, one being a "pushing on the left" and the other being a "pushing on the right". They both have good, natural poses, and MiniArt have done a very good job on the "flow of the figures" with appropriate twists in the fabric.
The Barrels look fairly good and have what appears to be the correct labeling, and they are both slightly dented.
The moulding looks good, with minimal flash and a few seam lines which should be easy enough to deal with. The faces overall look good with all the features well defined for styrene. The uniforms have various strengths and weaknesses, the join between the jacket and trousers is particularly poor, but I guess that’s due to the restrains of injection moulding.
Some figures lack belts, or they have belts and are poorly moulded. This is the biggest worry I have with this set, as the box art and instructions do not correspond on this matter. The box art shows all of the crew wearing belts, in contrast to the small MiniArt picture on the side of the box as well as the instruction guide where the belts are not shown. It is a possibility, I imagine, that the crew would not have worn belts to aid freedom of movement.
The instructions for the crew is basically nonexistent, with only a small segment of the sWS painting guide dedicated to finishing the crew. There are no sprue numbers on the parts for the crew either, so beginners may struggle in putting these together. Overall, these are still a good addition to the kit.
A Build Log
has been started in the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.