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Mike

Schweres Wurfgerät 40 (35273) 1:35

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Schweres Wurfgerät 40 (35273)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models

 

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The Schweres Wurfgerät was a portable rocket launcher that could be set up and taken down by a small crew, and launch three 23cm or 32cm Nebelwerfer 41 crates from a simple angled framework.  These were spin-stabilised rockets that carried either high explosive warheads in the smaller diameter, or 50 litres of an incendiary mix of oil for the larger 32cm rocket.  Both types are suspended in wooden crates of the same external dimensions, so they were interchangeable without any adaptation to the launcher, which fitted three abreast, and could be targeted by changing the angle of firing.  The rockets were launched by an electric signal, and due to their rather noxious vapour trail the name nebelwerfer literally means "smoke bomb".  These weapons were used in stand-alone framework launchers as in this kit, as well as attached to the side of a half-track, which gained the nickname Stuka zu Fuß, "Stuka on foot", and cobbled to an artillery piece, as reviewed here.  Their smoke trails made it likely that they would attract return fire, so mobility was key, which led to the easily transported versions finding favour, and the self-propelled half-track version even more so, which probably makes this one the most unsafe for its crew to dilly-dally after firing.

 

 

The Kit

This is a new kit from MiniArt, but there are some shared parts with their recent German Rocket Launcher with 28cm WK SPR & 32cm WK Flamm (35269), as per the link above, due to its use of the same crated rockets.  With the addition of the framework launcher parts and a set of crew figures, they have created this alternative firing method, which makes it even more likely that they'll be pinning these same launchers to the side of an Sd.Kfz.251 in the near future.  Inside the modest box is a weighty twenty sprues in varying sizes of grey styrene, plus a decal sheet and a short instruction booklet.

 

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Detail is good, and all you'll need in addition to complete the build is a length of fine wire to replicate the firing lead.  There are six of each of the 32cm and 28cm warheads, made up from four parts apiece, and surrounded by a framework crate that consists of slightly different internal structures to accommodate the different diameters of the rockets.  The frame is very simple, with a separate cross-bar with lugs to hold the crates low on the frame, and a self-entrenching tool at the bottom that hinges to accommodate the different trajectories.  The frame is propped up with another C-shaped frame that has multiple right-angled sections welded along the vertical length, which attaches to the main frame via a short peg and wingnut top, allowing the modeller to choose their own launch angle during construction.  Another two pegs are driven into the ground, with just their tops depicted in the model, in order to stop the spade from slipping during firing.

 

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There are five figures on the largest sprue in the box, with a couple of extra crates that aren't used into the bargain.  There are four crew with one at each corner of one of the crates, carrying it with the flip-down handles that will need to be glued in the extended position during construction, rather than vertical for launch.  The last figure is of course the officer bossing everyone around, with hand on hip and finger outstretched because in his mind the launch frame is obviously very difficult for mere soldiers to find.  Two of his underlings are without tunic, while the other two have their tunics still on.  One of each pair has a cap on, and the officer has the peaked cap, long boots and riding pants to pick him out from the rest.  As always with MiniArt, the sculpting of the figures is excellent, and the natural poses will help with realism once they are sympathetically painted and placed in a diorama setting.  Each figure is broken down into torso, head, separate arms and legs, plus cap, and in the case of the officer, a pistol in a holster on his belt.

 

 

Markings

The rockets were usually grey, while their crates could either be natural wood or dunkelgelb, while the launch frame could be anything from German Grey, olive green to dunkelgelb or bare wood.  The decals are stencils for the rockets and their crates, with white or black lettering on the crates, depending on whether you have painted them a light or dark colour.  The figures are dressed in standard Wehrmacht colours, which are called out in an ensemble picture showing their final arrangement, which has been lifted from the box picture.

 

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Decals are by Decograph, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

If these odd weapons appeal to you (like they do me), it's another interesting alternative launch method to add to the cabinet, and a good model into the bargain.  The crew figures add a little human scale to the model, and would look good on some rough field, or amongst the ruins of a city or town.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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