Fans of the German half tracks are in for a treat with one of the latest releases from Bronco Models
. Bronco Models
has released a Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper sWS General Cargo Version onto the market and it carries all of the usual high qualities Bronco Models
has a name for.
Here is the introduction supplied by Bronco Models
The Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper was designed as a cheap solution to fill the gaps between the light Sd.Kfz. 250/251 and heavy half tracks Sd.Kfz. 6/7/9. A design order was issued personally by Adolf Hiltler on May 7th 1942 for the immediate demand of such vehicles on the Eastern Front. The sWS was developed and built by Bussing-NAG, with the first prototype completed in the Spring of 1943. The majority of these vehicles were produced by the Ringhofer-Tetra factory in Czechoslovakia. 3 basic variants existed; an un-armoured prime mover, an armoured version and a mobile air defence platform. The un-armoured version also featured a half enclosed punch formed metal cabin design resembling that of a truck and a wooden carriage. It was powered by a Maybach HL42TRKMS engine and was used for artillery towing and logistics transportation. The vehicle had a simple design for the purpose of conserving resources, but was further simplified towards the end of the war. The sWS vehicles featured great mobility and loading capacities, but only 820 were completed by the end of World War II.
Inside one of Bronco Models
very large boxes with a very nice box top graphic of the vehicle depicted you will find;
- 8 tan sprues
- 1 chassis
- 2 brown sprues
- 2 clear sprues
- 1 photo etched fret
- 1 decal sheet
- An instruction booklet
- A poster of the box top artwork
A general look at the model parts shows no problems with the moulding such as flash or ejector pin marks as Bronco Models
has not presented us with these issues as far as I can see. There is one portion of the parts that look a little soft on detail but more on that a little further in. The Photo etched parts are minimal which will please those who are not comfortable with that facet of the hobby.
Chassis and suspension
The chassis is supplied as a single piece moulding which does ensure that this area of the model is square; I feel this is a good thing as a chassis that is not true can make things very difficult for the builder during the construction. Detail wise this area looks good on the whole with items such as the tubes that house the torsion bars being separate parts; while in this area of the model it is the suspension arms on which the detail appears soft. To be completely honest I am torn between the detail being soft and this particular vehicle type just having a very simple design to the swing arms. On a plus side to these parts a locating pin is included which will ensure the wheels are all at the same height, and for those who wish to depict the vehicle on rough terrain the removal of that pin and a tab of filler will allow adjustment of the suspension swing arms.
Another piece of good news is that the steering mechanism is moveable and so allowing the front wheels to be depicted in any orientation of your choice, and this ability to move the wheels does not appear to have affected the accuracy of this area. The front wheel tyre portion has been covered by using the now commonly seen slices which should result in a nice tread pattern. The road and drive wheels are fairly simple and I believe that this is due to the simplicity of the design and the efforts to drive down costs of the real vehicle. The fuel tank and winch cable drum along with its drive are also very well represented in this model; the only thing missing is the cable for the winch but I should also add that I am a little confused as to what route the cable actually takes.
The tracks included with this model are in a word stunning. The tracks are two part with a contact track portion and then a coupling link; the track links are not workable but the detail is very impressive and being individual links does mean they can be uses in whatever shape suits your build. I am fully aware that individual track links do not appeal to all modellers and indeed put some modellers off, but for me nothing is better for showing track sag realistically that individual links. I know it would be nice to have the option of these or the rubber band style tracks, but if it has to be one only then these are best suited for none live tracks in my opinion. The tracks are attached to a sprue via two gates and so there will be some clean up required, however Bronco Models
has put some thought into these two connection points which should make clean up as easy as a couple of swipes with a sanding stick; That is probably a good thing as the instructions state there are 112 links per run and Bronco Models
has supplied 244 links, so there are some spares.
Engine and Gearbox
This is another area where Bronco Models
has done an excellent job of supplying a great looking engine and gearbox that does not consist of a stupidly high number of parts. I cannot speak for accuracy of the engine but I know it has the ability to look great with a good paint job. One thing I particularly like about this area is the effort that has been put into the radiator, I say that because it is often left out or overly simplified and that could not be further from the truth in this case. The detail put into the areas of the model covered so far will make life easier for anyone who likes to open up their models or for that matter wants to show the vehicle in a destroyed condition.
The cab of this model is fairly basic but not in a bad way. The dashboard has all of the needed detail and Bronco Models
has included decals for the dials, there are a few other details on the dash which I cannot identify. Items like the foot pedals, gear stick and hand brake have been remembered. The seats are an area where I would have liked to see a little wear and tear present rather than the pristine condition they are in, however I believe that a little work with some filler could remedy that situation. The cab is otherwise fairly bare for a large space and could further benefit from some equipment or odds and sods to give it a lived in look. The engine bay created as a part of the cab construction looks the part and Bronco Models
should be thanked for providing the bonnet/hood with the option of being open or closed and does provide some display options.
has tackled this area in a really good way; the wooden areas have a textured finish which while I am unable to say it is wood grain. I do believe it will look convincing once painted and should also take washes and weathering resulting in the possibility of a very convincing finish. One particularly nice touch in this area are the separate latches which will allow you to show all or any of side panel down and for them to be realistic without the need for scratch building. There are two half length benches for the rear of the bed which still leaves plenty of space for you to add a cargo of your choice, the only thing you need to think about is how you are going to secure the load.
Canvas Cover and Frame
This area for me rates very highly for me due to Bronco Models
providing us with the ability to show just the frame work for a canvas roof accurately straight from the box, and providing what I believe is a very realistic looking canvas cover that looks to fit over the included framework. The effort put into this canvas will be difficult to show due to it being moulded in clear plastic; I suspect you like I was are thinking “why clear plastic?” and the answer to that is because there are two small windows in each side and the canvas doors are also tackled by this method again due to the windows. The crease detail and tie downs need to be seen as I do not believe that the pictures will do this area justice; yes it is that good in my opinion. The cab roof is supplied in what I would call the more conventional plastic and again has very good crease detail.
There is a good selection of hand tools supplied with the model, which too the despair of some and joy of others have the clamps moulded on them. It is not all bad news for those who do not like clamp detail moulded on; the moulded clamp detail should be very easy to remove and there are a number of companies that supply generic World War II clamp sets if that is your preferred approach.
There are three finishing options covered in the instructions, however oddly they are all a single colour without any attempt at camouflage shown; I know that Germany was running short on everything towards the end of the war but I would have expected to see some effort to break up the vehicles outline, even if it was just mud rubbed on it. The three finishing options are;
- Western Front 1945
- Wehrmacht 46th Infantry division 1945
- sWS captured by U.S. Forces 1945
Regardless of which option is chosen decals are minimal.
A little searching online makes me believe that Bronco Models
has purchased the moulds for the majority of this vehicle from GWH and then added some touches of their own. The canvas would appear to be completely the work of Bronco Models
, and they have done a great job on it. This model is very well detailed in all respects and regardless of the exact deal that has seen this kit released I am glad they have as GWH models tend to be on the pricey side (in the UK at least). I highly recommend this model to you regardless of its pedigree as it has everything going for it with the possible exception of the suspension swing arms, an area I am not sure of anyway. One inclusion I would have liked to see would have been a driver for the vehicle and if Bronco Models
are feeling generous some crew figures for the rear as well. I think if it was any more detailed you would just need to add fuel and drive it away.