Today a german duo from the second half of WWII. A model of the sWS which is an abbriviation of 'schwere Wehrmacht Schlepper' (Heavy Army Tractor) with a PaK 44/2 with PaK being an abbreviation of Panzer abwehr Kanonne (Anti-tank gun). The model of the sWS is produced by MACO (Kit No. 7207) and the PaK 44/2 by (kit no. 72521).
The sWS is the late version of this prime mover which differs from the early version having an armored cab and all steel outer road wheels for the tracks instead of rubber rimmed wheels. It was developed by Büssing-NAG to replace the Sd.Kfz. 6 and 11. This vehicle was to be more powerful, though, about as powerful as the Sd.Kfz.7 if my sources are correct. It has several typical late war features which distinguishes this vehicle from those developed before the start of WWII. These feature are: very wide tracks to deal with muddy and sandy roads on the east front (just as the Tiger I, King Tiger and Panther tracks) and it has a simple shapes allowing easy and fast production. (The vehicle is build-up out of straight shapes rather then over two axes bended steel plate as seen on the Sd.Kfz. series) The later vehicles where fitted with an armored cab. Next to cargo versions, versions with anti-aircraft guns and mortars where build also. After the war an improved version was kept in production by the Czech company Tatra.
The PaK 44/2
On the eastern front the Germans encountered the Soviet 122mm guns which proved to be a formidable weapon, no wonder the German high command issued orders for a similar weapon. A gun was developed with a calibre of 128mm. This was a calibre already in use for the heaviest German anti aircraft or FLaK guns. The gun was already finished before a suitable carriage was availible. One of the German designs had a weight of about 11 tons which made it impractical as a field gun. About 50 barrels where mounted on carriages of captured Soviet ML-20 and French GPF-T field guns. The gun also served as the standard weapon of the Jagdtiger was the heaviest anti-tank gun used by the Germans during world war II.
The MACO sWS model
The sWS from Maco is a very nicely detailed model. The tools, steering wheel, steering pipes and with indicator rods are among the finest plastic parts I've seen. The fender features an bended edge normally seen with photo etched parts only. Needless to say this makes the model not suitable for beginners. Not everything is perfect though. The cabin of the sWS has a backplate for as far I know and this part is missing allowing you to see the inside of the cab. (not necessarily a a bad thing) The pioneering tools attached to the topside of the fenders have to be placed a bit more to the fender edges because the motor hood sits in the way. There are some sinkmarks here and there. Most can't be seen after completing the vehicle but the one in the bumper can, a very little putty can solve this problem, sanding the bumper down a little is also an acceptable option. There are some stamp marks too which mostly can not be seen accept those on the back of the chairs. These marks are difficult to remove because they are in a recessed area. Finally the border between the rubber tire and wheel is not very clear on the inner roadwheels of the tracks, the front wheels are very good. The list of 'downsides' seems to be long but most of them solve them selves. So this is not a perfect one but certainly a good model. MACO is a small manufacturer so the kit is slightly more expensive then it's Revell counterparts. MACO makes a lot of variants of this good looking machine:
- Kit No. 7201 Cargo sWS with unarored cab
- Kit No. 7204 Fully armored sWS with 15 cm panzerwerfer 42
- Kit No. 7206 Unarmored sWS with Flak 43
- Kit No. 7207 Cargo sWS with armored cab
- Kit No. 7211 sWS with armored cab and Flak 43
- Kit No. 7212 sWS with armored cab and Flak vierling
The Ace PaK 44/2 model
Ace is a small company from the Ukrane. There kits suffer from heavy flash but most of them can be made in to very fine models with basic modelling skills. The instructions are a bit complicated since there are no part numbers on the sprue. You can find a layout of the sprue in the instructions with numbers. This is a complicated way of working. With the PaK44/2 these downsides are all there. In addition the instructions are not mentioning that you have to add 2 handlebars on each side of the trailer legs. This particular kit also suffered from sinkmarks in the parts so you need filler. The trailer legs have some big sinkmarks in them as well. The problem here is that the sinkmarks are in very recessed areas. I filled the holes with filler but couldn't remove the excess putty. I ended up making my own trailer legs from plastic card. I didn't recreated the rivet detail because I didn't had the right tools (thank goodness ;) )
An original and rebuild trailer leg. My advice: Don't putty away the sinkmarks in the trailerlegs. They will be obscured by other parts.
I can't recommend this model to beginners or modellers that are not willing to spend time cleaning up and puttying parts. This model is of a lesser quality then the other Ace releases I've build but with the proper attention it can be build into quite a nice representation of a heavy hitter as well. Not a model for beginners!
On to the photo's, click on them for a larger version:
The PaK 44/2:
The sWS and PaK44/2
The Pak and sWS compared with their contemporary counterparts: 3,7 cm PaK 36; 7,5 cm PaK 40, 8,8 cm PaK 43 Scheunentor and Sd.Kfz.7:
The sWS looks very good too with the PaK 43, also an ACE model (kit no. 72215) and is a better quality kit then the PaK 44.