Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale
‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6284; Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen
40 - 3-in-1 kit
by Cookie Sewell
866 parts (771 in grey styrene, 68 etched brass, 16 clear
styrene, 6 DS plastic, 2 turned brass, 2 foil stickers, 1 turned aluminum);
price estimated at US $34-38
Advantages: another triple option kit from DML (actually
only two), new moldings for the wheel assemblies and other detail parts
Disadvantages: lack of solid information on the systems
tends to hurt the modeler in building the kit; many small detail parts
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and rocket launcher fans
F I R S T L O O K
The Germans were not the first army in the world to use
rockets in a tactical situation, but they were the first during WWII to
use heavy rocket launchers in a close support role.
The first two rockets fielded came out in 1940. They were
the Wurfkoerper Spreng, a high-explosive rocket with a 28 cm warhead weighing
55 kilograms, and the Wurfkoerper M FL 50, a napalm-type incendiary mixture
fired in a 32 cm warhead weighing a bit less but carrying 40 liters of
filler. Both rockets used the same solid-fuel rocket motor, but were ballistically
awful and underpowered, providing only a very short range with high levels
of dispersion. Maximum range for the HE one was 1925 meters, with a CEP
of more than 80 meters; for the incendiary, it was 2200 meters with a
CEP of over 100 meters. (CEP is circular area probable, which means only
half of the shots would get within 40-50 meters of their intended target;
result – you have to shoot more than one round to ensure you might
Rockets could be fired from a number of different mountings
with a device giving an interval of 2 seconds between shots (that was
to let the mount settle down in order to minimize dispersion by the rest
of the rockets.) Early mounts – Wurfgeraet 40 and 41 – were
four-shot fixed frames with only elevation adjustment, firing from the
ground. Later, a bigger mount, the 28/32 cm Nebelwerfer 41, was created
with racks for six rockets of either type or a mixture of both. Finally,
due to the short range and vulnerable situation it put the crew into when
firing, someone came up with the bright idea of mounting six launchers
(actually the open packing crate/launcher frame the rockets were shipped
in) on a saddle mount fitted to an Sd.Kfz. 251 series halftrack. The idea
worked, and was officially dubbed Schweres Wurfrahmen 40 or SWR 40; unofficially
it was nicknamed "Stuka zum Fuss" or "Stuka for the infantry."
Due to the fact that they were fragile and added nearly
three feet to the width of the vehicle, the rockets were not mounted until
just prior to going into action. The frames would be preset for a specific
range and the carrier would move in to range of the target (minimum range
was 300-400 meters, which was just possible from the mountings but not
recommended). The driver and commander would line up on the target, and
since they had armor protection could fire the rockets from within the
vehicle. For bombardment the crew had a remote firing device and could
launch them from up to 10 meters away from the vehicle. They were heavily
used in Russia, as the frames could be quickly fitted to nearly all standard
hull 251 series halftracks of any model (e.g. Ausf. B, C, or D.) Normal
mixture was five 28 cm HE and one 32 cm incendiary per load.
This is a popular model as it "dresses" up any
251 halftrack and makes it more interesting, and this is the third version
in this scale. Nitto came out with a B model fitted with a very crude
set of 32 cm rockets back in the early 1970s (each consisted of only two
parts, four part packing crates, and a very sketchy set of "saddles"
for the vehicle, but they were no worse detailed than that kit.) Tamiya
came out with one about 15 years ago on its D model 251 chassis.
Now DML offers the model as a "3-in-1" kit, but since the only
difference between two "versions" is the use of the 28 cm or
the 32 cm rockets, and in real life a mixture was preferred, it is somewhat
of a grey area.
Also something not quite spot on is the fact that DML identifies
this as a "Sd.Kfz. 251/2" variant, which was an 8 cm mortar
carrier. While that is possible the vehicle is configured as a /1 with
the normal infantry interior. Be that as it may, it is a correct version
of the vehicle, and the rockets and their launcher frames are quite detailed.
DML provides a total of six 28 cm and six 32 cm rockets for the kit, and
with their launcher frames and the "saddle" mount they account
for some 220 parts, a big change from the Nitto kit!
Even though DML used its "slide molding" technique
on the rocket crate/frame assemblies, there are still some six to eight
parts (with or without optional etched brass parts) per assembly, and
the rocket each have four parts including a separate fuse assembly. The
options for the diorama fan are going to be wide, as this permits showing
loading and arming the rockets, fitting them to the frames, etc.
more prosaic, the launcher frames are complete and may be shown either
open, loaded or unloaded and prepared for travel.
The model may aslo be built as an Sd.Kfz. 251/10 platoon
leader's vehicle with the 3.7 cm Pak 36 mounted over the front of the
crew compartment. The complete upper part of DML's 37mm antitank gun and
a new upper deck for it are provided along with a turned aluminum barrel
and one-piece pre-bent brass gun shield for the halftrack mounting. Ammo
racks are included to complete the conversion.
The rest of the kit is the welded C model 251 from DML with
newly reworked wheel sprues with more detail on the parts. While they
now show the detail on the sidewalls of the road wheel tires, oddly enough
there are none on the front wheels! It comes with a dedicated brass sheet
including seat back spring details, and better regular tracks.
A total of four different vehicles and marking options
are provided in the kit: a grey SWR 40 from Warsaw 1944; a grey SWR 40,
11th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1942; a white camouflaged SWR 40 on
the Eastern Front, 1945; and a platoon leader's vehicle from the Eastern
Overall this is a nice kit, and minor squabbles aside, is a very great
improvement on the previous two attempts at this close support weapons
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.