by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
MiniArt has released a Schweres Wurfgerät 40 in 1/35th scale. For those of us who do not read German it translates as ‘heavy throwing device’, and it is a ground launching system for the German rockets. This is a wooden structure with a few metal parts that the rocket transport crates fit to and are fired from. The result is a cheap throw away launcher that does not tax the war supplies of a country struggling to fight a lost war.
The model is packed inside a cardboard tray with a separate card lid on which the artwork is printed; I do like models that come with trays as it makes keeping parts and the model during its progress easier. Inside there is a single plastic bag containing the sprues along with a card sleeve that contains and protects the photo etched elements of the model and a decal sheet with the stencil details for the rockets in the kit.
An examination of the sprues and parts in this offering leaves me a happy modeller for a number of reasons. The parts are cleanly moulded with no obvious problems that will need addressing beyond the standard procedures followed by the modeller such as clean-up of the parts. The sprue gates are small and this makes the removal of parts easier due to the small size and reduces the risk of damage to the model parts when cutting tightly too parts.
MiniArt has provided a single launching platform that four rocket crates can be mounted and fired from. The launching platform is an open wooden frame with twin folding legs. The only other additions are some metal parts for securing the platform to the ground and the brackets for securing the frame and the rocket crates to it. The detail on the frame looks good and accurate from the little I have been able to find about them. There is also a metal version of the launching frame that I would have liked to see included with this offering that was used to launch the exact same ammunition.
The transport and firing boxes are an aspect of this model that MiniArt has done an exceptional job of. These crates had to securely transport and protect the rockets and also support the rocket while it was fired. These are the most detailed boxes I can recall seeing having all of the elements present in the real item. One thing that has not been covered is the position of parts (LB6 & 7), the position indicated in the instructions is the locked position for transport. It is my understanding that these four parts should be angled when the rockets are placed in a firing position as this removes the tension on the rockets for firing.
The rockets themselves all appear to be correctly shaped with my only complaint being that they are moulded in two halves resulting in joint seams that will need attention without damaging the raised detail provided; this will be quite a difficult prospect as the raised detail is quite finely replicated. MiniArt has provided six of each of the two rockets in the set and also provided the correct number of transport/firing cradles for them, the cradles will take a little effort to assemble well and I feel this will be worth the effort. The decals for the rockets show that MiniArt has done a lot of work in replicating the stencil detail to a high standard. The 32cm rocket is an incendiary munitions’ and the 28cm offering is a high explosive version.
The five figures included in the offering are from an earlier MiniArt figure release titled ‘German Artillery Crew’. The set offers an officer doing what they do best IE giving orders and pointing out areas of interest to the troops who are not really interested. The other four figures are depicting carrying one of the rocket crates between them. There is a small amount of flash present, but it is not excessive and so the moulds are holding up well. I like that two of the figures are in shirt sleeves and the other two are wearing jackets. Another nice aspect to these figures is that two are bare headed and the other two are wearing a side cap and a peaked cap; I feel these differences will make the finished look appealing and draw the eye.
The faces look quite good and have aged well as regards detail with the nose, mouth and eyes have some nice presentation, but there is a weakness in the head area which is the ears that will benefit greatly from a little work. The hands are reasonable as regards finger detail, but again a little work will improve them considerably. MiniArt has depicted parts (LB6 & 7) as carrying handles for the crates where as I have said it is my belief that these parts loosened the tension on the rockets for launching; I believe this is wrong as I was unable to find any images of those parts used for that purpose or even in a position where they could be used for that purpose. I would place two bars under the crate and depict these being held instead or perhaps bands of rope would be easier. These rockets weighed in the region of 80kg and so would tire a person over time.
This is a great kit even if it is not the first of its kind to be released. The rockets, crates and launcher are very well detailed and so will look good when finished. I am a little disappointed that MiniArt released this set with figures not designed specifically for the purpose, but with a little imagination they do make very suitable offerings that would be welcome additions to the German Rocket Launcher with 28cm WK SPR & 32cm WK Flamm offering also released by MiniArt at the same time.