The major manufacturer of engines for the Third Reich was the luxury automobile maker Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH in Stuttgart. As this site
shows, virtually all the major half-tracks and tanks sported Maybach powerplants. One of the many vehicles powered by a Maybach engine was the Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper or sWS, a mid- to late-war half-track developed by Büssing-NAG.
Hitler had wanted a simple cargo vehicle for the Eastern Front, where a primitive road network meant wheeled trucks and cars were often useless during inclement weather. The sWS seemed perfect for the role, though it was somewhat underpowered, using a Maybach HL42 engine similar to the one inside the Sd.Kfz.251. At nearly 14 tons, the sWS was almost twice as heavy as the 251. The sWS also had a career as gun platform and was even given an armored cab like the Sd.Kfz. 7/2.
Great Wall Hobby has previously released the Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper– but without an engine. Now the company is making up for that lapse with a kit devoted to the sWS's motor and transmission.
Inside the usual one-piece box you'll find:
Two sprues of gray plastic with 66 parts
One tiny fret of photo etch with 5 pieces
a sheet with 8 variants of sWS showing engine placement (strange, but true)
Given the insistence by most modeling societies that open grill-work show inside detailing, the lack of an engine in the GWH kits was understandably an irritant to some reviewers and modelers. So adding this engine & transmission kit is a welcome completion to the sWS offerings currently on the market.
The molding shows the usual crisp detailing we expect from Great Wall, with only the spark plug wires and other extras missing. The result is good enough for any OOB builder, and complete enough that the manic scratch-builder won't have to set aside too much time or too many resources to finish off the inner details. The kit includes a radiator, full engine and exhaust manifolds, along with the transmission to the drive wheels.
The molding is very clean, with almost no flash and minimal seam lines. There are quite a few small parts, so the anti-fiddly bits contingent will frown. Some of the small pieces require you to open attachment holes in relatively inconvenient spaces, too.
An exploded-view set of instructions is printed on the reverse side of the box, and look reasonably reasonable. The painting guide is pretty simple: black and steel with a red oil filler cap in the middle of the manifold.
Some might question why Great Wall didn't simply include this engine in the sWS kits to begin with. Be that as it may, it's a good kit that should provide a new level of accuracy to those who want to leave the hood up. I don't know if the engine can be modified to fit the Sd.Kfz.251, which would make it more useful to modelers of German AFVs.