by: Russ Amott [ ]
In 1943, a 158mm multiple rocket launching system designed by Rudolf Nebel, called the Nebelwerfer 41, was mounted on the chassis of the Opel Blitz Maultier half track. The vehicle was armor protected, and offered its crew the ability to deploy the vehicle to the front lines to launch accurate, devastating rocket attacks.
Named the Sd.Kfz.4/1 Panzerwerfer 42, the shortcoming noted with the vehicle was that it lacked ammunition. Only ten rounds in the rocket launcher itself, and ten more in the body of the vehicle, could be carried. An ammunition carrier, based on the exact same vehicle chassis, was designed. In addition to the base 10 rounds carried internally, 10 more ammunition tubes were placed inside, and another mount for 10 placed on the rear hull, allowing for up to 30 rockets to be carried. The Munitionskraftwagen had a two man crew. At least 287 vehicles were produced to support the 300 Panzerwerfer 42, and both vehicles served side by side on both fronts until the end of the war.
Roden have now released the Munitionskraftwagen in 1/72 scale to accompany their previous Sd.Kfz.4/1 Panzerwerfer 42. The kit comes in a small, end opening box and consists of five sprues and two soft, single length track runs. The box has a multi view drawing of the vehicle on the rear along with the paint color guide.
Having not built the previous Panzerwerfer 42 release, it appears that nearly all the necessary parts are included in this kit, or rather, that to produce the Munitionskraftwagen the rocket launcher tube assembly is simply omitted from the vehicle. The Sprues are labeled D, E, F, B and R for the tracks.
The D sprue is the largest, and has the main body assembly body attachments engine.
The two E sprues hold the running gear assembly for the rear tracks.
The F sprue has the axle and support parts for the rear running gear.
The two B sprues have the front tires and body details, both inside and out.
The tracks are very well detailed, soft and very flexible. There is no information as to whether they take regular glue or need CA glue.
The parts for the 10 tube rocket launcher assembly are marked not for use.
Detail on the parts is generally good, especially for the scale. Sprue attachment points are heavy, with many parts molded very closely to the sprue. I was not able to use cutters without risk of damage to some parts. There are some heavy mold seam lines, and quite a bit of flash is present on many parts. There are also some ejector pin towers to be removed. Careful use of a hobby knife or razor blade will get the parts of cleanly.
The instructions are printed in booklet form, with line drawings. They are not overly complex, although care is needed to follow them. In a couple of spots they are vague as to part placement. A painting guide and three vehicle profiles are included. They are:
• Mun.Sd.Kfz.4/1, Unknown unit, Eastern Pomerania, Winter 1944045, in overall whitewash scheme.
• Mun. Sd.Kfz.4/1 Unknown unit, Western Front, Autumn 1944, overall dark yellow paint scheme.
• Mun. Sd.Kfz.4/1, Unknown unit, Eastern front, Late 1944, three color camo scheme as depicted on the box art.
A small decal sheet is included. The decals are clearly printed and the carrier film appears to be thin.
Construction began with the engine. Location marks on the main block are faint, but present. I held off placing the radiator until after placing the engine in the chassis, to make sure things lined up.
Steps 3-5 assemble the suspension. The rear track suspension parts needed some careful cleanup, as the road wheels had flash in the lightening holes and the center hub hole was also closed up. It was easier to clean these up while they were attached to the sprue. The small return roller also needed the center hole to be reamed out slightly. The axle to the drive sprockets went together without issue, but the drive shaft was broken. I waited to place the shaft until assembly of the suspension to the chassis. The front wheels, when assembled with care, are position-able.
Step 6 attaches the axles to the bogie assemblies, which I again waited to do until final suspension assembly.
Step 7 is assembly of the upper body. The engine covers and body hatches all have inner detail and can be posed open if you wish to show off the detail inside. Parts 50 and 55D, the armored covers on the sides of the front hood area, show to be positioned with the arrow indicating the very front of the vehicle nose. There is a small line on the side of the front end, and the forward edge of these covers goes against that line. I elected to leave the driver's armored visor open because of the nearly complete interior that is assembled in step 10. Having done so, you can't see anything inside through the small opening.
Steps 8-10 build the lower body. Not called out but shown in place are parts B17, the gas, brake and clutch pedals. I put them in place, although they are invisible once the kit is assembled. The rear of the vehicle has 12 rocket tubes placed along the inner body wall. External storage boxes, with separate doors to allow further options for open/closed display, are added here as well. The additional internal ammunition stowage is not depicted, quite possibly because there are (that I know of), no surviving examples of this vehicle, and no photos I have seen.
Steps 11 and 12 add the front fenders and body halves. Everything lined up quite well. There is a lot of flash on the fenders. Be careful, as I removed not only the flash but some detail. The placement notches for the step should not be cut out.
Step 13 places the suspension. The leaf spring suspension has detail on only one side, but the inner surface is not visible on the completed kit so this isn't a major issue. The ability to position the front wheels is pointless as they rest against the body and face only forward. I was able to position the suspension arm assemblies and then put the axles in place. The bogie assemblies are not glued yet so I could ensure everything was where I wanted.
The rear fenders in step 15 are again indicated somewhat vaguely. I referred to the paint guide drawings to ensure proper placement. I added the lights, mirrors and gun mount in step 16, but held off on the tools and the AA MG42 until after painting.
I was unable to place the tracks as my son (and model building buddy) got carried away and cut both track sections off at about the 2/3 mark. I'll have to find a way to repair them so I can complete the build.
Overall, the kit was very easy to assemble. There are many tiny parts and quite a bit of easy cleanup, but no significant kit issues beyond the lack of extra ammunition stowage, which will only be noticed if the hatches are placed open.
If you have the Panzerwerfer 42 kit, this will make a very nice companion to complete the set. Shopping around online, I found this kit can be had starting at $15.00 US, including shipping. For the detail and options, I consider this to be an excellent modeling value.
I consider the instructions to be good, detail to be good, fit of parts generally good, decals excellent, tracks were excellent, painting guide clear and specific, and kit molding fair. Price is very good.