by: Henk Meerdink [ ]
IntroductionThe 3 ton Sd.Kfz. 11 was one of the workhorses of the German Army, pulling mortars, howitzers and rocket launchers, as well as being used as personnel carriers. Produced right until the end of the war, some 25000 of these saw action on all fronts, in various versions. The subject of the AFV Club kit 35051 is the Sd.Kfz. 11/4 Nebelwerfer (rocket launcher), which was a standard 11/1 with enlarged rear body to accommodate the rocket storage. The 11/4 could tow the NbW41 or NbW42, and carried a total of 36 rockets, as well as the crew.
what’s in the bag?The set is packed in the familiar Eduard clear plastic envelope, and consists of three Photo-etch frets, one small paper insert with the printed dashboard instrument dials and a piece of clear acetate for the windscreen glass. The instructions come to 5 sides, and thanks to the colour coded drawings are clear and easy to follow.
in detailThe AFV Club kit is not bad, but some detail is quite simplified or even missed out all together. This Photo-etch set adds what’s not there, and greatly improves what is. The quality of the etch is excellent, with some very fine detail that will enhance the model immensely. Most of the changes/additions can be seen on the photos of the instructions to the right, so I’ll use this space to elaborate a bit on a few areas.
The rear of the chassis can be build up in two different versions, and Photo-etch parts are provided for both. One simply uses the plastic parts for the chassis, and just replaces the steps, whilst the other option replaces the whole rear sub-frame with Photo-etch. This choice depends on the use of the tow hitch, so check your references to determine which version to built.
The drivers cabin receives a lot of attention, there is of course the new dashboard, which is a big improvement over the plastic kit version. There are even some separate photo-etch switch levers. New firewall plating, fuel tank cap, checkerboard tread plates, a gear stick gate are among the parts that will transform the cabin into an eye catcher. The windscreen is not over looked, and the Photo-etch parts allow you to pose the hinged part of the drivers screen open or closed, the plastic wipers are replaced, as is the small handle at the top of the window. The replacement mirrors are nice, but what use these would have been on this vehicle? Perhaps to keep an eye on the crew?
The front of the vehicle is equally well provided for, various bracket and fittings are replaced with better in-scale Photo-etch, and here is where you get to use what I think is the best part of this set, the etched registration number plates. This type of vehicle had pressed metal (aluminium in the early years, recycled anything in the later years) number plates, which are inevitably poor in plastic. Best of all, you get two sets, so you can use one set on a different vehicle. There is also a mudguard mounted Jerry can rack, which Eduard curiously indicates to be for ‘Tamiya sets’. Knowing the bad quality of Tamiya Jerry cans I would rather suggest using Italeri ones, as they have the correct handles.
The doors are quite involved, receiving numerous brackets and stowage pockets, and some very fine doorhandles, which are a necessary replacement of the very poor plastic moulded handles. Plastic indicators are disposed of, and replaced with a much better defined set.
The rear of the vehicle is not forgotten, and again the work is mostly adding finer or omitted detail. Another number plate, and this time there is the option to use the early rectangular one, or the later version with the cut top corners. This was done in the later years of the war to safe on valuable metal. Do note that you have to choose which rear number plate to use first, as the front one has to correspond with it.
Another feature of Eduard Photo-etch sets is the row of holes along the edge of the frets. These are in fact ‘moulds’, to make bolt heads and rivets with heated plastic sprue, which you can use to embellish the various brackets for added detail and realism.
conclusionThis is a large set which will transform the AFV Club kit. A few pieces of the kit need to be removed, but as no major surgery is required, and most of the Photo-etch is fairly straight forward, I feel that this kit will pose no problem for anybody who has even little experience with Photo-etch. Eduard have recently reduced the price of their 1/35 Photo-etch sets, and at $19.95 this set is good value. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Eduard for this review sample