In-Box Review
sWS 60cm Infrared Searchlight Carrier “UHU”
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by: Charles Reading [ CREADING ]


By 1944 the Germans had developed heat sensing infrared equipment and had sufficient units available for field application. These infrared devices were to be used by armored troops for night driving and night targeting. Medium SPW’s (Sd.Kfz.251/20) equipped with 60 cm Flak spotlight for infrared battlefield lighting were assigned to ‘Panther’ units in 1945 for testing and showed considerable success. The designation for this project was “Uhu”. Had the war continued, the next logical step would have been the kit we have here from Great Wall Hobby, the Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper (Heavy Military Tractor) mounted with a 60 cm Flak Spotlight to accompany infrared equipped heavy armor units and illuminate the night time battlefield. According to the information provided with the kit, the Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper was developed to fill the gap between the light (Sd.Kfz. 250/251)and the heavy (Sd.Kfz 6/7/9). The design order for the vehicle type came directly from Hitler in May of 1942 for immediate use on the eastern front.

The sWS was developed and built by Bussing-Nag, the first prototype completed in spring of 1943. Three basic variants were produced: an unarmed prime mover, an armored version and an air mobile defense platform. Although the sWS vehicles featured great mobility and loading capacity, only 820 were completed by the wars end.The sWS infrared searchlight carrier was proposed to be incorporated into the night fighting units with the 60 cm spotlight mounted on the armored version. The design also featured a 20 cm infrared lamp and the F.G.1250 infrared night vision scope for the driver.

the kit

Being the first ‘large vehicle kit’ released from the newly named Great Wall Hobby, this is just as impressive detail wise as their motorcycle and flak kits released under the Lion Roar name.

The box is really filled containing eight large sprues, seven smaller sprues (varying sizes), the chassis frame, the searchlight ring, a decal sheet, two small PE frets, the instruction booklet and a one sheet painting guide.
Each sprue is individually bagged in plastic and all the “sprue bags” are contained within a large plastic bag. The box itself is extremely sturdy being made out of a heavy cardboard.
The kit is molded in a light tan plastic and has no flash or molding flaws that I can see. There are some ejection pin marks but they are in areas that will not be seen once the kit is built.

Sprue ‘A’: (X2)
Has the road wheels, tires and miscellaneous suspension parts. The tires come in six parts which are sandwiched together creating a tire with an accurate tread and no need to mar the detail trying to sand off a seam line or lug point.

Sprue ‘B’:
This sprue has the winch drive wheel components, more suspension parts , steering components and small body pieces such as the convoy light s for both the front and rear of the vehicle.

Sprue ‘C’:
Contains the cab portions both interior and exterior, the radio, blackout lights and firewall.

Sprue ‘D’:
Has the box portion of the vehicle including roof, sides and floor, more interior detail such as a duel radio setup (stacked) and crew seat. the storage boxes that make up part of the vehicle’s sides have separate doors with molded on locks however the detail is really nice and the fact that you can model the doors open or closed without resorting to surgery is nice.

Sprue ‘E’:
This sprue is the spotlight and its components. There are some tiny parts on this sprue so care will need to be taken when removing them from the attachment points. The detail is impressive on the spotlight and this could be a stand alone kit in itself.

Sprue ‘unmarked’: (X2)
The individual track pieces.

Sprue ‘F’:
Molded in clear plastic this consists of the various lenses for the spotlight and IR components.

Sprue ‘G’:
This isn’t a ‘sprue’ at all but the individually bagged chassis.

Sprue "H’:
Holds the lense mount ring for the spotlight.

Sprue ‘K’:
A compilation of several sprues, ‘K’ being miscellaneous interior/exterior small parts.
•‘K-a’: pioneer tools
•‘K-b’: jack and components
•‘K-c’: MG42, ammo, ammo box, ammo drums, tripod
•‘K-e’: MP-40 and spare magazine rack
•‘K-f’: fold down seats ? (at least that is what these appear to be. I can find no photos or written reference to these)

Photo Etch:
One 2X2.5” fret with louvers, straps, plating and panels. One .5X1” fret with 24 small fasteners.

One small 1.75X1” sheet printed in black & white including gage faces, license plates, vehicle stencil and national markings.

A six page 8.5X11” booklet consisting of 18 construction steps. Each step is shown in typical ‘blow up’ parts type pictures. The final page is front, back and side line drawings of the vehicle.

Painting Guide:
This is one sheet 8.5X14” printed on both sides in color. One side is front, back, top and side views showing a three tone camouflage scheme and placement of the decals.
The flip side is the box art without any of the text. A nice print, quite suitable for framing if you desire.

For a review to the PE set also available from Great Hobby, click the link below:

UHU PE Set Review

Halftracked Vehicles of the German Army 1909-1945 Walter J. Spielberger

Handbook of German Military Forces - 1945

Information provided with the Great Wall Hobby kit L3511
Highs: A highly detailed, beautifully molded model. Everything in the box to produce a stunning model.
Lows: A “what if” kit or “paper panzer’ if you like. No evidence that this particular combination of vehicle/IR/ Spotlight existed although all the individual components were available and it seems like a logical step in design. Kit is expensive.
Verdict: Only if you are a die hard who only builds things that has numerous photos and references will you not be impressed with this kit. Technically speaking, this kit ranks right up with the major companies producing models. First large complex kit is a hit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: L3511
  Suggested Retail: $88.95
  PUBLISHED: Oct 12, 2009

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Charles Reading (CReading)

I live in the mountains north of Santa Cruz California. I have been building now since the early 1990's when I rediscovered modeling. Most of my kits are built with dioramas in mind. I took a "creative block" hiatis for a couple years - 2011 to 2013. I wasn't active in the modeling world. During tha...

Copyright ©2021 text by Charles Reading [ CREADING ]. All rights reserved.


Great review Shaun. I saw this kit in my local hobby shop and nearly hit the roof when I saw the price - $78. I guess it WAS a markdown from MSRP. I think I will stick to the Italeri kit and add aftermarket items where needed. Ridiculous! Mark Lopiccola
OCT 13, 2009 - 04:51 AM
Thanks go to Charles Reading. All I did was a quick edit and post it. Always good to hear positive feedback. Shaun
OCT 13, 2009 - 05:31 AM
hmm, lucky has it for around half the price
OCT 13, 2009 - 06:37 AM
Thanks Charles for the box review. Great to see what you get for the whopping price. Im surprised when they were going for such a high quality and a price to match, that they didn´t include at least some etched clamps/clasps. Will you be building this one? That would make for an intersting blog.
OCT 13, 2009 - 11:28 AM

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