by: Russ Amott [ ]
In 1943 the German Army developed a portable infantry use rocket launcher modeled after the U.S. made bazooka, but modified to be much more powerful. The 88mm tube launched a rocket capable of penetrating up to 4 inches of armor plate at 200 yards. Named "Panzerschrek" or "tank terror" the weapon was extremely effective against all Allied armor. Back blast, muzzle flash and toxic gasses produced by the rockets limited safe use of the weapon to outdoors, but it was easy to use and transport, and was well received by German soldiers fighting a defensive war.
This kit represents the standard production Panzerschrek with blast shield and carry sling, and includes an ammo box and three spare rounds, with a total of 51 plastic parts on three sprues, one metal etch buckle, one nylon carry strap and a piece of string for the rope handle on the box. A small decal sheet is included for box and rocket markings.
The parts for the ammo box have nice wood grain texture on the outside surfaces and on the inside of the lid, but not on the inner surfaces of the other box parts. Individual working hinges and clasps are included. There are some prominent ejector pin marks on the box. The launcher tube comes in two halves with handles molded onto one half. The blast shield is one molded piece and also has some pin marks that will have to be removed.
The rockets are assembled from three parts with a separate guard for the rocket nozzle end. Handles and external attachments for the launcher are all molded separately. Molding is generally good. My sample had some seam lines and a small amount of flash visible.
The decals include full markings for the box but only full markings for two of the rockets. The third will be short the "4322" decal designating the rocket type. The web sling, buckle and rope piece for the handle are all nicely done and look good for scale. The instruction sheet is a single page with photos of the completed kit and ammo box from different angles showing what the completed model is supposed to look like. Parts are identified by an arrow showing the part number.
I started kit assembly with the ammo box. I used Mr. Surfacer 500 to fill the ejector pin marks on the inner surfaces. The rockets were put together next. The seam lines had to be removed carefully to ensure the rockets would still be round. The block on the end must be eyeballed into place. The rockets were fairly easy to assemble.
The rocket tube halves were assembled next. The plastic walls are thin and flex quite a bit. There were prominent seam lines and it took some work to get everything aligned and held together with masking tape. No pressure can be put on the tube or it will bend or collapse.
I finished assembly of the ammo box while the launcher tube set completely. The hinge parts are all plastic. Metal pins could easily be scratch built but the kit pins worked very well. One of the front clasps was damaged on the sprue but still worked.
On the blast shield, I carefully sanded the pin marks away. The placement holes for the three handles go through the piece completely and have to be filled on the back side. I used Testors white putty. The ignition wire must be carefully shaped around the tube from the rear of the rear of the shoulder rest to the side of the tube. Warm water, careful bending, and Tamiya liquid cement were all used to get it into place. Not mentioned in the instructions is part C11, a disc with a cone protruding from it. It is supposed to represent a rocket already placed in the launcher and should be slid down the barrel of the launcher. Having it inside the tube helps to stabilize the launcher tube while working on the outside.
I painted the ammo box with oils and then applied a flat coat by brush. The decals on the sides should be placed to the right corner, not centered as I did. The rockets were painted dark gray with the tip painted black, based on photos I located on the web. The launcher itself was painted with Pollyscale dark yellow. According to web references all launchers were issued with the standardized dark yellow paint with some possibly modified by individual soldiers in the field. It was hard to see specifically how the sling attached with the buckle. I folded one end over the center as if sewn and then threaded the other end over and through.
Overall I thought this was a very nice build. Not too difficult and it makes a nice representation of the Panzerschrek. The accessories were nice to have. With the expanding range of 1/6 scale items available it will provide a nice extra to any scene.
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