It looks like a boat on tracks, but the 17-ton amphibious transport saw service with German forces on the Eastern front. John Plzak built 1/35 scale kits of the LWS from Bronco
and HobbyBoss.HobbyBoss LWS
HobbyBoss' Land-Wasser-Schlepper is molded in light gray plastic and shows excellent surface detail. Complex molding techniques have allowed HobbyBoss to mold the hull in one piece, as well as the deck and cabin. Many parts have ejector-pin marks, and, while most will be hidden, some require filling. The basic interior components are provided, and the kit features one-piece vinyl track. Also included are photoetched-metal engine grilles and die-cut masks for the clear parts.
The instructions feature clear diagrams, but several parts are not called out, especially where they are duplicated on both sides of the model. Typical of many kits, there are really no detailed painting instructions. A two-sided color markings diagram covers two vehicles. The decal sheet provides additional numbers if you wish to individualize your LWS.
The fit of the deck to the hull is very good. I painted the interior of the hull flat black around the areas where the engine deck screens go to make the hull look less empty. The interior of the cabin I painted flat white, picking out several details with different colors. The instructions add most of the exterior details to the cabin before installing it on the deck, but I waited until after gluing the cabin in place.
Cabin hatches can be posed open or closed, but their interiors are marred with several ejector-pin marks so I glued them shut. The tracks fit well, but the one-piece vinyl tracks don't sag as they should.
The finished model closely matches dimensions given in the Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles
, by David Doyle (Krause Publications). It was short by only .1" in length and was about .2" wider; built by different shipyards, the vehicles no doubt varied slightly. While information on the LWS is sketchy, references indicate that vehicles with Panzer IV-style running gear are later versions. But, HobbyBoss calls this an early version.
It only took me about 18 hours to build my LWS. Any modeler with a bit of experience should have no trouble building it.Comparing the kits
While both kits have the same style cabin, the Bronco kit features Panzer II-style running gear, and the HobbyBoss kit uses Panzer IV-style running gear. The Bronco kit gets the edge in quality of molding, detail, and its beautiful individual-link tracks. However, this comes at a cost - not only in price but in the complexity of assembly. On the other hand, the HobbyBoss kit is easy to assemble with a little more than a third of the parts. Either kit makes a fine Land-Wasser-Schlepper that would be an excellent and unusual addition to any German armor collection.
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