Germany’s 8cm Raketenwerfer auf Somua MCL S303(f)
At Heinrich Himmler’s direction, a program was developed to create weapons to be used exclusively by the SS, including the 8cm Raketensprenggranate, a rocket delivery system based on the Russian Katyusha rockets. While none of the rocket systems made it to the SS, they were put into service with the 21st Panzer Division while it was stationed in France in 1943. Photographic evidence indicates that the 21st Panzer converted as many as 16 of their Somua MCL halftracks into these mobile launchers; the French company DES Kit released their resin model of one last year. The box contains a 13-page instruction packet and a number of zip bags containing the grey cast parts. The instructions are typical of resin kits, including a number of black and white photographs and line drawings showing placement, along with a descriptive sequence along the margins.The casting of the parts is excel lent, with very few air holes, limited flash, and no warps. Resin kits, in general, tend to require a bit more of your attention than their styrene counterparts, so it is a good idea to study the instructions thoroughly and do a number of dry fits before reaching for the glue bottle.
Assembly begins with the engine, and gives a good indication of the level of fit and detail to be found throughout. The front of the chassis assembly involves the securing of a number of parts along the frame. The instruction photographs are a little fuzzy in this section, so be careful to test fit the parts. A jig is supplied to aid in the alignment and construction of the rocket rails. The front axle allows you to fix the front wheels at any position, which is a great feature for final presentation.
DES Kit is to be applauded for filling a void in the armored ranks with this nice kit of an unusual vehicle.
Originally published in the August 2011 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.