The German Army's 12cm Schwere Granatwerfer 42 (heavy grenade-launcher model 1942) was originally designed, in 1940, for use as a special shortened version of the sGrW 34 for use by airborne troops. The weapon also went under the German name 'Stummelwerfer' (short-launcher).
It was issued in quantity from about 1942 onwards, but saw little use by the airborne troops it was initially intended for. Instead, it became a replacement for the little 8cm leGrW 36 version. It fired the same ammunition variety as was used in the previous weapons. These consisted of: high explosive, smoke, illumination, and target-marking rounds for use in conjunction with ground attack aircraft. There was even a special 'bouncing' shell, that exploded back up into the air after it hit the ground. This was done with a tiny rocket motor, and at a predetermined height the shell would explode and scatter its fragments over a much wider area than would be the case with a conventional ground-detonated shell.
This shell was a typical German weapon innovation, that was really too expensive to produce and rather unreliable in general use. This type ammunition was never produced in large numbers therefore.
The range of the Granatwerfer 42 was less than half of that of the the sGrW 34 version - or just under 1200 m (1,312 yds)
DML's new kit comes in a tray and lid type box, molded in their usual light gray plastic. The box art is the excellent Volstad renditions we have all come to know and love. It shows the crew set up somewhere on the Russian steppes (at least it looks that way to me – with the snow and scrubby trees) .
The molding is crisp and delicate, with no flash apparent anyplace on the parts. Detail is very nice.
There are four trees of parts that make up this kit. The largest tree holds the parts of the five mortar team figures. One figure is kneeling, preparing a mortar round, the next figure is handing a shell to the loader figure, the fourth figure is kneeling and sighting the weapon, the remaining figure is reading his wrist watch and has his right arm raised – ready to give the 'fire' command. All the figures wear the steel helmet and no personal weapons are provided in the kit. All are wearing a heavy winter uniform with the better part of these garments done up in splinter camouflage. They all wear the low boots with ankle gaiters.
These five figures each consist of a steel helmet, head, chest, legs, and arms. There are 35 parts on this tree.
The next size smaller tree (labeled 'F') holds the mortar parts and four 'ready' rounds. These ready rounds are identified by the rope-like windings around the body of them – just in front of the stabilization fins. 21 parts here.
Finally, the smallest two identical parts trees (labeled 'G') hold three rounds each that have not yet had the rope-like windings put on them yet and three ammo boxes – that hold two rounds each. Total parts on these two trees is 24.
The instructions consist of four pages. The first page gives the box art again – in black and white – and parts tree drawings. Page two gives you the international assembly symbol explanations, as well as the model paint cross references. The bottom of page two gives the first assembly drawing. Page three finishes the assembly steps.
Although not included in the kit parts – the box art and instructions show that the ammo boxes should have rope handles. These can easily be made from thread or perhaps stretched sprue. There is also a chain, spanning between two of the tripod legs – this could perhaps be added with some small scale chain sold in the ship model section of a well stocked hobby shop. I plan to look for some later anyways.The last page gives you the color drawings for the weapon and crew. A small patch drawing there shows how the splinter camouflage looks on the uniforms.
A small decal sheet, printed all in white lettering, gives you the stenciling for the lids of the wood ammo boxes.
This kit looks like it will make a great diorama right out of the box. I am glad that they give you all those rounds for the mortar. This was something that was sadly lacking in DML's earlier release of the Pak anti-tank guns. The only thing I would suggest to improve this kit would be to add some small arms to the scene and the earlier mentioned chain on the mortar tripod legs and the rope handles on the ammo cases. Highly recommended.
This kit was purchased at the local shop and should be readily available at any well stocked hobby shop.