Bronco Models
Mid Production

Bronco Models Kit No. CB-35015
1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

Bronco Models
Notes from Instruction sheet:

In 1936, Rheinmetall-Borsig AG received an order from the German army general staff to develop a fully-tracked amphibious tractor. After working with various other firms, the Land-Wasser-Schlepper was built. Powered by a Maybach HL120 V12 engine, the LWS could achieve 35km/hr on road and 12km/hr in water. The total weight was 17 tons and up to 20 soldiers could be accommodated.

The normal function of the LWS was as a tug boat to be used during amphibious landings. In this role the LWS would tow an 18.000 kg capacity floating trailer. This trailer could carry supplies and equipment, including vehicles as large as the SdKfz.9 halt-track. The trailer could be towed on shore by the LWS and maneuvered for unloading.

Development of the LWS proceeded quite slowly until 1940, when Operation SEELOWE (Invasion of England) was being planned. The seven pre-production LWS vehicles were extensively tested for amphibious assault across the English Channel. However testing showed that they could only be used in calm in-shore waters.

The lack of armor protection was also a concern. When SEELOWE was cancelled early in 1941 the LWS project was also ended. The LWS did serve in Russia and was employed during river crossings. 

The Kit:

This new kit from Bronco Models is labelled “Mid Production” with the suspension/track based on the Panzer II with single disc drive sprocket (this kit) and later versions built on Panzer IV type suspension/track with twin disc drive sprockets (Mini-Art Studios resin kit and Hobby Boss) with a total of 21 to 23 vehicles built before production was ceased.

There were also numerous subtle differences between those built other than the running gear with most having the small rectangular front cabin windows while at least one had larger rectangular front windows and fenders over the drive sprockets.

The kit consist of 461 parts in light beige plastic with another 300 individual plastic track links, 21 clear plastic parts, 21 in etched brass plus a short length of twine, a two sided fabric German flag and a 16 page instruction booklet and the small decal sheet.

Etched parts
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Cloth flag and twine
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Standard of plastic moulding is excellent overall with virtually no flash or pin marks to be seen with just some fine moulding seams to be removed from the parts, the track links while conventionally moulded only have the three sprue attachment burs to be cleaned before assembly with these links being the same as included in the recent Bronco individual link Panzer II track Set (#AB-3513).

The surface detailing is also very good with hundreds of extremely fine rivets along the hull and cabin sides which from some angles can’t be seen but will come up well with careful weathering. One thing to watch with these fine details is to not remove them while cleaning the moulding seams from the hull tub in particular.

There are also some extremely small and finely moulded parts that will require care in removing from the sprues and during assembly but are moulded quite cleanly so there is little cleanup required. Some parts are best to have their fine moulding seams removed while still attached to the sprues for easier handing such as the fine roof handrails and other smaller parts.

Included in the kit is a fairly complete interior with full driver’s station, central intake/observation funnel and central cable drum although the actual interior was mostly just a big open space to allow room the 20 troops that could be carried.

Having acquired a copy of the new Trojca LWS Land-Wasser-Schlepper book we now have more information on LWS dimensions as well as various 1:35 scale plans. But I’m sorry to say the information and plans in this book only complicate matters further as the overall dimensions stated are quite different than those included in other references such as the Darlington Productions book Rommel's Funnies by Thomas L. Jentz. As there is no surviving LWS to drag a tape measure over we have no way of substantiating the conflicting dimensions.

Further doubts are cast on the data in the Trojca book by the fact that the 1:35 plans don’t equal the dimensions listed in the book, for example the overall length is stated at 9200mm (9000mm) and no explanation is given for the two lengths? With the stated 9200mm (1:35=262.85mm) and 9000mm (1:35=257.1mm) the 1:35 plans in the book show 269mm in overall hull length for the Late Production model. The Darlington book incidentally states the length of the LWS at 8600mm (1:35=245.7mm) and width as 3160mm (1:35=90.2mm)

The width is shown as 3050mm (3000mm) but again there is no explanation of the two widths?
With the stated 3050mm (1:35=87.15mm) and 3000mm (1:35=85.7mm) we see the 1:35 plans in the book showing 86.75mm in width.

The length of the Bronco LWS kit is 252mm and width is 90mm, while the length of the Hobby Boss LWS kit is 245mm and width is 90mm which means both are shorter by some degree from the dimensions in the Trojca book. The Bronco kit is between 5 to 17mm short depending on what length you believe while the Hobby Boss kit is a whopping 12 to 24mm short depending on your length of choice.
Visually comparing the Bronco kit to the available photos I find it hard to believe those figures but the Hobby Boss kit is clearly too short and squashed around the front hull profile but to what degree is open to speculation.

The Darlington book states the road wheel diameter as 500mm (1:35=14.3mm) yet the Trojca book states the wheel diameter is 520mm (1:35=14.85mm). The 1:35 plans in the Trojca book have the diameter of the road wheels at 14.3mm which equals the 500mm in actual size?

The diameter of the water screws is stated as 780mm (1:35=22.3mm) in the Trojca book and 800mm (1:35=22.85mm) in the Darlington book but the 1:35 plans in the Trojca book have the diameter of the screws at 23mm, well I’m confused.

Thankfully the drive sprocket diameter is given as 660mm (1:35=19mm) and the idler wheel at 710mm (1:35=21mm) with the Trojca 1:35 plans being the same 19mm and 21mm in size.

You might say some of these discrepancies are due to the printing reproduction process but if that were the case the dimensions of the drive sprocket and idler would also be different but they aren’t, so it’s back to square one.

So on to the kit.

Before describing the contents I’ll mention step 1 in the instructions which is to join the lower boat hull tub and upper top deck as everything else fits to these from here on. Firstly you have to fit the inner rear side step detail which is easy enough but to fit the hull tub and deck together proved a little exciting.

There are 58 small pins around the underside of the top deck that fit into small indentations around the inside of the boat hull sides but the hull sides are slightly bowed inwards, not enough to notice visually but makes fixing the deck a challenge.

The best method is to glue the rear stern edge securely in place and then progressively ease out the hull sides slipping the deck pins into place and glue small sections at a time. You may have to slip you finger through the inside deck openings to flex out the hull sides but with care the pins slip into place as you go till you get to the front which needed a little coaxing to get the pins into position.

One thing to note is do not be tempted to cut off the deck pins as this will mean you can’t hold the hull top sides in the correct position but once you have got the hull and deck firmly glued together you can happily move on.

Image showing the deck pins and hull recesses for precise location of the two
as mentioned above.

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Lower Boat Hull:

This is one large and impressive moulding with very clean and well defined details especially the many small rivet heads as mentioned above and included the large indentations on the undersides for the propeller shafts with all suspension parts separate for good definition.

There are a few fine mould seam lines around the outer edges of the hull and on the undersides to be removed but this should be very easy with a #11 blade as they are very fine, just be careful as mentioned not to remove any of the fine rivet detail in the process.

The final drive housing is a separate part that fits snugly to the hull with the single piece drive sprocket having well defined details and a separate hub pin to attach to the final drive allowing the sprocket to rotate if you are sparing with the glue.

Each bogie unit is made up of 8 parts, the main spring unit, 3 swing arms, the 2 road wheels and mounting brackets that when assembled allow the suspension to articulate if you want to animate this for a diorama setting.

The road wheels as mentioned are the correct diameter with nice rim detail on the outside but the inner side is devoid of any detail which shouldn’t be that noticeable except for the front wheels from some angles.

Assembly of the bogies is a little tricky due to all the separate parts and the central locating pin had to be shortening by about .75mm to fit properly and test fitting before gluing is advisable with the assembled bogie units attaching firmly to the lower hull.

Additional items are the two part return rollers, 2 bump stops per station and the 2 part idler wheels at the back which feature nice wheel detail and a separate outer ring for good detail definition.

At the back are the two propellers, propeller shafts and rudders with separate mounting brackets that all fit together without any problems. One notable feature is the propellers correctly rotate in opposite directions to counteract the torque effect and as such you should be careful to fit the propellers on the appropriate prop shaft as indicated in the instructions.


The tracks supplied in the kit are the same as from the Panzer II workable track set (AB-3513) but with a total of 300 links for the extra length of the LWS and are designed to fit together for workable track.

The links are finely moulded with delicate detail that includes the indentations in the guide teeth as well as the links being handed with the track pin on the outside extending further out than the pin on the inside of each link.

Each sprue has 6 left side links and 6 right side links so you have to watch this after removing the links so you don't mix these up during assembly. The links are identified on the sprue as F for right links and L for the left links with the instructions clearly showing the different left and right track assembly.

As the links are quite delicate you have to take care when cutting them from the sprues and in cleaning up the three sprue burs on each kink with this being the only cleanup required on the links.

Each link has two small locating pins and two corresponding locating holes and fit together in the same manner as other clip together track links but due to the delicate links care is needed to avoid any damage as you firstly slip one pin in place and with very slight outward pressure clip the other pin in place.

The assembled track runs are quite flimsy and tended to come apart with only light handling although they do articulate nicely after assembly. I would recommend actually gluing the links together with liquid cement once you have formed them around the drive sprocket and idlers wheels as well as added the appropriate track sag between the return rollers. This will ensure they don't come apart during painting and handling but will still retain the fine detail of the assembled track runs.

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As there are no fenders on the LWS you can add the tracks at any time for ease of assembly and painting with the instructions showing fitting the track as the last assembly step.

Upper Deck:

This is a single large moulding with again excellent details and the numerous separate inside floor panels/hatches and the upper deck hatches all fit into place without any trimming required along with the 6 part winch assembly on the stern. You can choose to show the hatches open if you with but there is no internal detail other than inside the cabin so leaving them closed is best but the option is there.

The two rear engine intakes are shallow troughs with etched intake screens and thin plastic outer frames that all fit together without any problems but you may want to paint the inside trough before fitting the etched mesh or even deepen the opening for a bit more relief?

At the front are the two headlights with separate 2 part mountings and clear discs for the light ‘glass’ and all that is needed is the cable ducting to finish off.

The large cabin recess has the floor panels separate as mentioned and the rear access hatches also have the correct cross members under the hatch should you want to show these open with each panel/hatch having separate fine hand grips that will need care in handling and fitting.

Main Cabin:

This is made up of 5 main parts, the 4 sides and roof all with internal detail free of any pin marks as well as openings for the clear plastic cabin windows and separate roof access hatches, there is also additional ribs added inside the front panel for additional detail definition.

The fit of the cabin parts is good overall but the front panel needed a little coaxing to get a snug fit but once glued firmly in place there were no apparent gaps. One thing to watch is there are 4 large sprue attachments plugs on the lip of the roof and these will have to be removed along with the usual sprue attachment burs.

Before fitting the panels together there is a choice of position for the rear mounted turn indicators with the engraved cutting lines on the inside of the sidewalls and you just cut out the required opening depending on your choice. The turn indicators themselves are made of the 3 parts allowing the indicator to be deployed if you wish for a nice touch.

There are additional smaller fittings added to the inside walls without any problems and the separate hatches have additional separate fine grab handles and again can be shown open to expose the interior further if you wish with the fit to the cabin roof being very good if you choose to glue them closed.

The windscreen wipers for the front windows are in finely moulded plastic with blades for both inside and outside the windows which are usually lined up with each other and these will need care in fitting.

The top funnel is also a good fit to the roof and the pioneer tools all have moulded on tool clips which could be enhanced by replacing with any of the available etched tool clip sets and added to the outside walls are the large sea anchor and racks for the cable on the left cabin wall and a couple of 2 part life rings with etched mounting brackets.

The details included inside are the multi-part central winch assembly, smaller sidewall fittings including the three Kar98 rifle racks and nicely moulded Kar98 rifles and the forward driver’s controls consisting of separate foot pedals and gear levers and crew seats made up of 6 parts each.

The forward instrument panel coaming has a separate instrument panel with engraved dial faces and separate steering wheel and three smaller fittings for the panel and this sub-assembly fits neatly to the front of the cabin wall.

The central conning tower/engine intake is another multi-part assembly with additional etched parts inside the tower for added detail and the MP40 has a separate etched mounting bracket added to the outside of the tower with the only cleanup being the small join seams for the 2 tower halves.

Lastly at the back is the large square multi-part cabin entrance which sees the fit of the 4 main panels spot on not requiring any trimming and the separate cabin door is also a good fit with additional smaller details added to the door and sidewalls with the assembly fitting snugly to the separate floor mounting plate for a trouble free sub-assembly.

Added at the back are the entrance coaming and the large tow bar mounting on the rear cabin wall plus very thinly moulded hand grip rails around the outside of the cabin roof all of which fit together without any problems.

The fit of the cabin to the deck is very good with recesses around the deck and locating lips around the bottom of the cabin walls that result in a very snug and firm assembly with little chance of anything being in the wrong place. One cautionary note is you may want to temporarily position the cabin walls into the deck recesses while the glue is still tacky on the cabin assembly to make sure everything is lined up correctly.


The 14 page instruction stapled booklet makes it easy to quickly flick between pages using one hand to find a particular step with the assembly sequences being exploded view line drawings that clearly show where everything goes, the only thing to watch is the myriad of solid lines from the part numbers to the parts that does get a bit busy and confusing at times trying to differentiate between the part outline and the number line. The bogie assembly drawing is an example of this and care is needed to study the illustrations before hand to fully understand where things go to avoid problems.

But overall they are easy to follow without any problems encountered providing you take the normal precautions of studying the steps and test fitting before gluing.


The decal sheet is well printed with 4 balkenkreuz and unit markings for 3 different schemes although one is for the same vehicle featuring different paint finishes for different periods.

Also included is a 2 sided cloth German Kreigsmarine flag that can be wrapped around the radio antenna and this includes the full swastika symbol and the choice is yours to use this depending on where the kit will be displayed taking into account the various regulations about regarding the display of this symbol.

Option 1 is for the proposed landings in Lybia in 1942 with LWS 667 of Engineer Assault Company 778, Tobruk, Nth. Africa, May 1942 in overall Dark Yellow finish.

Option 2 is for LWS 1071 of Engineer Assault Company 771, Eastern Front, June 1943 in overall German Grey finish.

Option 3 is again LWS 1071 of Engineer Assault Company 771 but after being repainted in a 3 toned cam scheme of Light Grey, Light Blue and Light Green as shown on the box top and sides, there is also a full page with 3 views of the can scheme in the instructions but all illustrations show the left side only as well as front and rear views so you have guess the right side and roof patterns which would possibly match the left side.

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Clear parts
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This is another superbly moulded and engineered kit from Bronco Models who are showing they are learning the art of producing top quality kits very quickly with very few if any snags or blemishes other than what you find in any kit.

The detail on the parts is very good notably the hundreds of fine rivets on the hull and cabin walls as well as the working suspension and individual link track for good definition and the fairly complete interior fittings.

The detail is everywhere on this kit and due to the large size makes for an impressive model and offers the choice of a land or water diorama for the more adventurous and will produce an excellent model of the unusual and unique vehicle.

One thing missing from the kit is the rope bumpers seen on most photos of the LWS with Lion Roar (set#LE35087) already releasing a set of resin bumpers to fill this void.

Highly recommended 8/10

Note: You will see with the accompanying assembly images that all apart from the bogie unit and tracks have just been dry fitted, this is because the kit is so nice I want to give it my full attention at some time without some major parts already glued which is the case with many of the review kits used.

See the Land-Wasser-Schlepper (LWS) Subjects page for other reviews of kits/update sets

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Detail Images
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LWS Land-Wasser-Schlepper
Type I/II

Waldemar Trojca, Markus Jaugitz
ISBN: 978-83-60041-35-2
Rommel's Funnies
Thomas L. Jentz
Darlington Productions
ISBN: 0-9648793-6-0
German Military Vehicle Rarities (3)
Tankograd Wehrmacht Special No 4003

Die Rad- Und Vollketten-Zugmaschinen Des Deutschen Heeres 1870-1945

Walter J. Spielberger
Motorbuch-Verlag Book10

Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.

Page created July 7, 2008