Hobby Boss
German Land-Wasser-Schlepper (LWS)
Hobby Boss Kit No. 82430
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

Hobby Boss

The LWS was basically a motor tug built with tracks powered by a Maybach HL120 V12 engine, the LWS could achieve 35km/hr on road and 12km/hr in water with a total weight was 17 tons and accommodation for three crew and up to 20 soldiers.

The seven pre-production LWS vehicles were extensively tested for amphibious assault across the English Channel. Testing showed that they could only be used in calm in-shore waters and the lack of armour protection was also a concern. When Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Great Britain) was cancelled early in 1941 the LWS project was also ended but the LWS did serve in Russia and was employed during river crossings.

Technical Information
Crew: 3 + 20
Weight: 13,000kg
Armament: none
Length: 8.60m
Width: 3.16m
Height: 3.13m
Maximum road speed: 40km/h
Maximum water speed: (unloaded) 12.5km/h
Engine type: one Maybach HL120 TRM V-12 petrol
Engine power: 265 bhp

The Kit:

Hobby Boss have released this kit of the Land-Wasser-Schlepper (LWS) Late Production following the Early Production type from Bronco Models (kit #CB-35015) with this kit featuring the twin disc drive sprockets and 38(t) style suspension bogies while the Bronco kit had the Panzer II track and single drive sprocket disc.

There were also numerous subtle differences between the 21 to 23 built (according to the Trojca LWS book) other than the running gear with most having the small rectangular front cabin windows while prototype had larger rectangular front windows and fenders over the drive sprockets.

As Bronco Models have also released a kit of the LWS Late Production (kit #CB-35020) and I will include a number of comparison images and comments during this review to highlight the main differences between the two hopefully to help in your kit selection.

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.

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 indicating 18mm for the drive sprocket and the idler 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 idler would also be different but it isn’t, so it’s back to square one.

So on to the kit.

The kit consist of 218 parts in light grey plastic, 14 in clear plastic, a set of full length vinyl tracks, 2 in etched brass plus a short length of twine, a sheet of pre-cut window masks plus the instruction and small decal sheet.

Etched parts, thread and window masks
Hobby Boss
Hobby Boss
pre-cut window masks
Hobby Boss

Standard of plastic moulding is very good overall with virtually no flash or pin marks to be seen with just some fine moulding seams to be removed from the parts, there is some minor flash with any pin marks in places that can’t be seen after assembly in most cases. Some part mating surfaces will need the moulding lines cleaned for better alignment and it’s best to test fit before gluing to avoid any issues.

The surface detailing is also quite good with hundreds of fine rivets along the hull and cabin sides which are not as finely done as on the Bronco kit 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 parts.

Included in the kit is interior parts for 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. A couple of notable omissions compared to the Bronco kit is the lack of driver’s foot pedals or any Kar98 rifles or racks that should be on the right of the cabin interior and you will have to raid the spares box for 3 spare Kar98s.

It should also be noted that like the Early Production Bronco kit (#CB-35015) this kit does not include the rope “bumpers” for around the hull gunnels even though they are shown on the box top, but the new Bronco LWS Late Production kit (#CB-35020) does include a set of resin “bumpers” from the Lion Roar set #LE35087.

As will be obvious from the number of parts in the respective kits many of the sub-assemblies in the Hobby Boss kit are simplified from those in the Bronco kit and this results in finer detail definition on the Bronco kit parts but doesn’t always make for easier assembly. An example of this is the interior winch drum assembly with the Bronco kit having 16 parts with the actual drum in 8 parts compared to the Hobby Boss kit with 7 parts and just 1 for the drum. As the drum is basically hidden from view after the winch cable is fitted the complicated and fiddle assembly of the Bronco drum is rather overkill to say the least.

Lower Boat Hull:

This is one large and impressive moulding with very clean and well defined details with many small rivet heads and panel lines included although these are more pronounced than on the Bronco kit hull which has extremely finely rendered rivets. The undersides have the large indentations for the propeller shafts but there is no other detail with the hull bottom flat without the channels of the Bronco kit along with all suspension parts separate for good definition. The stern plate is also a separate part to be fitted to the main hull to complete the tub.

As noted the length of the Hobby Boss hull is notably short compared to the data and plans now available and this distracts considerably from the final appearance of the kit, especially with the bow contours.

There are a few fine mould seam lines around 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 two hull side step recesses at the rear are just open holes and blanking these off from inside will prevent you seeing through into the hull after assembly.

The Trojca book states the diameter of the LWS drive sprocket is 660mm (19mm in 1:35) with the Bronco sprocket being the correct 19mm (sprocket disc, not including the teeth) while the Hobby Boss sprocket is undersized at 17mm in diameter.
The other difference between the kit sprockets is the Bronco kit has a solid disc inner sprocket while the Hobby Boss kit has a spoked inner sprocket like the outer sprocket. Available images show the solid inner sprocket of the Bronco kit is the correct configuration.

The final drive housing consists of the lower section protruding from the hull with nicely rendered bolt heads, the assembled sprocket is firmly glued to the locating lug on the hull meaning the sprocket can’t rotate but this shouldn’t be a problem when fitting the track.

Each bogie unit is made up of 6 parts, the main spring unit, 2 swing arms, the 2 road wheels and the mounting bracket that when assembled with good detail definition on the swing arm bolts and rivets.

The road wheels are slightly undersized in diameter by 0.5mm 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, but the outer wheel detail si not as refined as on the Bronco wheels.

Assembly of the bogies is fairly straightforward but I did need to trim the inner swing arm bracket and shorten the locating pins on the mounting bracket for the swing arms to fit snugly.

Additional items are the two part return rollers and rear idler wheels which are in one piece and lack definition on the outer ring and ribs. The stated diameter of the idler is 710mm (21mm in 1:35) with the Bronco idler being 21mm in diameter while the Hobby Boss idler is 19.5mm in diameter and also has a solid outer ring as mentioned and lacks detail compared to the Bronco idlers.

There is also no inside detail on the Hobby Boss Idler which is quite noticeable from the rear and when attached the Idler doesn’t align with the road wheel bogies and you will need to trim the wheel locating stub and shorten the axle stub a little for these to line up correctly, not a big job.

The Idler mounting brackets are separate parts and you should take care to fit the parts on the appropriate side of the hull as indicated in the instructions are there are subtle differences between sides.

At the back are the two water screws, screw shafts and rudders with separate mounting brackets that all fit together without any problems. The diameter of the water screws as mentioned above is a little conflicting with three different diameters shown between the data and the plans. The three sizes given in 1:35 scale are 22.3mm, 22.85mm and 23mm so I can’t say which is correct. But turning to the kits the Bronco screws are 20mm in diameter and the Hobby Boss screws are 19mm in diameter so both are smaller than the sizes stated. The other big difference between the kit screws is the Bronco screws have the correct counter rotating profile while the Hobby Boss screws do not and are the same direction on both which is incorrect.


The tracks supplied in the HB kit are full length vinyl with okay detail for this type of track but certainly lacks details compared to link and length or individual link tracks. Despite the claim in the instructions they can be glued using plastic cement none I tried had any effect at all. I used Faller Expert, Tamiya Extra thin and Tenax-7R with no result and heat welding the three pins to link the ends together with a fine heated screwdriver is the best option.

The tracks are a good fit around the drive sprocket and idler and as there is little if any track sag evident in photos of the LWS these vinyl track make for quick and easy assembly.

There is another problem with the idler when fitting the tracks as the small attachment pin is just not strong enough to take the pressure when stretching the vinyl track into place and I have to add a small wire pin to prevent the idler from braking off or deforming with the tension of the track.

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


Hobby Boss
Hobby Boss

Upper Deck:

This is a single large moulding with again excellent details and the inside cabin floor has fine tread plate pattern included but does not have any separate access panels as with the Bronco cabin floor which makes for quicker assembly of the Hobby Boss kit.

The two rear engine intakes are openings with etched intake screens that fit together without any problems but you may want to blank off the insides as you can see through the etched mesh into the empty void from some angles.

All other panels and access hatches on the engine deck are separate parts as they are on the Bronco kit as well as the rear mounted winch cable guide assembly and while the detail is quite well done again it not as finely rendered as on the Bronco engine deck.

The inverted V angle of the rear deck is too pronounced when comparing to available LWS photos which show a flatter appearance as depicted on the Bronco deck but there is little you can do about this and may not be that noticeable unless viewing from directly behind.

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

The fit of the deck to the lower hull is very quick and easy with just 8 locating pins along the side and front and rear notches that make this assembly a lot easier than the very tricky Bronco deck/hull fit. You will notice in all the accompanying dry fit images that the Bronco deck is held in place with tape while the Hobby Boss deck just sits in place without any assistance, this is because the Bronco deck will not stay in place on it’s own due to the tricky fit while the Hobby Boss deck will, making for easier overall assembly.  

Main Cabin:

This is made up of 1 large moulding compared to the 5 separate parts of the Bronco cabin and as a result there are some pin marks on the inside roof and the side windows have channels in the walls to enable the moulds to be extracted. Overall the internal panel and rivet detail is cleaner and more refined on the Bronco parts due to the separate walls but in the end it is not easy to see inside after assembly in any case.

The main issue here is the Bronco cabin is some 12mm longer than the Hobby Boss cabin and again this better matches the 1:35 Trojca plans with the Hobby Boss cabin length being noticably short as a consequence of the hull dimensions that sees other items 'squashed' to fit on the deck.

The clear windows fit into the cabin wall openings and there are the pre-cut masks provided to use for easier painting but don’t add these until you start painting to avoid any problems.

Externally the detail is very clean and mostly well defined with the roof lip the correct thickness while this is a too thin on the Bronco roof when referring to reference photos although there is no side wall rivet detail on the Hobby Boss cabin as there is with the Bronco cabin walls.

The four corner mounted turn indicators are added to the external walls of the Hobby Boss cabin while the Bronco cabin has recesses for the indicators making for a better appearance.

Conversely to the engine deck the inverted V profile of the cabin roof appears to be too pronounced on the Bronco roof while the flatter appearance of the Hobby Boss roof matches available photos better, also the hatch detail on both is quite different with the Bronco forward hatches having just one grab handle and the Hobby Boss two handles along with the raised guard going all the way around the hatches and only on the inner edge of the Bronco hatches. Of note is that none of the 35 pages of 1:35 plans in the Trojca book show any raised guards around the cabin roof hatches, nor do any of the colour plate illustrations.

On the front wall the space between the middle window and the two side windows is too wide on the Bronco cabin while the space between the windows on the Hobby Boss cabin again better match available photos with the rivet detail again far more refined around the Bronco windows.

The windscreen wipers for the front windows are in finely moulded plastic on the outside of the windows while the Bronco kit provided wipers for both inside and outside the windows and you may want to leave off the wipers until after painting for easier handling.

The top funnel is also a good fit to the roof but there are no pioneer tools provided as there are with the Bronco kit 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 life rings to add to the right wall and roof or anywhere really you want to put them.

The details included inside are the multi-part central winch assembly as mentioned above, smaller sidewall fittings panels but again there are no rifle racks or Kar98 rifles usually fitted to the right wall. The forward driver’s controls consist and basic gear levers and crew seats made up of 2 parts each although there are no driver’s foot pedals provided as there are with the Bronco kit.

The forward instrument panel coaming has a separate instrument panel with engraved dial faces and separate steering wheel and this sub-assembly fits neatly to the front of the cabin wall but there is no radio included as there is with the Bronco front panel.

The central conning tower/engine intake is fairly simple assembly with just the two halves of the conning tower and one circular insert inside the funnel and there are no additional details inside the funnel or equipment racks on the conning tower including the MP40 rack which is all present on the Bronco kit.

Lastly at the back is the large square multi-part cabin entrance which sees the fit of the 3 main panels spot on not requiring any trimming although there is no raised entrance floor as with the Bronco kit which leaves a rather large space inside the entrance with the entrance door seemingly up in the middle of the forward wall.

There is a separate entrance door which is made up of two doors, one on the inside and one on the outside which is rather odd as this means you would have to open the two doors in opposite directions when entering or exiting the cabin. There is also no observation window on the Hobby Boss door as there is with the Bronco door.

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 a raised bolted strip around the deck that results in a very snug and firm assembly without any trimming or filling required.


The decal sheet is well printed with 2 balkenkreuz and markings for 2 specific schemes along with a selection of vehicle numbers for making any number of variations for hypothetical models.

Both making options are just marked “North Africa” with the colour painting guide showing both in overall dark Yellow finish as shown on the box top illustration.


The decal sheet is well printed with 2 balkenkreuz and markings for 2 specific schemes along with a selection of vehicle numbers for making any number of variations for hypothetical models.

Both making options are just marked “North Africa” with the colour painting guide showing both in overall dark Yellow finish as shown on the box top illustration.

One scheme represents the LWS captured by the British in North Africa in 1943 and extensively tested. It has the large number 234 painted on the hull port side only and not on both sides as with many illustrations of this vehicle. Also included are the blank number plates applied to the captured LWS and the colour scheme is shown as overall light sand.

The Hobby Boss kit also features this paint scheme and includes two 234 decals but the instructions only show this applied to the port side as it should so why they included a second decal to entice people to apply this incorrectly on the starboard side is a mystery?

There is another interesting point in that the Trojca book says the vehicle was finished in an overall light grey paint scheme and not the light sand as shown in all illustrations I have seen as well as the two kit instructions.
Hobby Boss
Hobby Boss
Decal sheet
Hobby Boss

Overall this is workman like kit of the LWS with later type suspension and includes all the basics to make a nice model although some detail such as the rivet and panel detail being a little heavy compared to the finer rendition on the Bronco kit.

There are some notable omissions such as the rope bumpers, external pioneer tools and internal entrance floor and Kar98 rifle racks with all these including the bumpers are supplied in the new Bronco LWS Late Production kit.

The biggest issue with the kit is the hull length which is dramatically too short based on the additional information in the new Trojca LWS book, but to the exact extent is still undecided. The short hull manifests itself in the "squashed" bow profile and main cabin length which become obvious when compared with the many photos and 1:35 plans in the Trojca book even taking into account the minor dimensional variations as mentioned with the book plans.

It is extremely hard to recommend this kit to anyone who values basic accuracy even more so with the releases of the Bronco LWS Late Production but if accuracy is not a big concern then this kit is cheaper and an easier build than the Bronco kit for those who just want something that looks like an LWS.

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


The main difference between the two kits is obviously the overall hull dimensions with the Bronco hull fundimentally more accuarate than the obviously short Hobby Boss hull even with the descrapacies in the data regarding the actual hull length.

The Hobby Boss kit lacks the prominent rope bumpers which are included in the new Bronco Late Production kit.

Most of the detail is finer on the Bronco kit such as the rivet and panel detail and some assemblies better detailed such as the conning tower and cabin entrance with the Hobby Boss kit strangely leaving out some detail such as the pioneer tools and Kar98 rifle racks but the assembly of the Hobby Boss kit is straightforward without any problems.

I have included numerous comparison images to hopefully show the main areas of difference and as mentioned the hull dimensions leave the choice of kit quite cut and dried in favour of the Bronco Models LWS Late Production for those who valeu accuracy in their kits.

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Detail and comparison 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 my credit card and the excellent service from Hobbyeasy and Lucky Model for the review kits.

Page created September 7, 2008
Updated March 5, 2009