Dragon has just come out with a real doll of a kit…or to be more exact, with a ‘dolly’ of a kit! The subject is the 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43, which was nicknamed ‘Puppchen’ (Dolly) by its German users. This light weapon was a rocket launcher that in standard configuration was mounted on a two-wheel carriage. (In some cases, the carriage could be removed and the weapon mounted on two ski-like runners). Developed from the effective 8.8cm Panzerschreck (RPzB 54) rocket launcher, it differed in having a sliding breechblock that gave the rocket greater velocity and thus a longer range. The Puppchen had a maximum effective antitank range of around 230m, and around 1000 systems are thought to have been manufactured from 1944 onwards. Its light construction (149kg) meant it could be damaged if towed at high speeds behind vehicles, but its light weight was beneficial when it needed to be manhandled by its crew.
This latest 1/35 scale Puppchen kit adds something novel to the mix since the box contains two complete ‘dollies’ and their crews. One of the weapons is in a prepared firing position ready to take out an enemy vehicle, while the second weapon is being moved to a new position. All seven crewmen are German paratroopers (Fallschirmja"ger), and they are well sculpted in lifelike poses. The Puppchen weapons may be small but they are extremely well detailed. This set offers unprecedented versatility with two complete weapons and crews included. They can be modeled alongside each other, or can be inserted into separate vignettes. Whatever the modeler chooses, they are sure to be delighted with their new ‘dolly’!