The Nebelwerfer 41 was Germany's first production rocket artillery piece of World War II. Its six 15cm calibre tubes could all be fired in less than 10 seconds, but it took about 90 seconds to fully reload and fire. The name literally means 'smoke launcher', but high explosive rockets could just as easily be fired, and both this and improved versions saw much service.
The launcher is a relatively straightforward kit, but while there is some simplification it is pretty true to the original, though some features like the very thick tube walls are not attractive or accurate. It is in its launch position and the tubes pivot to adjust the elevation of the weapon. However our interest in this kit stems from the inclusion of a decent number of crew figures.
The crewmen come with one arm separate as well as the base and anything they are carrying, so they are simple to put together quickly. Two are holding rockets or the rocket casing (also supplied) while a third is holding binoculars. The other two figures have no obvious relationship to the artillery piece (although the walking man could be carrying the ignition cable as shown on the box artwork), and indeed as is so often the case none of the 'crew' is actually touching the weapon itself. Still the two figures could be given shells to hold, allowing them to be used with more conventional artillery. In the instructions the kneeling figure is shown holding his sub machine gun with both hands, but the actual figure does not allow this. However as a general infantryman he is fine, as indeed they all are.
They all wear winter clothing, which is good as such winter figures are less common. The sculpting is reasonable although the detail is a little indistinct in places. Also some of the men suffer from cavities in the chest, and all have an annoying mould mark on the back. However the separate arms fit well enough, and the bases, while fairly minimal, are adequate for the job. The uniform is correctly done, and their equipment, which they have in abundance, is also appropriate.
At the time of release, several decades ago, these are the only German artillery figures dressed for cold weather, and therefore provide suitable backup to those sets of winter infantry which could not sensibly be placed next to the Revell artillerymen (who are clearly in a warm environment). They also have some scope for use as ordinary infantry, and therefore provided a welcome addition to the available range of Wehrmacht figures, though in recent years many more sets of winter Germans, including artillery, have become available, and most are superior in terms of quality of sculpting.