Tamiya’s long awaited new StuG III Ausf. B is a good kit OOB, with excellent fitting parts and the added versatility of articulated suspension. The limitations of injection moulding are as always obvious, with many parts over scale or simplified. Tamiya has included some interior detail, and although not much can be seen through the hatches, the interior is crude and sparse. For those who crave more detail, Eduard has produced two Photo-etch sets to add that which is missing, and to replace that which is over scale. Set # 35 836 is for the exterior, and a link to that review is below. This review concerns set # 35 875, which is designed for the StuG III Ausf. B interior.
What’s in the bag?
A plastic envelope contains three frets of Photo-etch, 5 pages of instructions and a small piece of clear acetate which the dashboard dials printed on it. The frets are sandwiched between by two pieces of card, to avoid damage or bending during handling.
A look at the contents
There are a total of 197 parts in this set, and the first parts to catch your eye are the replacement floor panels. Finely textured, these parts cover the Tamiya kit ‘floor’ and are a great improvement. The instructions call for a fair amount of cutting in the Tamiya kit, and a sharp Exacto and a straight edge will be required.
Seven ammo bins can be built open or closed, and include the inside racks to hold the shells. The Tamiya radio is used, but dressed up with some mounting brackets, and a replacement for the solid moulded grab handle in the radio face. To finish off the radio you will have to add your own wiring.
Both the commander and loader hatches are detailed with a locking mechanism, which is far better than the solid moulded affair from the kit. The commander’s seat is mounted on a vertical pole, and can be raised or lowered to enable him to either, when raised, look out of the hatch or, when lowered, look though the periscope. This detail is virtually non-existent in the Tamiya kit, but the Eduard set contains the parts for the pole, with very fine latch holes. The kit seat is used, and needs a small amount of trimming.
The ammo bin against the firewall also mounts four racks for 12 stick grenades, and the Tamiya item, again solid moulded, really needs to be replaced. The Eduard racks are a massive improvement.
As might be expected from Eduard there are a number of simple but effective latches for ammo bin lids etc. as well as mounting clamps for both the MP40’s and replacement Gasmask cans.
Overall a good set which will greatly enhance the interior. The one major omission from Tamiya and to some extend Eduard is the drivers station. Tamiya has some basic visor detail moulded into the superstructure, and Eduard provides a fine replacement for this, as well as an instrument panel. To put these on view you will have to open the drivers hatch, which will not only show the added detail, but also the missing drivers seat, steering controls, gearbox etc. Why Tamiya can include a (rough) gun with elevation gears, floor, gunner and commanders seat and radio but no (basic) gearbox or drivers seat I do not understand. It means that either some scratch building or another aftermarket set will be needed to provide this missing detail. The ammo bins however are a great addition, and will really fill out and improve the interior. If you want to detail the interior, this set is recommended.
[StuG. III Ausf. B exterior
My thanks to Eduard
for this review sample.