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In-Box Review
135
StuG III Ausf F
Sd.Kfz.142/1 StuG III Ausf F with Sturmgeschütze Crew Reloading figure kit
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by: Andrzej Snigorski [ ENDRJU007 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

history

The idea of assault guns appeared for the first time during WWI. In March and April of 1918 during great Ludendorff’s offensive, the German army broke the Allies defenses, but strategic victory was not achieved due to problems with supplies. This brief victory was mostly the merit of elite Sturm Troops (Stosstruppen) – these small units were equipped with machine guns, machine pistols, light mortars and flamethrowers and often supported by assault artillery batteries. Artilleryman, most often equipped with captured Russian 76.2mm light guns, moved forward in the first line along with attacking infantry, using their guns to destroy machine gun nests and other fortifications. Artilleryman had to tow their guns through cratered fields suffering heavy losses but they still were much more effective than long-lasting indirect artillery fire.

Right after WWI, great focus was directed on creating mobile artillery support for infantry. Great Britain created a so called infantry tank (i.e. Matilda Mk II), but Erich von Manstein suggested another solution: a heavily armored vehicle, which being less effective than a typical tank (having no turret), would be much cheaper and easier to produce and still give the required fire support for attacking infantry. In 1936 the German Inspectorate of Artillery prepared several requirements that the new vehicle had to meet:

•It should be armed with a 75mm (at least) gun with a range up to 6km, and be able to destroy existing vehicles within 500m.
•Closed or with opened combat compartment with stationary upper hull.
•Having a maximum height of 2m.
•Adjusted to existing tank chassis for development cost and time reduction.

Daimler-Benz A.G. was ordered to modify the chassis of the PzKpfw III, already being produced by them, to heavier armor. At the same time, Krupp’s plant in Essen which produced the 7.5cm KwK37 L/24 gun for the PzKpfw IV, was ordered to adapt this gun to a new version 7.5cm StuK L/24 for the new vehicle. This whole project was named Pz.Sfl. III (s.PaK) (armored, self propelled heavy anti-tank gun, version III).

In 1937, Daimler-Benz A.G. built 5 prototype assault guns of Null-Serie. Tests run on these prototypes showed several problems with the gearbox and suspension, but this knowledge helped in preparation of the vehicle to serial production. The first Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.A left the production line in January 1940. Sturmgeschütz III serie (including versions A-G) numbered about 9400 vehicles. The main difference between Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.F and earlier versions (beside changes implemented between previous versions such as wider tracks, small upper hull changes, additional MG34 and second radio) was the long barrel 75 mm StuK 40 L/43. From this version StuGs were also used as tank destroyers. 359 1 prototype StuGs Ausf.F were produced, including late models (31 vehicles) with the longer L/48 gun. It was produced between March of 1942 and September 1942. The Ausf F was then replaced by the Ausf F/8 armed exclusively with L/48 gun.

contents

This kit comes in the Cyber-Hobby Orange Box, with the cover showing the left side of the vehicle in StuG.Abt.191 Eastern Front paint scheme and markings, along with a small picture of Sturmgeschütze Crew Reloading (Russia 1941) figure kit which is included in the box.

Inside the box one can find assembly and painting instruction, 6 sprues with parts packed in plastic bags, lower hull, two photo etched sheets, and two bags with MagicTracks.

Included in the kit are the following:
•1xA sprue=upper hull body, tools.
•2xB sprue=mainly wheels and suspension details, few upper hull elements.
•1xC sprue=more upper hull parts, many parts from this sprue are spares.
•1xD sprue=lower hull.
•1xE sprue=upper hull and gun parts.
•MA fret=photo etched covers (from Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B (Sd.Kfz.142) Dragon 6008 kit).
•MB fret=photo etched rear support element and support brackets.
•MagicTrack track parts in two shades of gray (Rx72 and Lx72).
•Sturmgeschütze Crew Reloading figures sprue (Dragon 6192 kit).

Most of the included parts are from the Dragon 6033 StuG III Ausf F kit. The DML logo was removed from some sprues, but is still visible on A sprue, PE sheets and figures sprue. The kit contains over 440 pieces.

the kit

The parts are made of good quality, grey styrene. Details are nicely sculpted, though some are a little simplified in areas such as some of the welds. Surfaces are clean, smooth and no flaws were found. Flash was not observed and seam lines on the parts are placed mostly on hard edges leaving no visible marks on the outer surfaces. Ejector pin marks are delicate and placed mostly on areas that will be not visible after assembly.

A few of the more fragile parts seem to be attached very close to the sprue, so extreme caution and precision may be required during cutting. Unfortunately the barrel is once again in two lateral plastic pieces, which means a seam will need to be addressed.

Tracks are delivered as separate links using Dragon’s MagicTracks, this time with left and right links which are easy to recognize because different shades of gray are used.
In comparison with pictures of existing vehicles no significant error was found on the vehicle parts.

Assembly and Painting:
The assembly instructions are printed in color on glossy paper consisting of 19 steps. Since the StuG III versions differed in minor details, the kit was obviously designed to cover more than just the Ausf.F version, as the instructions show many parts that have to be delicately modified to match the F version (some details must be removed and some holes must be filled, so prepare for a lot of sanding even if fit problems are not present). No errors in the instruction were found after two readings.

Decals are available for two painting and marking schemes - StuG.Abt.191, Eastern Front 1942 and StuG.Abt.201, Eastern Front 1942. Both versions are shown on the last page of instructions, though they are printed in grey/blue/black scheme and not in real colors which is sort of strange since the assembly instruction is printed in color. One of the suggested paint schemes is in Eastern Front typical yellow base/green lines camouflage scheme, second one is in base dark yellow color.
Assembly and painting instruction for figures are printed on the last page as well.

Figures:
Sturmgeschütze Crew Reloading figure kit allows building four StuG crew members in Sturmgeschütz crew uniforms (except for the commander wearing field-grey sweater). The kit allows choosing between early-war Schiffchen side caps and Feldmütze caps for the crewmen. The sprue contains 4 torsos, 8 arms, 8 legs, 8 heads (depending on chosen type of cap), 4 Schifchen caps, 4 Feldmütze caps, 12 pieces of ammo in 3 types (4pcs each). Delicate and easy to remove seam lines are visible on figure parts on usual places (torso sides, arms and legs and on heads on the neck-jaw-ear line). Some delicate imperfections (lines) are present on the torsos. No difference in texture between uniform jackets and sweater is visible.

The StuG commander stands with his hands on hips, looking left and supervising the reload operation. The second soldier stands with a projectile in his hands looking up at his colleague who is standing on the vehicle, waiting for him to take the shell from him. Third soldier passes the projectile to the soldier standing on the vehicle. Fourth soldier stands on higher level and stoops to take the projectile from his colleague standing on the ground. You can find a review of the figure kit on Armorama HERE.

Conclusion

Cyber-Hobby once again proves that it is possible to offer a very decent model kit for a good price. What you get for about $30 USD is diorama-ready kit showing a great vehicle with its crew at work. MagicTracks and a few PE parts allow additional detailing.

Delicate flaws and simplifications are present, but they are not visible and significant enough to destroy the overall look of a nice and clean kit. This kit is not as detailed as recent DML kits, but is worth its price and may be a very good first choice for a StuG collection.
SUMMARY
Highs: Good quality of parts, low price, clear assembly instructions.
Lows: Delicate flaws on figure parts. Turned barrel would be much better bonus than i.e. MagicTrack (personal feeling). Kit requires some modification of parts to make it match with F version.
Verdict: Simple, but also inexpensive and good quality model. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 9101
  Suggested Retail: $30
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 25, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 85.58%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.43%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Andrzej Snigorski (endrju007)
FROM: WOJEWODZTWO PODKARPACKIE, POLAND

My first contact with model making took place over 20 years ago – I’ve made few models of planes when I was 9. They were all destroyed in one disastrous accident. Pain after loosing results of my own work was so big that I’ve left model making for about 15 years ;) . I’ve returned to building models...

Copyright ©2019 text by Andrzej Snigorski [ ENDRJU007 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

thanks for the review. wish they hadve used what parts they could have from their newest Stug G or PzIII kits.
MAY 24, 2009 - 05:11 PM
I do believe that it would not be in their interest. Orange Box strategy seems to be placing two older kits in one box, add some extra, cheap stuff and sell it without influence on number of new kits sold. They use old molds which probably have their value amortized. The biggest part of model's price is cost of evaluation of tooling - when this is already amortized production of each detail costs you only as much as operator's labour machines maintenance and raw material used (believe me, tooling may extremely expensive). Even selling Orang Boxes in much lowet price than standard DML kits it is pure profit for them. Using parts from new kits would meen using parts from not amortized toolings - they would be much more expensive and Orange Box serie would not be as profitable for them as it is right now. these divagations are not based on any info from DML or CH, these are just my thoughts based on observations on serial production as it is at my workplace James ,thanks for posting this, and Tim, thanks for reading and for comments. Andrzej
MAY 24, 2009 - 08:33 PM
I've built this kit, it's not terrible once you get it together. Needs a fair bit of cleanup but fit is good for most things (aside from the PE exhaust shield, which seems to be too wide). The result looks pretty good and is an easy build, and the Magic Tracks are a nice addition. The figures had a lot of scar lines in the plastic however, they are going straight to the spares bin for surgery later. A note - the kit requires approximately 93 links per side for the tracks. The manual says "x130" and the parts count claims "x72". I'm planning on doing a SBS to show my shading/colour modulation techniques using this as the subject. Stay tuned!
MAY 25, 2009 - 03:04 AM
Nice to see the kit available again--it was a very decent 1990's kit. The Magic Tracks are a big improvement on the "old school" link to link track in the original kits, but the on-vehicle tools are still pretty poor. Dragon decided not to throw in any of the Smart Kit tools from their Panzer III and IV kits, unfortunately, so an aftermarket set from Tamiya or Cyber Hobby will be needed, particularly to replace the jack, which has the mounting brackets molded as part of the body. One other change in this new release is the removal of nearly all the redundant parts. The original DML issue of the Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. F included all the parts needed to assemble an Ausf. C, D, or E as well, though this was not called out in the instructions. These parts are not on the sprues shown here, since Cyber Hobby is also offering a short gun Stug in its own box.
MAY 25, 2009 - 01:08 PM
Nice review, Andrzej! How is the road wheels detailing? They seem a bit soft to me. And the Dunkelgelb paint scheme for 1942 got me to scratching my head....
MAY 26, 2009 - 03:54 AM
Thank you all for comments! Wheels are bit soft, but not enough to be fun-killers, i.e. old Tamiya StuG had worse in my feeling. They may be more difficult to paint though... Concerning '42 Dunkelgelb painting - I was surprised as well but I dug around and this is what I've found (from Panzewaffe.pl - my translation): "It is common knowlage that Dunkelgelb base paint was introduced by Heeres Mitelungen No 181 instruction but in reality first Dunkelgelb factory-painted vehicles appeared at least in Spring of 1942. This instruction (dated 18 February 1943) introduced new camo scheme of green or brown stripes, dots and spots". I do believe that before this instruction some vehicles prooved this camo to be working good, so it may be possible to have '42 vehicle in this painting as well. Once again - thanks for comments! A.
MAY 26, 2009 - 09:04 AM
That's interesting about the paint. Seems the more I know about camo, the less I know. It's enough to make me give up painting them at all!
MAY 26, 2009 - 10:33 AM
Another note: The roadwheels don't fit onto the torsion shafts without some modification, I ended up drilling out the holes and cutting the shafts down several mm to make them fit. Odd that something so basic wouldn't fit, but it is easy to fix.
JUN 12, 2009 - 03:01 AM
   

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