Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 scale Kit No. 54 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6412); StuG III Ausf. G May1944 Mid-Late Production - Smart Kit; 776 parts (502 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 single links, 31 etched brass, 16 etched nickel, 10 clear styrene, 1 length of twisted steel wire); price US$45.95 via DragonUSA Online
Advantages: specific production cycle modification of this very popular vehicle; nicely done interior bits;
Disadvantages: single link tracks make assembly tedious
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all WWII German fans
The latest effort from DML=92s boutique subsidiary is actually a =93real= =94 vehicle as opposedd to an obscure one-off and should be more popular. This time they have selected a version of the Sturmgeschuetz III Ausf. G which was a transitional model; there is some reason to believe that it was right at the =93break=94 point between zimmerit and non-zimmerit equipped vehicles and thus does not have the problem with missing that coating.
As is the norm with cyber-hobby.com there are some new sprues with this vehicle that cover new driver faces, new return rollers, new fenders and casemate and engine decks. It has the =93Saukopf=94 mantlet but does not come with a machine gun for the loader.
Like its predecessors this kit comes with many of the accouterments seen on kits like the DML Tiger I and Panther, starting with individual torsion bars and road wheel arms as well as all of the external details on the lower hull such as shocks and bump stops. Each idler wheel consists of five parts with twin brass inserts between the plastic castings. All wheels are detailed to the point of having the rubber tire manufacturer=92s data readable!
The brass is provided only for those bits where plastic cannot do the job, such as the aforementioned wheel rims and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck plus some non-slip gridding. But this one also adds the =93luggage rails=94 at the rear of the hull from etched brass; this is not available in styrene as an option so the modeler must bend and install the brass parts.
All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies. In point of fact, most of this model consists of subassemblies, which is how it gets its tremendous level of details. This also shows in the sprues, as for example the =93A=94 wheel sprue actually consists of seven sub- sprues, so future kits can be done by gating off or ungating other sections of the master sprue to meet the need of those kits. DML seems to be getting smarter in their old age, using this technique vice tossing in 5-10 other sprues from other kits to get one part from each one.
The kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander=92s cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for various bits on each side of the casemate.
Likewise the engine deck consists of several subassemblies combined to form the deck. Note that every hatch on this vehicle can be opened for display of the interior, but there is no engine or transmission provided.
This kit includes the complete =93Schurtzen=94 assembly of 16 plates and hangers from previous StuG III kits as well.
Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one final assembly =96 lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun barrel, casemate, and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied, there are still no comments made about the antennas for them.
Technical assistance was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Four different finishing options and a targeted Cartograf decal sheet are provided: Pz.Kp.(Fkl) 316, Panzerlehr Division, Normandy 1944 (tricolor, white 5; shown with and without Schurtzen); 9th SS Panzer Division =93Hohenstaufen=94, Arnhem, Holland 1944 (tricolor with divisional markings); Unidentified Unit, Western Front 1944 (sand with black 201); and Unidentified Unit, Russia 1944 (sand with whitewash bands, no Schurtzen).
Overall, this should do better as it is an actual production vehicle and not an oddball.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.