ARM: Review - 1/35 scale StuG III with Stadtgas tanks

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 31 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6371); Sturmgeschuetz III
mit Fluessiggas Antreib; 871 parts (526 in grey styrene, 288 “Magic Track” links, 46 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 1 length of twisted steel wire); estimated price $42 via DragonUSA online
Advantages: limited run kit includes some nice touches for StuG fans
Disadvantages: odd choice
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all WWII German fans
    DML’s boutique affiliate has come back 22 months after this kit was originally released as a StuG III Ausf. G early model (DML No. 6320) with another variant running on compressed propane gas. With the exception of a handful of totally new parts added, it is basically that kit plus parts from the Marder III Stadtgas variant ( kit 05) and the StuG III Ausf. G on Ausf. M hull ( kit 10) kits.
    The result – unless released separately as a wide release DML kit – will undoubtedly annoy a number of modelers as this kit, while purporting to be the initial model on the CAD photo logos, comes with about 20 parts for the “Saukopf” mantlet which went into production in February 1944. These include some small bits, a tapered gun mechanism to fit inside the kit’s mantlet, and the manlet part itself which is “slide molded” with good detail.
    The kit provides a lot of options such as either StuG III Ausf. G or Pzkw. III Ausf. M parts as the builder chooses. The rest is the same as the previous issues of this kit.
    The 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’s data readable!
    All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies but only one fender option is provided in this kit. The kit still comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander’s 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.
    Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one final assembly – lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun barrel, casemate, and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied, no comment is made about the antennas for them!
    Only one finishing option is provided: “Panzer versuchs und Erstazabteilung 300", Eisenach, Germany, 1943 (sand with crosses and PV-426 plates). A very small targeted set of Cartograf decals are included.
    Input on this kit was provided by Minoru Igarashi, Notger Schlegental, Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    Overall, this is another “niche” kit which does provide a number of options, but alas no markings or other information on them. Hopefully DML will release the mid to late production G with the “saukopf” as a mainstream kit.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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