ARM: Review - Sd.Kfz. 138/1 Initial Production Version

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 34 (Dragon Models
Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6270); Sd.Kfz. 138/1
Geschuetzwagen 38 H fuer s.IG. 33/1 Initial Production - Smart Kit;
959 parts (570 in grey styrene, 240 =93Magic Track=94 links, 147 etched
brass, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel, 1 prebent steel wire); estimated
price US$49.95
Advantages: early version of the so-called =93Bison=94 a popular choice,
nice alternative to the M variant
Disadvantage: some complaints about fenders still linger
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all German, Praga and =93Redleg=94 fans
Eight months after DML released its kit No. 6470, which was of the
production model of the Sd.Kfz. 138/1 Geschuetzwagen 38 H fuer s.IG.
33/2, their boutique affiliate is releasing a kit of
the initial production vehicle. This model actually only changes or
adds two sprues and a new set of drive wheels.
As with the earlier kit, this is a complete =93Smart Kit=94 but one which
uses parts from the Ausf. M kit (the sIG 33 and the ammunition) and
parts from the Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G kit with 87 new styrene parts.
These include the entire upper hull, new mounting braces for the sIG
33 mount with two footing options inside the hull, and a new set of
canvas supports for the casemate (no canvas parts are included,
however). It uses some different howitzer components (which were
already on the sprues) to replicate the earlier =93Stroke 1" version of
the s.IG. 33 15 cm howitzer.
The rest of the kit is nearly identical with the first version, and
so I quote from my original review in January. As with the Ausf. M it
uses =93Smart Kit=94 technology where the emphasis is on detail but they
have also added more brass to including the entire engine grille
assembly. There are still a few optional parts such as a one-piece
shifter control for the transmission or one made from a total of 12
etched brass parts and two handles from the single styrene parts. Only
a few of the frames and grilles will require a good amount of bending.
Note that this model comes with a new (P sprue) radiator housing and
shell for the engine bay.
As with the Ausf. M the howitzer comes with a turned aluminum barrel
and rifling in its first section. For some reason (either other
variants or a towed version being forthcoming) there are TWO sprues of
cradle and breech parts for the s.IG. 33 15 cm howitzer, so be careful
on choosing the right parts as this builds to the earlier =93Stroke 1"
and not the =93Stroke 2" used in the previous kit. Most of the ones used
here are on the =93B=94 sprue.
The new casemate consists of six main parts (front, sides, and three
piece rear door section) with details provided and DML=92s new =93Razor
Edge=94 thinned parts to simulate steel plate vice styrene plastic. The
rear doors may be posed open or closed, and with some work the engine
bay hatches may also be posed open or closed. Fenders are the original
straight ones to which some modelers have vehemently objected.
This kit also includes the engine and other interior parts from the
DML TNHP series kits. The driveline and interior are mostly styrene
parts, such as the transmission/clutch assembly, steering controls,
driveshaft and shield. The ammo racks are all single molded items, but
the projectiles are molded with the rack to get a =93scale=94 thickness to
the rack and as such cannot be separated. Twenty full and six empty
racks are provided along with two single projectiles as well as the
propellant lockers for the sides of the casemate.
The kit also includes the generic German kit sprue with helmets,
canteens, mess kits, gas mask canisters, etc. A two section radio
(transmitter/receiver) mount on the right side of the casemate. Each
periscope in the fighting compartment is all stryene (clear prism
component, grey mounts) and may be positioned as folded or erected.
Assistance on this kit is credited to Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and
Gary Edmundson.
Finishing directions are for a prototype vehicle undergoing testing
at the BMM factory. While this is unfinished sand, a small set of
Cartograf decals with black crosses are provided.
Overall, this is pretty much another =93one off=94 kit but will fill in
the gaps for the diehard 15 cm SP fans.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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