ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 674 9; 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33 - Smart Kit; 720 parts (645 parts in gr
ey styrene, 72 etched brass, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 turned aluminum); p re-order price US$54.99 via Dragon USA Online
898 parts (602 in grey styrene, 216 ?Magic Track? links, 58 etched bras s, 18 clear styrene, 2 pre-bent steel wire, 1 turned aluminum, 1 twisted st eel wire); pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: major redo of kit 6713; includes an interior for the fighting c ompartment
Disadvantages: no interior for the driver?s compartment or ammunition sto wage
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all fans of German ?Stupa? fire support weapons
    As I noted with the first new kit (No. 6713) The German s.IG.33 15 cm howi tzer was a handy weapon, providing a big ?bang? for a relatively small size and weight. As a result, the Germans spent a good portion of their arm or conversion work on trying to find a good way to get it forward under fir e where it could do the best work. After trying Pzkw. I and Pzkw. II and la ter Pzkw. 38(t) chassis with mixed results - either too heavy a load on the chassis or too light armor protection for the gun crew ? they hit on usi ng the more spacious Pzkw. III chassis with more weight bearing capacity fo r ammunition and armor protection.
    Their final effort was a quick conversion ? basically little more than a Stug III Ausf. E or F/8 chassis with a new rectangular superstructure and the 15 cm mounted slightly to the right of the center of the casemate. Whil e it solved the armor protection problems, it turned out to be clumsy in it s own right; the Germans were only finally happy when they switched to the Pzkw. IV chassis and the ?Brummbaer? or Sturmpanzer IV. As a result, on ly 24 of these conversions were made by Alkett between December 1941 and Oc tober 1942. All apparently served in Russia as close-support weapons for pa nzer regiments.
    For reasons best known to themselves, DML took their recent kit (released as s.IG.33 auf Fgst.Pz.Kpfw. III(Sfl)) and has now redone it completely as a 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33. This is in line with the late Tom Jentz ? research on the vehicle. As before it comes with a ?slide molded? c asemate and uses bits from their Pzkw. III Ausf. J Early Production, StuG I II Ausf. F/8 and later, and s.IG.33 kits with 171 new or changed styrene pa rts. The fighting compartment is provided with the gun, radio sets (from th e StuG III), and other details; however, there are neither driver?s compa rtment nor any engine compartment components provided in the kit. In the ca se of the former there are three reasonably large hatches on the top and re ar which are optional and the viewers and hatches at the front, but for the most part the gun blocks out a view of the driver?s compartment area.
    The 15 cm howitzer comes with a new B modification sprue of parts to adapt it to this mounting, and the entire thing is designed to fit in the StuG I II compartment (as did the actual gun with a few modifications). No ammunit ion is provided nor ammo stowage; whether the information was not available or DML simply ignored it is an unknown factor.
    Construction follows the ?Smart Kit? Pzkw. III/StuG III kits. The kit comes with individual torsion bars and road wheel arms as well as all of th e external details on the lower hull such as shocks and bump stops. Each id ler wheel consists of five parts with twin brass inserts between the plasti c castings. All wheels are detailed to the point of having the rubber tire manufacturer?s 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 grill es on the engine radiator air exhaust vents.
    All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies. In point of fa ct, 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 ?A? wheel sprue still consists of seven sub-sprues.
    The kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, comm ander?s cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for vari ous 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 eng ine or transmission provided.
    The kit now includes the DS Plastic track runs which are most popular with modelers short on time or not interested in the time required to assemble single link Magic Track runs. DML does not indicate the proper length for t hese tracks as they do with their 1/72 ?Armor Pro? line so there is no way to determine if they are short or long.
    Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one f inal assembly ? lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun, casemate , and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied , there is still no comment made about antennas for them!
    Input on this kit was provided by Minoru Igarashi, Tom Cockle and Gary Edm undson.
    Two finishing options are provided which cover the two companies which use d these vehicles: StuG.Abt.177, 1942 (grey with whitewash and crosses); Pz. Rgt. 201, 23rd Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1943 (tricolor large patches over sand - red G2). A small targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is provided .
    Overall, while I had not heard any massive complaints about the first rele ase of this model DML has provided a complete reboot of the kit.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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