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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AMPSOne
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