Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.6417: "Dragon Expo 07" special kit "Georg Bose" StuG.III Ausf. G Early Production; 705 parts (383 in grey styrene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 23 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 1 length of twisted steel wire); estimated price US$39.95
Advantages: specific vehicle that can be traced to a specific man on a specific date nice idea; "Smart Kit" virtually untouched from first release
Disadvantages: Due to "Smart Kit" concept likely to be some complaint about shortage of brass or multimedia parts
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German "Stug" fans and kit collectors
Once a year now Dragon Models has come up with the brilliant idea of collocating with major US and European model shows and holding "Dragon Expo" in which they present seminars on modeling and actual subjects, clinics, and also release both new items and special versions of older kits as "DX" specials. This year DX 07 saw the release of two kits, a US M2A1 halftrack as a 2nd Armored Division special with a 37mm gun mounted in the rear and the StuG III Ausf. G vehicle used by German Leutnant Georg Bose, a Knight's Cross winner in this vehicle.
The kit is essentially the original No. 6320 StuG III Ausf. G Early Production - Smart Kit version but with some minor tweaks, notably a new sheet of etched brass with an improved rear air exhaust grille screen and three new styrene parts, the thickened lower glacis plate and applique plates for the front vertical parts of the casemate. It also includes specific directions for finishing as Lt. Bose's vehicle in winter whitewash and a nicely done specific targeted set of Cartograf decals.
Other than that, it is as noted a verbatim copy of the original kit. The kit comes 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!
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. Modelers should again note the concept of a "Smart Kit" being one which does not NEED a large amount of brass to look good so it eschews it.
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 "A" 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'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!
Input on this kit was provided by Minoru Igarashi, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson with specific help from Gordon Wacker.
Overall, this is a nice idea and uses a great kit for its basis. "DX" kits also tend to be one-time-only releases and at good prices, so if you want one and don't feel like dealing with kit collectors in the future I suggest you grab it up now.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.