ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale StuG III Ausf. F/8 Italy 1943

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 662

0; StuG III Ausf. F8 Late Production Italy 1943 - Smart Kit; 638 parts (587 in grey styrene, 31 etched brass, 17 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track run s, 1 twisted steel wire); pre-order price US$56.95 via Dragon USA Online

Advantages: the basic version of the F/8 variant with DS Plastic tracks; in cludes new interior bits which will will be appreciated

Disadvantages: no ?Magic Track? links in this kit

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: For all WWII German fans

As I noted when the winterized Ausf. F/8 kit was released (No. 6644) this model of the the Sturmgeschuetz III series appeared in the fall of 1942 and added to the upgrade in the vehicle?s armament provided by the base Ausf . F (the long-barreled L/48 gun) by a redesign and uparmoring of the hull. Other parts were either simplified or strengthened. 250 were built before p roduction changed over to the Ausf. G which would become the most widely pr oduced.

This kit either modifies or replaces a number of sprues from that kit and also switches to the DS Plastic track runs in place of the ?Magic Track ? single links. I think modelers are pretty much split on which one is be tter, so while making many happy DML will disappoint others. You can?t wi n (unless you provide BOTH sets in one box!)

As with all kits in this series. it comes with many of the accouterments s een on kits like the DML Tiger I and Panther, starting with individual tors ion 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 read able!

The brass is provided only for those bits where plastic cannot do the job, such as the aforementioned wheel rims (which are now provided in sections and not single pieces) and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck. 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 get s its tremendous level of details. This also shows in the sprues, as for ex ample the ?A? wheel sprue actually consists of seven sub-sprues, so fut ure kits can be done by gating off or ungating other sections of the master sprue to meet the need of those kits.

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. This kit adds new radio sets and oth er changes plus the twin hatch (vice commander?s cupola) casemate roof an d details. There is also a choice between a plastic or etched brass guard for the gunner?s sight (parts R12 or MB1/MA8/R23) but the directions are not very clear on how these assemblies install. Also whereas the 6644 kit h ad the brass cover preformed, here you have to make it up on your own and i t is provided flat.

The kit comes with a new engine deck that like previous kits consists of s everal subassemblies combined to form the deck. Note that every hatch on th is vehicle can be opened for display of the interior, but there is no engin e or transmission provided.

While the kit comes with the prominent machine gun shield and mount, no ma chine gun is provided in the kit.

Technical credit is given to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Four finishing options are provided: Pz.Div. ?Hermann Goering?, Sicily 1943 (tricolor upper hull, black crosses); StuG Brigade 243, Stalingrad 19

42 (tricolor upper hull, crosses, charging knight insignia); StuG Brigade 2 03, Stalingrad 1942(whitewash over sand with black crosses); and StuG Briga de 904, Kursk 1943 (sand with green overspray, black crosses). Directions c over the changes needed for the HG variant inside the sheet. A small sheet of Cartograf decals are provided for these options.

Overall, this is the base F/8 and will be popular with StuG fans, but over all DML has over-saturated the Sturmgeschuetz market and many modelers note confusion with the slight differences in variants. (Note that many serious fans find mistakes in the variants and carp on line about them, so it only adds to the confusion.)

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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