Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale "Armor Pro" Series Kit No. 7283; StuG III Ausf. G Early Production; 130 parts (123 in grey styrene, 5 etched brass, 2 DS plastic track runs); price US$13.98
Advantages: totally new kit of this vehicle in this scale brings quality of the "Smart Kit" to a 1/72 scale model
Disadvantages: probably not enough brass or options for some modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and SP artillery fans
F I R S T L O O K
So far 1/35 scale modelers have been the greatest beneficiaries of the "Smart Kit" upscaling of older DML efforts, but this one is the first that appears to bring that level of quality to the 1/72 scale kit line. Using "slide molding" and other state of the art work it provides a really decent level of detailing to a small scale kit.
All of the crew access hatches are provided as separate parts, but here only the ventilators on the rear deck are provided as separate bits. It provides the "early production" features of the Ausf. G (e.g. the angular gun mantelet/recoil cover) but only a minimal amount of interior detail (the basic gun, recoil mechanism and mounting.)
The running gear is very nicely done with molded detail on both sides of the road wheels (all separate) and the return rollers, while molded in pairs, are "slide molded" to capture the front side details. With the exception of having the front lower glacis molded together with the upper front glacis, it also has a nearly identical hull pan when compared with the 1/35 scale kit.
The fenders are separate as are most of the fender details, and the side radiator air intakes are provided both open with mesh grille brass parts and closed and sealed. The casemate is relatively complete with a pair of artillery binoculars ("rabbit ears") included for the commander. Oddly, while shown on the box art the loader's machine gun and shield are not included. The mounts are present, but knowing DML this will probably come with the "Late Production" version.
The tracks are DML's DS plastic and represent the 40 cm tracks as near as I can determine. As this is a "first look" I cannot vouch for their fit, but DML in the past cuts them a bit long to allow for sag when installed.
Five finishing options are provided: 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division "Das Reich," Russia 1943 (green over sand); Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" Eastern Front 1943 (green over sand); 16th Panzergrenadier Division "RFSS" Italy 1944 (sand overall); 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf" Ukraine 1944 (whitewash over sand); and1288th SP Gun Regiment, Red Army, Ukraine 1944 (whitewash over sand with "Aleksandr Suvorov" in red). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is included.
Overall this will be a popular kit - I'm not sure but the last one I recall was an ESCI pantograph of the original Tamiya 1/35 scale kit from the late 1970s. Good time for a state of the art one!
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.