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In-Box Review
135
StuG III Ausf.G Early

by: Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction
The Sturmgeschutz III was an assault gun built on top of a Panzerkamfpwagen III hull and running gear, and was an attempt (successfully at is turned out) to provide the infantry with it's own fire support. Field trials were begun as early as 1932, with the first production variants built with Pz.Kpfw III Ausf. F running gear during 1940. The subject of this kit, Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. G (Early) was first produced in December 1942, and first saw action in January of 1943. Although this has been produced by the major injection moulding companies before, each has had it's problems regarding accuracy, and therefore this is a completely re-tooled kit from the ground up.


the kit
Open the box and we're presented with all the usual Dragon inclusions. First the Dragon card, holding a decal sheet, photo etched fret, small transparent sprue, length of wire tow rope and a small sprue holding an MG34 and mount. In addition we get a further six large sprues and three smaller ones, with a separate hull bottom. In all over 500 parts!

At first glance it's difficult to fault this production. The moulding is extremely sharp indeed, without a hint nor trace of flash anywhere at all. Absolutely immaculate. The kit is supposed to represent an early production Ausf. G, and has all the feature you would associate with this model such as the commander's cupola, no schurzen, MG shield, 30mm armoured plates on the hull front, and the correct rod-shaped supports for the fenders with the small triangular plates above. The roof of the fighting compartment also has the correct screw heads rather than the bolts in earlier kits. The rear of the hull is also raised and the rear wall of the superstructure set at ninety degrees.

According to two of the references I have the Commander's cupola should have eight periscopes, and according to one of the references it should have seven. The kit one has seven, and I believe this to be the correct configuration?

The torsion bar suspension as supplied by Dragon can be made to articulate by removing a small locating pin beneath each swing arm, although leaving these in place ensures a perfectly level suspension. The idlers have photo etched inserts as in the Panzer IV kits. The thing that immediately struck me when I opened the box was the tread plate pattern on the fenders. I've included an extreme close-up photograph of these so that you can appreciate how finely engraved the pattern is, and this pattern extends to the underside as well, again as in the superb Panzer IV kits. All the three grills for the vehicle are supplied as photo etch, as well as the triangular strengthening plates for above the fender supports. As this is another in the Dragon 'Smart' kit range, the tools are supplied with the clamps moulded on, which can look a little thick, but are certainly the best injection moulded clamps I've ever seen.

The tracks are supplied as 'Magic Tracks' and are in this case handed, so care must be taken not to get these mixed up during assembly, as you'll need a strong magnifying lens to tell the difference! All optics are supplied as transparent parts, including the periscopes for the Commander's cupola, which has interior details of course. All hatches including the steering brake access hatch, have interior detail and can be modelled opened or closed.

Moving to the inside of the fighting compartment, we have a full radio setup, receiver and transmitter, seats, floor with tread pattern detail, and full breech Assembly for the main gun. Although super detailed, it will form a very good basis for those of us who might want to go there, or will look good enough if a figure is to be placed in the open hatch.

The muzzle brake for the main gun, as we've come to expect from Dragon is in three parts, and really doesn't need replacing, as neither the barrel is, which is a one piece moulding and therefore won't need the dreaded seam removing.

The instructions for this kit are uncomplicated and easy to follow. Whether this is Dragon responding to modeller's criticism's or as a result of the Smart Kit series requirements I don't know, but in any case, they are clear and uncrowded. The engineering of this kit also looks to be well thought-out, particularly the one piece slide-moulded superstructure, with a separate roof. This method of construction is followed throughout the kit, whereby Dragon have tried to mould parts rather than have you construct them, and one of the benefits of this is that all the correct weld seams can be moulded, rather than have them along a seam which would require the modeller to touch them up afterwards.


Marking options
The kit provides for five marking options, the most interesting one being the last option offered, that of the 1288 SP Gun Regiment, Ukraine 1944.
2.StuG.Abt., Pz.Div. 'Das Reich', Russia 1943
Pz.Gren.Div. 'Grossdeutschland', Eastern Front 1943
Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944
3.Pz.Div. 'Totenkopf', Ukraine 1944
1288.SP Gun Rgt., Ukraine 1944


Edit* It has since emerged from Tom Cockle, one of the technical Advisors for the kit, that the fifth marking option could not be verified, but was included since the decal sheets had already been printed.


conclusion
A smart kit in every sense of the word. Good, clear instructions, clever engineering keeping the construction uncomplicated, all go together to make an accurate representation of an early StuG III Ausf.G. Highly recommended.
SUMMARY
Modeller's have been waiting a long time for a really accurate representation of a StuG III G, and it looks like Dragon have come up trumps again. A cleverly designed Smart Series kit, that has incredible detail and is beautifully moulded.
  DESIGN:95%
  MOULDING:95%
  INSTRUCTIONS:95%
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6320
  Related Link: Dragon Models Ltd
  PUBLISHED: Dec 06, 2006
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.97%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)
FROM: ENGLAND - NORTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

Copyright 2017 text by Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

I was hoping this one would come available in time for Christmas. Dragon don't fail me now!
DEC 06, 2006 - 04:42 PM
Nice preview. It seems that this is another winner Now we need a build blog to see if all fits well. As you are an experienced builder and this is a Smart Kit aimed at novice/regular builder, I suggest you send it to me for this task :-) :-)
DEC 07, 2006 - 02:19 AM
It's a review. You know I was just thinking I might as well send it to you, and then I realised that the 'Smart' kits aren't aimed at novices, they're aimed at any modeller that wants an accurate, uncomplicated build..........so I think I'll do it. :-) Vinnie
DEC 07, 2006 - 02:33 AM
Ah! crap, it almost worked On the other hand I'm sure you prefer complicated build over simple ones.
DEC 07, 2006 - 02:50 AM
Great review Vinnie. Cant wait for this one to arrive here at my shop Dont forget the Cyber-Hobby Update & Conversion Set for this kit. I'm sure we will see an in-box review for that as well Cheers !! Robert
DEC 07, 2006 - 03:17 AM
Thanks! I've been waiting for this for long!
DEC 07, 2006 - 03:55 AM
HI Oooooooh I wanted two before and now I realize I was WRONG !!! Must buy THREE :-) But, I think you were less than 100% complimentary, heaven forbid the manufacturers blogger finds out ... :-) I think you should send it to me before they get mad and not send you any more kits !!! Tom
DEC 07, 2006 - 12:00 PM
As usual Vinnie an excellent balanced review. Yes, I DO want one at least! Maybe this could be my Christmas present from the kids! If I could add my 2 penn'orth, transfer 3 looks like the divisional sign of 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsfuhrer SS" (the laurel leaf design was the rank badge of RFSS). This unit fought almost exclusively in Italy. Photographic evidence shows this unit used black SS runes painted on the mantlet above the gun, & on the rear plate, as a formation sign, but these are not included on the transfer sheet unfortunately. As a PzGr Division, the Panzerabteilung was equipped with Stugs.
DEC 08, 2006 - 10:35 AM
You asked... "According to two of the references I have the Commander's cupola should have eight periscopes, and according to one of the references it should have seven. The kit one has seven, and I believe this to be the correct configuration?" LINK I know this is a slightly later? 'G', but on this webpage look at the 2nd set of eight photographs, top right photograph. Seven periscopes and the hatch hinge make eight 'recesses'?
MAR 06, 2007 - 02:37 AM
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