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In-Box Review
135
Sturminfanterigeschütz 33
1:35 German 15 cm Sturminfanterigeschütz 33
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by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ HEDERSTIERNA ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

When the battle of Stalingrad begun, the Germans quickly realized their need for a more powerful mobile gun to take on the enemies strong fortified houses and bunkers. Hitler supposedly put everything else on hold, and gave the weapon industry’s engineers 14 days to come up with 12 vehicles for trial runs. The result was the Sturminfanteriegeschütz 33, which basically was the lower hull from an early StuG III with and armored box like superstructure, housing a slightly reworked 150 mm infantry gun. The vehicles were made by Alket, and the first 12 pieces of the 24 produced were delivered in the beginning of November 1942, where they were send to 23rd Panzer divisions StuG Abteilung 177 and 244 in Stalingrad. The last 12 vehicles were never to reach the 6th army, since the Russians encircled the city of Stalingrad at the end of November. After the German defeat at Stalingrad, the 23rd Panzer division was reformed and it received the rest of the final 12 vehicles, which saw action in the battle of Kursk in July 1943. Due to the poor performance, the production of the Sturminfanteriegeschütz 33 was never set in motion.

Kit contents

The kit comes in the old familiar Dragon Models sized box, with a box art from Autello(?). On the side and bottom of the box, there’s depicted the numerous special features of the kit. The sprues come in clear sealed plastic bags, and the whole kit contains 440 parts and includes the following:
  • 21 sprues molded in grey styrene
  • 1 separate hull tub
  • 1 set of DS Tracks
  • 1 turned metal gun barrel
  • 2 fret of photo etched parts
  • 1 small decal sheet
  • 1 instruction booklet (Not in color)

Review

Dragon Models has released this kit as a “SmartKit”, which means that the details and parts are simplified, and should be easier to assemble. Thus simplified, it doesn’t lack details; on the contrary, this kit has loads of crisp and well engineered details. Even on the underside of the fenders there are nice surprises to be found. As a Dragon Models tradition, there are also a lot of parts, which are for other Pz. III/StuG III kits, and therefore not to be used on this kit. Many more things for the spare box, indeed. Actually I counted the parts not to be used, and found no less than 289 parts for your spare box. That’s over half the contents of the entire kit!

The assembly starts with the drive sprocket, idler wheels, return rollers and the road wheels. These are from Dragon Models earlier StuG. Ausf. G kit and they are nice and crisp and very well detailed. Especially the road wheels and return rollers, which even have “Continentau” (the last u should be made an L) molded on and the hubs on the road wheels also has the screw for filling and controlling oil. A well thought detail. The track tension mechanism is made up of 3 parts, and looks so much better than the “lumps” from the old kits from back in the ‘90’s.The idler wheel is made up of 5 parts, including 2 PE parts.

Next is the hull assembly, which starts with inserting the torsion bars, which is a neat feature, followed by the escape hatches. These can be made either open or closed, and have nice details inside, such as bolts and handle. Beware though, there’s 2 nasty punch marks on the inside of each hatch. The lower hull tub is a masterpiece itself. If you for some reason want to portray the vehicle turned over, the bottom of the hull is loaded with details, even very realistic weld seems! The road wheel arms, buffers and shock absorbers are also good looking, and these comes from Dragon Models StuG. G kit as well.

Step 4-6 is the assembly of the rear hull plate, which holds two 3 piece towing eyes. The exhaust pipes are hollowed out for you, so they look like the real deal. The drive sprocket, idler wheel, return rollers and the road wheels are fitted, as well as the rear hull plate and the rear top armored plate.

Next up is the fenders, which in my opinion are excellently executed. There’s just as much detail on the underside as on the top side. The fenders are made thinner at the ends, so they look more in scale. The tools are very nicely detailed, especially the jack, which come in no less than 10 pieces. I really like the tool clamps, they are a huge improvement over the old “lumps” from the dark ages. The Bosch head light come in 3 pieces! Be careful to remember to drill the right holes in the fenders for some of the tools. It’s very annoying to discover, that these should have been made after you have glued the fenders on. The spare road wheel holders come with an option of using all styrene or PE parts.

The assembly of the upper hull deck starts with the engine cover. Again Dragon Models gives us the option of fitting the tow cable or not. The wire is molded in styrene, with all the holders molded on to it, and these holders are cast very finely. If one chooses not to use the pre molded wire, the alternative is using just the holders, which is small and delicate styrene castings from the A sprue. All the hatches on the engine deck can be glued in either open or closed position, and they are fully detailed on both sides. And these hatches have no sink marks! The same goes for the inspection hatches for the transmission, which also can be set as open or closed, but on these the handles are molded on the hatches.

Step 10 is the assembly of the box like superstructure and the 150mm gun. Dragon Models provides a beautifully slide molded superstructure, with roof, back and side armor in one piece. It has got some very fine weld lines on the outside, but has absolutely no details on the inside. It would have been nice if Dragon Models had added at least some radio equipment, a vent on the ceiling or some ammo. This beast could hold 30 shells of 150mm ammunition, so a couple of round wouldn’t have been too much to add. The MG 34 is a true masterpiece, and really gives a lot to the interior detail. All the hatches can be build open or closed, and there are nice details in both sides, and better yet, no sink marks! The frontal armor has some good looking rivets detail. The gun comes with only a metal barrel, which I personally think is great, but this might cause some trouble for modelers, who aren’t familiar with working with metal parts. The metal gun barrel even has riffling inside, which is a very nice touch. The antenna mount is going on the rear left corner of the superstructure, and come in PE for that extra nice detail, but I strongly suggest, not gluing the antenna on until the rest of the vehicle is assembled. I would definitely break that thing of several times, before I would have finished the model.

Step 11 is the assembly of the front upper hull, with the transmission hatches and gun barrel lock. The transmission hatches are nicely detailed on both sides, and again, no sink marks! The gun barrel lock can be made for locked or unlocked position.

Next is the completion of the gun cradle and fighting compartment. When the gun and gun mounting is complete it’ll take up a fair amount of space in the fighting compartment, and it will look quite busy looking through the hatches. The floor of the interior is the same as in the StuG III, which makes sense, since the vehicles were made up from these vehicles. I still must say, that some ammunition would have looked rather nice here.

Now all the pre build components go together. Personally I’d paint the entire interior before this stage, since it would be impossible to do so after the assembly. At this stage the tracks also going to be fitted. Dragon Models supplies us with their DS Tracks, which are beautifully molded, and easy to fit. Personally I don’t like these tracks, especially on these kinds of vehicles, where the tracks are supposed to sag a bit between the return rollers. I really don’t get why Dragon Models are not providing both DS Tracks AND their Magic Tracks. This way we could choose which ones we’d like the most. This matter has already been the topic of several threads in different forums, and some point at the higher costs of Magic Tracks over the DS Tracks, but when Dragon throws 289 unusable parts at me in this set alone, what’s a bag of styrene individual tracks going do to their budget? Sorry, I just keep getting upset about this track mystery.

Anyway, do paint the tracks before fitting them; it’ll make life so much easier for you. And do fit them before fitting the fenders, things easily snaps off.

Step 15 is the assembly of the frontal armor and towing eyes, which is pretty much straight forward.
The final step is mounting the two large stowage boxes on the rear deck and the two spare road wheels on the front. Even though not suggested in the building manual, pictures show the early vehicles without the larger of the two boxes, so I guess this could be left off.

Painting and markings

Dragon gives you 2 different versions of the vehicle.
Pz.Rgt 201, 23rd Pz.Div., Eastern front 1943
StuG.Abt. 177, 1942

Conclusion

This is a really nice and well executed kit. It represents the Sturminfanteriegeschütz 33 very well, and it can be produced into a great kit straight from the box. Dragon Models has paid a lot of attention to detail, which in the end will make this kit a great building project, even though I still feel the need for at least a couple of ammo rounds and the inclusion of Magic Tracks. I highly recommend this kit. Thank you for this fine review sample.

SUMMARY
Highs: The rifled metal barrel is a great feature, and Dragon Models all over attention to even the smallest detail, makes this a great kit.
Lows: No ammunition and the lack of Magic Track instead of the DS Tracks.
Verdict: A very well executed model of a rare but real vehicle. This can easily be made into a great model out of the box.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6749
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.11%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
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 Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse (Hederstierna)
FROM: NORDJYLLAND, DENMARK

Copyright ©2017 text by Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ HEDERSTIERNA ]. 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

Very nice review on the Sturminfanterigeschütz 33... another favorite AFV of mine. I built the first kit and it is still waiting on some Friul Tracks but this kit is so much more complemented with the aluminum riffled barrel, PE, nice decals and for most of us, the DS tracks. I may have to get this newer version even before the AM tracks to complete the other one. Thanks for the look inside! Jeff
JUL 28, 2013 - 01:59 PM
Jeff: Glad you liked it! Even though you're one of those DS Tracks Guys... Jacob
JUL 31, 2013 - 03:47 PM
So what's the difference between this one and the last geschutz 33 of a couple of months ago (not the Imperial Dragon one)? I didn't think enough were produced to have different production runs. Maybe a couple of bolts more?
AUG 01, 2013 - 09:52 AM
DML changed the driver's cigarette lighter on the dash to the later Sonderfunkgestellungswaffen43Ausf.O mit Spritzensparkengeraet... This was manufactured by the SIEG-HEIL! Waffenfabrik GmbH. (Gemeinschaft mit beshraenkte Haftung) which was located at Oberunterhosenhaven... PS- GREAT REVIEW!
AUG 01, 2013 - 11:25 PM
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