|DRAGON - StuG.III Ausf.G December 1943|
A look at the 'new' Dragon StuG.III Ausf.G....
StuG.III Ausf.G December 1943 Production
Manufacturer: Dragon models
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: 6581
The Sturmgeschütz III assault gun, built on the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen III, was eventually to become one of Germany's most successful tank destroyers. Intially fitted with a low-velocity 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 gun, the subject of this kit, a December 1943 production Ausf.G was fitted with the longer barrelled 75mm StuK L/48.
A sort of odd one to review this. I feel an odd sense of Deja vu, probably because it's all been seen before. This kit is virtually the same as the Cyber-Hobby 'Black Knight StuG.III Ausf.G released back in November 2010. So before you go any further, take a look here.
See what I mean? Also, the Cyber-Hobby Black Knight kit was itself very similar to this one:
The differences between those two, which were minor, are discussed in the former review. The differences between the Cyber-Hobby Black Knight kit and this one are confined to the replacement of two tiny photo-etched parts on the PE fret, a new decal sheet, the omission of the Commander figure that was supplied in that kit, and two new small sprues, one with two new drive housings on, and the other with new return rollers and drive sprocket outer halves. That's about it really! You can glean all you need to know about the basic kit with regards to what's included and the quality of the parts etc., from the two reviews above...it's pointless reiterating completely everything. From a small amount of research, and what one of our members says, this kit looks to be a sort of 'hybrid' of the Alkett and Miag produced StuG.III Ausf.G's
First off, to be really accurate it needs a Zimmerit coating. If you're wanting an accurate December 1943 production StuG.III Ausf.G then Atak produces resin sets that fit, with both the Alkett 'Waffle' type and MIAG 'tile' type Zimmerit.
The return rollers included in the kit are supplied as said, on one of the two new small sprues, and they're of the type fitted to the MIAG version. By this time the Alkett version also had all steel return rollers fitted, but these were without the triangular radial ribs and also had lightning holes....and that type aren't supplied in the kit.
Alkett had by now also changed their fender supports to the stamped type, whilst MIAG had held on to their tubular type, with the kit instructions indicating that the pressed Alkett type supports should be used. The engine deck is also of an interlocked welded design only seen on Alkett versions at this time, and not on MIAG versions until later in 1944.
If you want to build an accurate model, reflecting it's production date, rather than just a StuG.III Ausf.G, then the easiest course of action...since the MIAG return rollers are actually included, is to make your model into a MIAG version! This will mean using tubular fender supports, which are thankfully still included in the kit, although they'll need small triangular fillets added, since they're not. (They were originally supplied as PE). Since you'll be adding Zimmerit, the engine deck interlocking welds shouldn't be a problem...since you won't see them.
You should also use the two-part bolted mantlet that's included on the E and F sprues, rather than the cast one as indicated on the instructions. The two new outer halves for the drive sprockets also now show bolt detail, and are specific to the MIAG version at this time. There are also two new drive housings supplied to fit either side of the new 80mm thick armoured piece that was welded to the front of the vehicle, and is now supplied as a side sprue on the original sprue L.
The new small decal sheet included covers the necessary markings for the three schemes illustrated on the instructions, two of which are from 1945, and one from 1944. See below for full details.
It can't be denied that this is a beautifully engineered and produced model. Let's face it....nearly every new Dragon release these days is! For the modeller that just wants a StuG.III straight from the box, they'll find themselves overjoyed, with an incredibly detailed model that needs no further additions....and let's face it, that's the overwhelming majority of modellers.
For the modeller that wants a bit more accuracy, then there's a little more work to do. It's all here in the box....excepting the Zimmerit of course....but you won't be able to rigidly follow the instructions. You'll need to consult your references and sometimes use parts that are marked as 'Not for use', and discard other parts the instructions indicate you should use.
It is a little puzzling that these alternatives haven't been pointed out by Dragon on the instructions, especially given that the necessary parts are after all included in the box...but let's just be thankful that they are!
My thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.