The Sturmgeschutz III was an assault guns that was based on Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf F chassis and components. Assault guns were easier, cheaper and less time consuming to produce than turreted tanks, allowing German factories to build them in large numbers quickly. Their main goal was to provide the troops with mobile artillery support as well as mobile anti-tank capability. First production vehicles, entered production in 1940 with the Ausf G entering production in December of 1942 and remained in production until March/April of 1945. The Ausf G was the most numerous of all Sturmgeschutz III guns produced with some 7893 built. Some of the changes in the Ausf G included the layout of the roof, addition of commander’s cupola with seven periscopes (each could be moved up or down) and sighting flap for binocular spotting telescope along with a 10mm machine gun shield in front of loader’s hatch.
This kit is another one in Dragon Models
Smart Kit’s series and is the 12th Dragon Models
release of a Sturmegescheutz III Ausf G vehicle. The contents break down as follows;
- 9 sprues of gray Dragon plastic
- 1 sprue of clear plastic
- A fret of brass Photo Etch
- 2 frets of Metal containing the Schurzen
- 2 DS rubber tracks
- A 340 mm piece of cable
- A hull body
What you don’t get is the Dragon Card with the PE and other special parts attached to it.
Upon opening the box there were four plastic bags containing all the spruces with more than 1 sprue per bag. There were a couple of sprues that were broken and a few parts that were separated from the sprues. The PE, clear sprue, cable, and decal sheet were all in separate zip lock bags.
The instructions booklet is in the standard Dragon Models
, black and white form in 8 pages and is broken down into 19 steps. The panting and marking guide is on the back page of the instruction booklet and shows 3 views of the tank and there are 2 paint scheme suggested:
Pz.Rgt. “Totenkopf”, Pz. Gren. Div. “Totenkopf”, Kursk 1943
Pz.Abt.215, 15 Pz.Gren. Div., Sicily 1943
One shows a 2 color camouflage scheme but only one color is denoted on the instructions, the other one is a solid dark yellow.
The parts have good crisp detail that fit together very well. There was no flash that needed to be removed, and a few minor seam lines on the road wheels. I’m not the type to jump all around the instructions and this build was going to be strictly OOB, so I started with Step 1 construction of the drive wheels, road wheels and return rollers. There were no problem encountered hear. The rear roller wheels have 3 pieces of PE on their inside as opposed to a single ring.
Step 2 and 3 begins the construction of the lower hull and went together well with no problems.
Step 4 was the installation of all the wheels assembled in step 1. I left the road wheel and return rollers off to make them easier to paint later.
Step 5 was the rear of the hull and had no issues as well.
Step 6 is the construction of the fenders and where the builder is presented with an option to use textured or smooth PE for the fender edge. The instructions also offer 3 different positions to put the extinguisher. I also found that it was easier to add the lower jack brackets right onto fender then the jack and then finally the top of the bracket. With the toe cables we run into our first problem. The instructions tell us to use lengths of cable that are 130 and 135mm long. Both lengths were too long by about 10mm.
Step 7 is the construction of the commander’s hatch and the option to have the hatch open or closed. Here I left out the vision port, which is a clear part, in order to not have to mask them when painting later on.
Step 8 is the construction of the fighting compartment. The only issue here is part G38 and G39, the smoke dischargers, are indicated on the instructions as if they should be left and right when it really should be shown as an option to use either one.
Step 9 was inside of the fighting compartment, the radios and had no issues.
Step 10 was installing the radios into the fighting compartment and the top of the fighting compartment. I left the top un-glued so as to ease painting later.
Step 11 was the components for the top rear half of the hull. Here with sub step J4 you must refer to Step 12 for the proper placement of part D23.
Step 12 was more of the rear hull top, I liked the 2 piece hinge for the engine covers.
Step 13 offers the option to use 6 of part A21 to hold each spear road wheel to the deck but I could not figure out how that would work so I went with the other option.
Step 14 was the front top hull where part G29 which is the latches to the hatches. If you don’t leave the hatches open these parts are not seen.
Step 15 was 3 sub-assemblies, the deck of the fighting compartment, gunner’s seat, and the rear of the gun.
Step 16 is the rest of the gun but you need to hold off on gluing the barrel in until Step18.
Step 17 was installing the sides of the gun and adding the gun to the deck of the fighting compartment.
Step 18 was attaching the fenders to the 3 pieces of the top of the hull and this is where the problems started. The rear of the gun is too long to fit inside the fighting compartment and had to be shortened in order to fit.
Step 19 was attaching the top to the lower hull. Here there was another fit problem as the fighting compartment is too high for the top of the hull to fit flush. I solved this problem by cutting away some of the bottom portion of the deck. Also in this step there is an illustration for 2 different colored tracks which is normally shown when there are Magic tracks in the kit, but the kit unfortunately, does not have them. Additionally this step is the installation of the Schurzen and I was glad to see that the mounting brackets were plastic and not PE.
This kit is a real pleasure to build up until the last 2 step when modifications had to be made. You would thing that after making 11 other StuG III Ausf. G’s that Dragon Models
would have the right dimensions. The instructions were clear and concise with little confusion and no miss-numbered parts. The kit has nice detail and builds up into a really fine version of a StuG III Ausf.G. For the most part the fit was good, little clean-up was required and no putty or filler was needed. Inclusion of Magic tracks would have made this kit even more attractive. One of the DS Tracks ripped during dry fitting.