by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The Sturmgeschütz was designed based on a need found during World War 1 in that infantry lacked the firepower when engaging a fortified enemy. Development started in 1936 by Daimler-Benz with some of the requirement to include, must mount a 7.5cm artillery gun, fixed gun, provide overhead protection for crew, and not to exceed the height of a standing soldier. Based on the recently designed Pz.Kpfw.III and mounting the Krupp 7.5cm StuK 37 L/24 the StuG.III was born in 1937. The StuG went through many variants during its life, and became the most produced armored vehicle in World War 2 by Germany. The latest kit for Dragon Models covering this assault tank is the StuG.III Ausf C/D, the second last to mount the short 7.5cm gun.
16 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear plastic sprue
1 Fret of photo-etched
1 Sprue of DS Plastic Accessories
2 Lengths of DS Track
1 Sheet of Decals
1 Instruction sheet
When the box I arrived, I was a little perplexed, it is a big box, and when I opened it I saw why, it was full of sprues, and lots of them. A first look at the sprues gave a clue, many of the sprues are from previous Dragon release, there are sprues labelled STuG III, Pz.III, and even Pz.IV. A quick glance of the sprue layout diagram showed that on some sprues, you are only going to use a part or two. But I digress, a closer look shows what we have come to expect for Dragon Models, well molded plastic. Even though some of the parts are from older releases, they are still well done and should serve this new kit well.
The only sprue I could find labelled for the new kit is Sprue D, which includes fenders, hatches, and side armor for the super structure.
Also included is a fret of photo-etch, which looks to be the standard fret used for Pz.III chassis, as the majority of the photo-etch are the parts to form the inner ring of the idler wheels as well as screen for the intakes. For track, the kit includes the Dragon DS track, some like it, some hate it, I am of the later, and I will be replacing with metal track. But a look at the track, I must say, it looks nice, well molded with good detail.
Looking at the instructions, they are of the standard Dragon format. Being a Dragon kit instruction, they are known for the occasional error, so I highly recommend checking part and dry fitting. The construction follows the typical tank flow, starting with the running gear, suspension, wheels, etc. There are a lot little modifications shown to include shaving parts off and filling holes, so I suggest a close study prior to applying glue.
Based on the use of sprues from previous kit, some sprue letters are repeated, so careful when choosing parts and refer to sprue layout. This is important when building the upper super structure. The kit does include the interior of the fighting compartment, but does not include the drivers section. The gun breech assembly does look to be well details, as well as the rest of the fighting compartment.
For the assembly of the gun, the instructions show cutting of the barrel to mount into the mantlet, I would suggest a good razor saw for this. The barrel is one piece slide molded and looks good.
With the interior assembled, it would be time to close it all up, mount the fenders, attach the upper super structure, and rear deck. All look to be well detailed, as with previous Dragon kits. The tools and other items on the outside of the tank are very well molded and look good.
The decals, printed by Cartograf, look great, and include markings for three vehicles, all from Abt.177 in Russia, 1941. Names of the StuG's include Derfflinger, Prinz Eugen, and Seydlitz.
A little addition added to the kit by Dragon was a small sprue of DS plastic which contain two coats and a pair of boots that can be used as a nice accessory on the built. These do look good, and would be nice to see more offered, possibly in a separate kit.
For fans of the StuG the release of this early variant is a great addition to the Dragon line of these assault tanks. The kit includes parts from many well done previous kit, and included with the new parts, should prove to be a great model. While some may wish to replace the DS track, there does not seem to be many issues with this kit. With the recent release of the Sd.Kfz.152 and this StuG, there is the start of a great looking diorama. I would definitely recommend this kit.