The StuG IV was first presented as a production idea by Krupp, who manufactured the panzer IV, in February 1943. Initially the idea was rejected as the StuG III was in sufficient supply. However, as reports from Kursk began to come in indicating that the StuG III had performed better than the Panzer IV in some respects, and then in November 1943 production of the StuG III being severely interrupted by Allied bombing, approval was given for the construction of the StuG IV to go ahead. 1,108 were built new and 31 converted from existing damaged panzer IV hulls. The vehicle, manned by a four man crew, was well liked and was an extremely effective tank killer, especially on the Eastern Front.
have expanded their Zimmerit line by adding the StuG. IV early production, previously released as kit 6520, which received an excellent review and build by Bill Plunk on this site:
StuG. IV w/o Zimmerit
This kit is essentially the same, with some reworked parts given the zimmerit application.
The box, with art from Chang Heum depicting a vehicle from the Eastern Front, is filled to capacity. Don't open it unless you are ready, as you won't get it closed again easily. The kit has over 600 parts, but by my count, approx 200 are marked not for use. There are 42 brass etch parts and 16 nickel plated schurzen panels, one length of steel braided wire, 14 magic track links and two full length DS100 track runs, which aren't marked but appear to be handed. The sprue breakdown is confusing because of the number involved, all pulled from various kits. All moldings were clean and crisp, with no flash noted, no broken parts, and nearly all ejector pin marks hidden.
is from the panzer IV and carries the suspension. It is separated into two sections, with two each.
is from the initial brumbar release. with only some suspension parts used.
The first C sprue
is from the StuG III G early kit, with some parts of the fighting compartment used.
The second C sprue
is a panzer IV on vehicle tools sprue, with only the pry bar and jack stand used.
is the fighting compartment, forward hull and drivers hood straight from the initial release, redone with carefully rendered zimmerit.
is from the StuG III G, with fighting compartment interior details. The floor and firewall are not used.
is from the StuG III G and has parts for the gun.
is from the StuG III G and has fender parts. Only 7 parts are used off of this sprue, with 48 unused.
is from the Panzer IV with superstructure parts.
Two J sprues
. One has the jack, the other is clear parts.
Two K sprues
. One from the StuG IV, with fenders and fighting compartment floor (smooth as opposed to the non skid texture of the real vehicle) and the other small hinges and the antenna, which is marked not for use.
, four spare road wheels.
Two M sprues
, which carry the schurzen mounting brackets.
, on vehicle tools.
, with 6 track links with brackets molded on them.
with three types of muzzle break.
, Brumbar w/zimmerit. Rear plate and mud flaps are used.
, Panzer IV H w/zimmerit, in three sections, forward hull plates used, mud flaps and hatches. The turret front is marked for use.
is 14 indy links.
has the MG 38.
is the lower hull tub, again straight from the StuG IV kit, and before that the panzer IV H, reworked with Zimmerit.
is the two DS100 track runs, with solid guide horns.
Of course, the big issue with this kit is the molded on zimmerit coating. It is done in a nice, not too neat manner. It has the appearance of slight unevenness, with crooked lines and patches where it looks like spatula was running dry. The zimmerit coating is on all applicable parts and is well done.
The instructions are very busy, with several optional parts choices presented. It appears that all etch parts are optional. As usual, care will be needed to make sure nothing is missed. Dry fit before assembly is also needed to make sure everything lines up.
There are 7 vehicles depicted in the marking scheme. Two were included in the original release and the other five are new. They are as follows:
■ Unidentified unit, eastern front, 1944, olivgrun stripes over dunkelgelb base, vehicle marked 113. Schurzen fited.
■ Unidentified unit, Gothic Line, Italy 1944, three color camo scheme, vehicle marked 121. Schurzen fitted.
■ Unidentified unit, East Prussia, 1944m angular three color camo scheme, vehicle marked 23. Schurzen fitted.
■ StuG Brig 394, France, 1944, olivegrun line pattern over dunkelgelb basecoat. Schurzen fitted.
■ StuG Brig 277, East Prussia, 1945. White coat over three color camo scheme, no schurzen, included in the original kit.
■ 17 Pz.Gren.Div, "Gotz von Berlichingen" Kamp, Normandy, 1944, olivgrun pattern over dunkelgelb, no schurzen fitted.
■ Pz.Lehr Div, Normandy, 1944, three color camo scheme, no schurzen fitted.
The detail of this kit is impressive. It is directed towards those modelers for whom zimmerit is a challenge, or who lack the funds to get both the model and the extra accessory kits. The DS tracks are still well detailed, and easier to place than MagicTracks, although there are plenty of inexpensive aftermarket tracks available, as well as some that are plenty expensive. There are some issues, such as the smooth fighting compartment floor, and whether parts are or are not for use. Others may appear during the build, which I am looking forward to. Overall, this looks like a very good kit.