DML 1/35 StuG III Ausf.G auf Fgst.Pz.III Ausf.M w/deep-wading muffler - Smart Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2008||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||StuG III Ausf.G auf Fgst.Pz.III Ausf.M w/deep-wading muffler - Smart Kit||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6229||Primary Media||835 parts (508 in grey styrene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 28 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Pros||"Boutique" version of popular StuG III kit adds some new parts for a later production variant||Cons||Not sure if this kit was aimed at modelers or kit collectors|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$41-45|
I am one who has to plead easy confusion with the kits coming out from cyber-hobby.com, the boutique or niche kit subsidiary of Dragon Models Limited. While they were offering some nice upgrade kits to kits in the general DML lineup, their own kits tend to the truly obscure and this one is one of which I have to plead total ignorance. I assume from the fact that some well-known modelers and researchers have contributed to the technical support side of the kit (Notget Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson) that it was an optional production variant of the StuG III but without the very late model "Saukopf" (Boar's Head) mantelet option.
There are good reasons for high mounted mufflers, and wading shallow streams and water obstacles is primary. All Soviet tanks from the end of WWII on were designed to be able to ford 1.2 to 1.5 meters (4 to 5 feet) of water without any preparation, and that covers most of the small rivers and streams in Europe. It is possible to ford them with the exhaust under water as long as pressure from the exhaust is positive and constant, but one flutter in the pressure and the backpressure from the water will stall the engine with no chance of a restart. Mounting the muffler and exhaust higher as with this vehicle prevents that problem. (Of course, the hull better be sealed or the results could be just as unpleasant for the crew.)
This kit provides a verbatim version of the StuG III Ausf. G Early Production "Smart Kit" (No. 6320) but with one sprue from the Pzkw. III Ausf. J kit (No. 6394) sprues and the muffler sprue from what appears to be a forthcoming Pzkw. III Ausf. M kit. These sprues as is too often the case share indicator letters with the regular kit sprues so you have a sprue A (black), a sprue A (blue) and a sprue A (lower case) in the directions. This makes the normally complex DML directions that much worse in trying to sort out the right parts combinations.
As before the kit comes with many of the accouterments seen on kits like the DML Tiger I and Panther, starting with individual torsion bars and road wheel arms as well as all of the external details on the lower hull such as shocks and bump stops. Each idler wheel consists of five parts with twin brass inserts between the plastic castings. All wheels are detailed to the point of having the rubber tire manufacturer's data readable!
The brass is provided only for those bits where plastic cannot do the job, such as the aforementioned wheel rims and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck plus some non-slip gridding.
All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies. In point of fact, most of this model consists of subassemblies, which is how it gets its tremendous level of details. This also shows in the sprues, as for example the "A" wheel sprue actually consists of seven sub-sprues, so future kits can be done by gating off or ungating other sections of the master sprue to meet the need of those kits. DML seems to be getting smarter in their old age, using this technique vice tossing in 5-10 other sprues from other kits to get one part from each one.
The kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander's cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for various bits on each side of the casemate. However, as before these only provide the fighting compartment interior and nothing for the driver's or engine compartments. Likewise the engine deck consists of several subassemblies combined to form the deck. Note that every hatch on this vehicle can be opened for display of the interior, but there is no engine or transmission provided.
Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one final assembly – lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun barrel, casemate, and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied, no comment is made about the antennas for them!
Four different finishing options and a targeted Cartograf decal sheet are provided: Unidentified Unit, Russia 1943 (sand, black 2); Pz.Abt. "Feldherrnhalle", Southern France, 1943 (sand); 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsfueher-SS", Italy 1944 (sand with reversed color crosses); and 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsfueher-SS", Italy 1944 (sand).
Overall, while the base kit is a good one and has proven popular, this niche version is hard to fathom as it seems designed more for the kit collector than the modeler.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.
- A 61x2 Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
- A 86 Pzkw. III fender details and lights
- A 34 Pzkw. III Ausf. M details and muffler assembly
- B 48 Road wheel arms and lower hull details
- C 31 Casemate and fenders
- D 28 Basic upper hull details
- E 34 Interior and radio sets
- F 16 Gun barrel and mantelet
- G 15 OVM and light components
- G 55 Fender and upper hull details
- G 24 OVM and hull details
- H 1 Lower hull pan
- J 10 Clear styrene
- K 144 Magic Track - Left
- M 144 Magic Track - Right
- Z 1 Twisted steel wire
- WC 4 MG34
- MA 27 Etched brass
- MB 1 Etched brass