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15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33

DML 1/35 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33 - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2013 Manufacturer DML
Subject 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33 - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6749 Primary Media 898 parts (602 in grey styrene, 216 "Magic Track" links, 58 etched brass, 18 clear styrene, 2 pre-bent steel wire, 1 turned aluminum, 1 twisted steel wire)
Pros Major redo of kit 6713; includes an interior for the fighting compartment Cons No interior for the driver's compartment or ammunition stowage
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

As I noted with the first new kit (No. 6713) The German s.IG.33 15 cm howitzer was a handy weapon, providing a big "bang" for a relatively small size and weight. As a result, the Germans spent a good portion of their armor conversion work on trying to find a good way to get it forward under fire where it could do the best work. After trying Pzkw. I and Pzkw. II and later Pzkw. 38(t) chassis with mixed results - either too heavy a load on the chassis or too light armor protection for the gun crew – they hit on using the more spacious Pzkw. III chassis with more weight bearing capacity for ammunition and armor protection.

Their final effort was a quick conversion – basically little more than a Stug III Ausf. E or F/8 chassis with a new rectangular superstructure and the 15 cm mounted slightly to the right of the center of the casemate. While it solved the armor protection problems, it turned out to be clumsy in its own right; the Germans were only finally happy when they switched to the Pzkw. IV chassis and the "Brummbaer" or Sturmpanzer IV. As a result, only 24 of these conversions were made by Alkett between December 1941 and October 1942. All apparently served in Russia as close-support weapons for panzer regiments.

For reasons best known to themselves, DML took their recent kit (released as s.IG.33 auf Fgst.Pz.Kpfw. III(Sfl)) and has now redone it completely as a 15 cm Sturminfantriegescheutz 33. This is in line with the late Tom Jentz' research on the vehicle. As before it comes with a "slide molded" casemate and uses bits from their Pzkw. III Ausf. J Early Production, StuG III Ausf. F/8 and later, and s.IG.33 kits with 171 new or changed styrene parts. The fighting compartment is provided with the gun, radio sets (from the StuG III), and other details; however, there are neither driver's compartment nor any engine compartment components provided in the kit. In the case of the former there are three reasonably large hatches on the top and rear which are optional and the viewers and hatches at the front, but for the most part the gun blocks out a view of the driver's compartment area.

The 15 cm howitzer comes with a new B modification sprue of parts to adapt it to this mounting, and the entire thing is designed to fit in the StuG III compartment (as did the actual gun with a few modifications). No ammunition is provided nor ammo stowage; whether the information was not available or DML simply ignored it is an unknown factor.

Construction follows the "Smart Kit" Pzkw. III/StuG III kits. The kit comes 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 radiator air exhaust vents.

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 still consists of seven sub-sprues.

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. 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.

The kit now includes the DS Plastic track runs which are most popular with modelers short on time or not interested in the time required to assemble single link Magic Track runs. DML does not indicate the proper length for these tracks as they do with their 1/72 "Armor Pro" line so there is no way to determine if they are short or long.

Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one final assembly – lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun, casemate, and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied, there is still no comment made about antennas for them!

Input on this kit was provided by Minoru Igarashi, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Two finishing options are provided which cover the two companies which used these vehicles: StuG.Abt.177, 1942 (grey with whitewash and crosses); Pz.Rgt. 201, 23rd Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1943 (tricolor large patches over sand - red G2). A small targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall, while I had not heard any massive complaints about the first release of this model DML has provided a complete reboot of the kit.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 90 Pzkw III J hull details and turret mounting
  • A 61x2 StuG III Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
  • B 24 s.IG. 33 cradle and breech
  • B 24 Pzkw III front glacis, fenders, smoke candles
  • B 46 StuG III Road wheel arms and lower hull details
  • C 29 Sturm 33 - conversion mount for 15 cm howitzer
  • E 34 StuG III interior - floor, radio sets, details
  • G 15 StuG III OVM and light components
  • G 55 StuG III external details, smoke candles
  • G 20 German generic - jack and OVM fittings
  • K 31 Pzkw. III J Initial Production engine hatches, details
  • L 1 DS Plastic Track - Left
  • P 1 Lower hull pan
  • R 1 DS Plastic Track - Right
  • S 11 s.IG.33 - bow plate and details
  • T 36 Sturm 33 - casemate and hatches, details
  • U 13 Pzkw. III applique armor (reduced sprue)
  • V 63 Pzkw. III - hull details, engine hatches
  • W 5 Sturm 33 - upper glacis and hatches, spare track holding bracket
  • W 12 Sturm 33 - locker and mounts
  • W 10 Sturm 33 - details and fittings
  • Z 4 Pzkw. III shock absorbers
  • MA 56 Etched brass
  • MC 1 Turned aluminum barrel
  • MD 16 Etched brass