Trumpeter 1/35 German 12.8cm Tank Destroyer L/61 'Sturer Emil' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2005||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||German 12.8cm Tank Destroyer L/61 'Sturer Emil'||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0350||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject, nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$24.95|
According to the biographical sheet from the distributor, the 'Sturer Emil' tank destroyer was a concept that never made it into production. Only two prototypes were built, both were sent into action on the Eastern Front, one of which was subsequently captured by Soviet forces.
This tank destroyer was built on the VK3301 chassis which was the basis for the Tiger tank. The main gun was a 12.8cm L/61 anti-tank weapon. To put this into perspective, 8,8cm was the caliber for the Tiger's main gun and for the family of Flak and anti-tank weapons that literally devastated US and allied armor. The gun on the Sturer Emil was nearly 50% larger in caliber! From another perspective, the main gun on today's M1A1/M1A2 Abrams and Leopard II tanks is 'only' 12.0cm. This was a big gun and would have likely devastated the T-34s had the Sturer Emil had been produced in any numbers.
Trumpeter has released the 'Sturer Emil' in 1/35 scale. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit consists of 245 parts on five parts trees plus the upper and lower hulls and armor gun shield. The tracks are the standard 'rubber' track molded in black.
Judging from the details in this kit, Trumpeter must have either visited a surviving Sturer Emil or came by some decent reference photos. Since these type of self-propelled anti-tank guns had open-topped armor, the gun crew area is quite visible and you can see from the parts photos how much detail will be going in there.
Tiger lovers will find the suspension and road wheel placement quite familiar. I don't envy these crews when you consider how many road wheels had to be removed to replace one of the inside wheels! Seven steps are dedicated to the assembly and installation of the road wheels and return rollers.
The details on the outside of the hull was limited to pioneering tools and some storage boxes. The remainder of the parts go inside that gun shield. Ammunition for this gun was two-part. There are storage racks for the projectiles and racks for the cartridges.
The detailing of the main gun is also quite impressive and should provide the modeler with a satisfying result on completion. The gun then mounts inside the gun shield atop the hull and some details are visible down into the hull.
The kit is completed with the installation of spare track links which are stored on either side of the gun mantle and across the front of the hull to provide the gun crew and driver additional armor protection.
Markings are included for one example that includes quite a few kill rings for the gun barrel.
It was a bit of a surprise to see a production kit of such a limited production/use weapon, but then again, DML did the Maus. Nevertheless, modelers of German armor and tank plinkers in particular will enjoy this big gun on their shelf as the ultimate tank plinker that could have been. Recommended!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!