Academy 1/35 Sturmgeschutz IV (early) Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||October 2018||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||Sturmgeschutz IV (early)||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||13522||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||New tooling||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$53.00|
In the middle of World War II, the Sturmgeschutz (StuG) III was the primary self-propelled assault gun in service with the German army. The StuG III was essentially a Panzer III chassis paired with the 75mm L/70 gun mounted in a low-profile armored shell. Krupp wanted to build the StuG based upon their Panzer IV chassis, but their initial designs were rejected. When the Alkett factory that produced the StuG III was damaged by allied bombing, production of the StuG IV was approved. While Krupp had produced over 1,100 StuG IV by war's end, that was only a fraction of the StuG III combat vehicles that were produced. Nonetheless, the StuG IV was highly regarded as a tank killer and served alongside the StuG III through the end of the war.
Earlier this year, Academy released a new-tool Panzer IV kit which is still one of the nicer kits of the subject on the market. While I had expected to see a few more variants of the Panzer IV released given the variety of unused parts provided in the kit, instead, Academy has added more new tooling to their library to render this early production StuG IV. As before, the kit is molded in tan styrene and presented on eight parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus the upper hull shell, and two runs of 'rubber band' track molded in black vinyl.
Among the features and options presented in this kit:
- New-tooled parts to render the StuG IV
- Multi-part lower hull which provides greater strength and surface details
- Lower hull has no holes for motorization
- Hull uses overlays to capture the specific details of the version represented in the kit
- Detailed suspension and roadwheels on lower hull
- Rubber (vinyl) track runs
- Positionable crew hatches
- Detailed stowage and pioneering tools on hull
- MG mount w/shield on commander's hatch
Color profiles and decals for four subjects are included:
- 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division 'Goetz von Berlichingen', Normandy, 1944
- 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, Eastern Front, 1944
- 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, Greece, 1944
- Sturmgeschutz Brigade, Kurland, 1945, 'Elabeth'
Some notes to consider:
- The hatches are all positionable, so if you have one of the many Panzer IV/StuG IV crew figure sets out there, this will make a great kit to use them
- For those who may want aftermarket options, while this is a new kit on the market, there are detail sets on the market for the various StuG IV kits produced by other manufacturers available
Academy did an impressive job with this release, and given the unused parts leftover, we'll be seeing other Panzer IV variants coming our way in the future. If you're looking for a handy reference for the Panzer IV series, may I suggest David Doyle's Panzerkampfwagen IV title.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!