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Sd.Kfz.138/1 Geschuetzwagen 38H fuer s.IG.33/1 Initial Production

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.138/1 Geschuetzwagen 38H fuer s.IG.33/1 Initial Production - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.138/1 Geschuetzwagen 38H fuer s.IG.33/1 Initial Production - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6270 Primary Media 959 parts (570 in grey styrene, 240 “Magic Track” links, 147 etched brass, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel, 1 prebent steel wire)
Pros Early version of the so-called “Bison” a popular choice, nice alternative to the M variant Cons Some complaints about fenders still linger
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

Eight months after DML released its kit No. 6470, which was of the production model of the Sd.Kfz. 138/1 Geschuetzwagen 38 H fuer s.IG. 33/2, their boutique affiliate is releasing a kit of the initial production vehicle. This model actually only changes or adds two sprues and a new set of drive wheels.

As with the earlier kit, this is a complete “Smart Kit” but one which uses parts from the Ausf. M kit (the sIG 33 and the ammunition) and parts from the Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G kit with 87 new styrene parts. These include the entire upper hull, new mounting braces for the sIG 33 mount with two footing options inside the hull, and a new set of canvas supports for the casemate (no canvas parts are included, however). It uses some different howitzer components (which were already on the sprues) to replicate the earlier “Stroke 1" version of the s.IG. 33 15 cm howitzer.

The rest of the kit is nearly identical with the first version, and so I quote from my original review in January. As with the Ausf. M it uses “Smart Kit” technology where the emphasis is on detail but they have also added more brass to including the entire engine grille assembly. There are still a few optional parts such as a one-piece shifter control for the transmission or one made from a total of 12 etched brass parts and two handles from the single styrene parts. Only a few of the frames and grilles will require a good amount of bending. Note that this model comes with a new (P sprue) radiator housing and shell for the engine bay.

As with the Ausf. M the howitzer comes with a turned aluminum barrel and rifling in its first section. For some reason (either other variants or a towed version being forthcoming) there are TWO sprues of cradle and breech parts for the s.IG. 33 15 cm howitzer, so be careful on choosing the right parts as this builds to the earlier “Stroke 1" and not the “Stroke 2" used in the previous kit. Most of the ones used here are on the “B” sprue.

The new casemate consists of six main parts (front, sides, and three piece rear door section) with details provided and DML’s new “Razor Edge” thinned parts to simulate steel plate vice styrene plastic. The rear doors may be posed open or closed, and with some work the engine bay hatches may also be posed open or closed. Fenders are the original straight ones to which some modelers have vehemently objected.

This kit also includes the engine and other interior parts from the DML TNHP series kits. The driveline and interior are mostly styrene parts, such as the transmission/clutch assembly, steering controls, driveshaft and shield. The ammo racks are all single molded items, but the projectiles are molded with the rack to get a “scale” thickness to the rack and as such cannot be separated. Twenty full and six empty racks are provided along with two single projectiles as well as the propellant lockers for the sides of the casemate.

The kit also includes the generic German kit sprue with helmets, canteens, mess kits, gas mask canisters, etc. A two section radio (transmitter/receiver) mount on the right side of the casemate. Each periscope in the fighting compartment is all stryene (clear prism component, grey mounts) and may be positioned as folded or erected.

Assistance on this kit is credited to Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Finishing directions are for a prototype vehicle undergoing testing at the BMM factory. While this is unfinished sand, a small set of Cartograf decals with black crosses are provided.

Overall, this is pretty much another “one off” kit but will fill in the gaps for the diehard 15 cm SP fans.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 74 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G wheels and suspension
  • B 24 s.IG. 33 cradle and breech
  • B 70 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G fenders and hull components
  • C 24 s.IG. 33 cradle and breech
  • D 58 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G interior and transmission components
  • E 1 Pzkw. 38(t) Hull
  • F 77 Gw 38 H upper hull and upper hull interior parts
  • F 12 Gw 38 H front hull and details
  • J 10 clear styrene vision blocks
  • K 3 Clear styrene sights
  • K 43 Pzkw. 38(t) OVM and spare rivet heads
  • L 2 German whip antenna
  • N 2 German whip antenna
  • N 5 cleaning rods and accessories
  • P 17 Radiator and accessories
  • R 32x2 15 cm projectiles and stowage brackets
  • U 6 15 cm stowage brackets
  • V 10 German radio and racks
  • Y 240 Magic Track
  • MA 147 etched brass
  • MC 1 Turned aluminum barrel
  • MC 1 prebent steel wire
  • GA 64 German generic kit
  • RA 9 German generic radios
  • RB 8 German generic radios