Gallery Models 1/16 StuG III Ausf.G Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2021||Manufacturer||Gallery Models|
|Subject||StuG III Ausf.G||Scale||1/16|
|Kit Number||64009||Primary Media||Styrene / Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$179.98|
The Sturmgeschuetz III (StuG III) was a self-propelled armored assault gun system that was based upon the Panzer III chassis. In the Wehrmacht's armor development, the Panzer III was intended to be the tank fighting vehicle while the Panzer IV was intended for infantry support. As the Germans encountered more capable Soviet armor, it was quickly apparent that they needed to up-gun their tanks, but in the name of infantry support, the StuG III turned out to be an effective tank killer. As higher caliber/velocity guns came online to combat the Soviets' T-34 and KV-1 tanks, the Panzer III turret wouldn't accept a larger gun, but thanks to the larger turret race on the Panzer IV, the KwK 40 L/48 75mm gun was mounted to an improved turret while the Panzer III was relegated for a time to infantry support. The StuG III was also up-gunned with the KwK 40 (StuK 40) and despite having the official title of assault gun, the StuG III was credited with the majority of the tank kits on all fronts of the war. As effective as it was, the StuG III suffered heavly losses as did the rest of the Wehrmacht, at one point, the factory was producing over 3000 vehicles/year but the total number of StuG III in service at that time only grew by less than 500, meaning that the factory was barely exceeding combat attrition. StuG III production was continuous from the mid-1930s until late 1943 when allied bombing took out the production lines at Alkett. For the rest of the war, production shifted to the Panzer IV production facility with the StuG's upper shell was mated with the Panzer IV chassis to create the StuG IV.
Gallery Models has returned after a number of years absence, and they came back with a bang (sorry). Here is the StuG III Ausf.G in 1/16 scale and it comes in a huge box. This is not the first 1/16 kit out of the Trumpeter/HobbyBoss/Gallery family, the first was an equally impressive T-34/85 and they produced several other subjects including an M-ATV in this scale. None of those kits included a room addition, nor does this one, so be prepared for a large display for this gem. The kit is molded in gray styrene and is presented on 15 parts trees plus four trees of black styrene, one tree of clear parts, 16 trees and one bag of rust-colored parts, and one sheet of photo-etched parts (duplicate trees not shown).
The lower hull reveals how sturdy this model will be after assembly - the hull is thick, as are the other hull components. What is also encouraging is that this kit is not over-engineered nor based upon numerous tiny parts. There doesn't appear to be any difficulty building this gem.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Very detailed suspension and lower hull details
- Detailed road wheels with separately molded tires for ease of painting and vinyl retainers to allow fitting and removal of wheels as needed
- Drive sprockets and return wheels also have vinyl retainers for fitting and removal as well
- Torque bar suspension is workable
- Detailed track that is movable after assembly
- Detailed fenders with pioneering tool mounts for the included tools
- Choice of styrene or turned aluminum main gun barrel
- Detailed main gun with loading breach details on one end and muzzle brake on the other
- Other interior details including commander's sight, main gun controls, and other select items that would be visible from open hatches
- Detailed periscopes on the commander's cupola
- Photo-etched grilles around engine compartment
- Nicely detailed stowage on the engine deck
- Dye-cut styrene armored skirts to protect the sides of the vehicle
One of the things that drain my will to live is assembling track. This track is the exception to this as their is no provision for 'snap together track' here that usually does anything but snap together. Instead, each track link is literally pinned to the next track link, just like in full scale. I've already started building the track runs and while each track link is three parts, the track, the guide tooth, and the pin. I assembled the tracks in 20 link runs after removing the parts from their trees and cleaning up the mold/tree remnants, and they go together straightaway. Then I add the guide teeth with a drop of glue and then off to the next 20 links.
Basic markings are provided for one of four examples (with color profiles illustrating the different distinctive camouflage patterns in use:
- Pz.Abt..215, 15 Pz.Gren.Diiv, Sicily, 1943
- Unknown unit, Normandy 1944
- Pz.Rgt.'Totenkopf', Pz.Gren.Div, Kursk, 1943
- Unknown unit, Berlin, 1945
The full-scale vehicle really isn't that large, but in 1/16 scale, this model is definitely going to be an eye-catcher on the contest table or your own display shelf.
For a look at this kit build-up, look here.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!