Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 167 StuG IV (early production)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sturmgeschütz IV resulted from Krupp's effort to supply an assault gun. As Krupp did not build Panzerkampfwagen IIIs, they used the Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis in combination with a slightly modified Sturmgeschütz III superstructure. From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls.
The StuG IV became known as an effective tank killer, especially on the Eastern Front.
The StuG is one of my favorite armor types. It is also a type of vehicle that did not go much past WWII as it was a bit of a dead end when it comes to armored vehicles. Much better to have a turret with enhanced crew protection. However, the StuG was a perfect ambush vehicle and most tank encounters were just that.
As one expects from Dragon, the kit is superbly molded using extant sprues from similar vehicles as well as a number of newly tooled bits and pieces. I particularly like the etched metal side skirts that this one offers. This isn't a kit for a beginner, thanks to the small bits, individual link tracks and the 740 parts that are included. Just to give you a rundown on its various features, I'll let Dragon's PR folks loose:
- Newly tooled StuG.IV Early Production fighting compartment authentically reproduced
- Side-skirt armor plates can be installed separately
- Newly designed side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Newly tooled armor brackets realistically detailed
- Newly designed driver's compartment w/periscopes
- Driver's hatch w/interior detail can be assembled open/closed
- Front superstructure armor w/bolt detail
- Radio set and seat included
- Newly tooled spare-wheel rack w/spare wheels on upper hull side
- Commander's hatch w/interior details can be assembled open/closed
- Optional spare-track rack on hull rear armor
- Easy-to-assemble upper hull
- Multi-part upper hull offers maximum detail
- Fighting compartment armor w/accurate weld seams
- Optional rain guard on fighting compartment
- Multi-directional slide-molded superstructure
- Slide-molded engine deck w/bolt detail
- Roof armor w/accurate weld seams
- Screw heads finely reproduced
- Newly tooled fuel tank is included
- One-piece gun barrel
- Slide-molded muzzle brake
- Newly tooled gun mantlet rendered w/realistic cast texture surface detail
- Cannon can be elevated up/down
- Gun breech and recoil guard fully reproduced
- Recoil and recuperator cylinders accurately represented
- Gun sight and hand wheels w/delicate detail
- Slide-molded periscope sight made from clear part
- Commander's cupola periscopes made from clear parts
- Engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Photo-etched parts for engine-deck exhaust grill
- Newly tooled fenders w/tread pattern on both sides
- Two types of fender frontal provided
- Realistically reproduced lower hull made by 2-directional slide mold; bolts and rivets delicately represented on hull bottom
- Spare-track rack on frontal armor of lower hull
- Duct flaps reproduced w/photo-etched parts
- Detailed idler wheels w/cast texture
- Photo-etched parts for idlers to accurately represent undercut detail
- Road wheels, sprockets, idlers and return rollers authentically reproduced
- Detailed Magic Tracks
As you can see, this is a superbly detailed kit and so the instructions are equally complex. However the build illustrations are superbly drawn and if one takes one's time, no real problems should ensue. There are seven markings options provided. Three of them are unidentified. One is 34 Infanterie Division in Italy with the side skirts. Another is with StuG Brigade 277 in Prussia during 1945 with a winter wash. Another side skirt vehicle is with StuG Brigade 311 in Ukraine during 1944, also with the side skirts. The last identified unit is with 17 Panzer Grenadier Division 'Goetz von Berlicheigen in Normady during 1944. The tiny decal sheet has one set of number and crosses. As a note, though the box art shows a vehicle with zimmerit, that is not the case with the kit inside.
I'm sure that this kit will sell as well as all of Dragon's offerings. Having be a StuG will only add to its desirabliltiy.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. It is available now at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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