|KIT:||Dragon Models 1/35 Sd.Kfz 166 'Brummbar' (mid production)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sturmpanzer IV (also known as Sturmpanzer 43 or Sd.Kfz. 166) was an armoured infantry support gun based on the Panzer IVchassis used in the Second World War. It was known by the nickname Brummbär ("grizzly bear") by Allied intelligence, a name which was not used by the Germans. German soldiers nicknamed it the "Stupa".
The Sturmpanzer IV was a development of the Panzer IV tank and designed to provide direct infantry fire support, especially in urban areas. Earlier vehicles like the StuG III were not completely adequate for this role and therefore it was decided in early 1942 to develop a new vehicle.
The result was the Sturmpanzer IV, which used a Panzer IV chassis with a new, fixed superstructure housing the 150 mm Sturmhaubitze (StuH) 43 L/12 gun. This fired both high explosive and shaped charge anti-tank rounds. Thirty eight rounds, with separate propellent cartridges, could be carried.
The original design of the Sturmpanzer IV suffered from a series of flaws, which were gradually solved during the production process. The most important flaw was the high weight and recoil of the StuH 43 gun, which overloaded the Panzer IV chassis and made the entire vehicle top-heavy. Furthermore, early vehicles suffered from transmission failures and were underpowered.
Another significant flaw was the absence of a machine gun which made it easy for enemy infantry to attack the vehicle at close range. Early vehicles carried a MP 40 sub-machine gun inside, which could be fired through firing ports in the side of the superstructure.
In October 1943 it was decided that the Sturmpanzer IV's superstructure as well as the StuH 43 gun needed to be redesigned to fix these flaws. A new and lighter version of the StuH 43 gun was produced, the StuH 43/1 L/12. This gun was used from the second production series onwards.
A new superstructure was added in mid-1944 which featured a redesigned gun collar, as well as a general reduction in height of the superstructure. This redesign also introduced a ball mount in the front superstructure for a MG34 machine gun with 600 rounds.
Dragon always knows how to please armor modelers and their new Brummbar kit is no exception. It seems that Dragon does not release a new kit unless there have been either new parts or upgraded pieces included. This particular kit has a long listing of features, so I'll leave it to Dragon to tell you what they are:
- Fighting compartment with pistol ports made by 3-directional slide molds
- Interlocking detail on fighting compartment realistically depicted
- Fighting compartment roof rendered with delicate details
- Fighting compartment roof hatch provided w/options
- Fighting compartment floor has realistic texture
- Pistol port can be assembled open/closed
- Rear fighting compartment hatch can be displayed open/closed
- Accurate reproduced mount of star-antenna is newly tooled
- Star-antenna included
- StuH.43/1 L/12 main gun with slide-molded barrel
- Rifling inside gun barrel authentically recreated
- Fully detailed gun w/breech assembly
- Gun breech and recoil guard fully reproduced
- Gunner’s seat plus clear-plastic periscope represented in detail
- Slide-molded periscope with clear plastic parts is newly reproduced
Upper Hull & Engine Deck:
- Glacis plate is newly designed
- Spare track on glacis plate and lower-hull frontal armor
- New spare-track rack on lower-hull frontal armor
- Newly designed jack made by slide molds
- On-vehicle tools new for this vehicle
- Duct shutters reproduced with photo-etched parts
- New fenders with tread pattern on both sides
- Air filter newly tooled for this vehicle
- New tooling for side toolbox
- Slide-molded engine deck w/bolt detail
- Engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Photo-etched part for engine-deck exhaust grill
- New spare-wheel rack installed on rear of vehicle
- Newly designed side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Side-skirt armor brackets realistically detailed
- Side-skirt armor plates can be installed separately
Lower Hull, Suspension, wheels and tracks:
- New lower hull made by 2-directional slide mold; bolts and rivets delicately represented on hull bottom
- Brand new running gear for Brummbar - newly tooled road wheels, sprockets, idlers and return rollers authentically reproduced
- Photo-etched parts for idlers to accurately represent undercut detail
- Newly tooled Magic Track
With over 800 parts this is not a kit for the new modeler, but those who are willing to put forward the time and effort will find that not only is it a pretty much straight-forward build, but that the kit includes everything needed to produce a high quality model. Dragon's instructions are quite extensive and provide 22 construction steps. Colors are by Gunze and Model Master. It is a good idea to double check parts before attaching them as Dragon generally has at least one instruction sheet glitch. The etched brass is superbly done as are Dragon's patented Magic Track link system. The small sheet provides numbers and insignia for three similarly painted vehicles from Stu.Pz.Abt 216 in Italy during 1944 as shown on the box art.
TI'm sure you will be delighted with this kit as it will surely make into an exceptional model.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or via the hyperlink. I know you will not be disappointed.
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