Dragon 1/35 StuG III ausf E
Scott Van Aken
The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG.III) has the distinction of being Germany’s
most widely produced AFV of WWII, with 10,619 eventually manufactured. Based on
the chassis of the Panzer III, it was cheaper and faster to build since it did
not have a rotating turret. The Ausf.E, still equipped with the same
short-barreled 75mm StuK37 L/24 gun as preceding marks, was produced from
September 1941 through to March 1942. Some 272 rolled off Germany’s factory
floors in that period. This variant’s major improvement over its predecessor was
a new armored pannier on the right side of the superstructure to accommodate
radio equipment. Increased space inside allowed an extra six 75mm rounds to be
carried. An MG34 was stowed internally too, and smaller hinges for the
inspection hatches were another distinguishing feature of the Ausf.E.
is one of Dragon's newest toolings of the StuG III. While they did an E many years ago, that was the old tool kit, of which this is not. The kit relies on a number of sprues from previous StuG kits and
adds in a few newly molded items that are specific to this variant. In
particular, the new bits are the superstructure roof, headlights and covers,
StuK37 short-barreled gun, fighting-compartment floor, frontal armor and
cleaning rods in their associated rack.
A full torsion bar suspension is provided, though most of it will be hidden
under the floor once the kit is built. There are tons of pioneer tools and
boxes to place on the kit's fenders. Note that you will have to do some
modification of the extant parts, but
the instructions show exactly what needs to be done. A nicely done photo
etch fret is included for things like engine grilles, the ends of the
fenders and other smaller pieces.
The kit does come complete with a full fighting compartment that includes
radio racks, ammo storage, a driver's compartment and the transmission. In order
to see all this neat stuff, the kit allows for the various hatches to be
modeled open and separate bits are provided for this feature. To help keep
the parts count to under 400 pieces, the kit uses Dragon's excellent DS
Markings are provided for a variety of finishes. There are two in overall
panzer grey from Russia and the Crimea in 1941/42. One in overall panzer tan
from the Crimea in 1942, and two with various patterns over panzer tan from
Ukraine in 1942 and Berlin in 1945. The decal sheet is nicely printed and
some options include unit badges, something we do not often see on AFVs.
This on adds to Dragon's growing catalogue of StuG variants and if you
like the StuG (I do), then you will want to add this one to your collection.
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