Dragon 1/35 SU-76i with cupola
Scott Van Aken
Germany and the USSR employed a large number of captured enemy vehicles during
WWII because of shortages in their inventories. Sometimes they also created
hybrids by combining domestic and foreign components, and one example of this
approach was the SU-76i self-propelled gun (SPG) used by the Soviets. Of
interest, ‘i’ denotes Inostrannaya (or ‘foreign’). This vehicle based on the
chassis of the Panzer III or StuG III featured a Soviet 76.2mm F-34 main gun.
The Russians captured a large number of Panzer III/StuG III armored vehicles,
many at Stalingrad, and Factory No.38 added an enclosed superstructure to the
hulls. They were first issued to units in the fall of 1943, with a couple of
hundred being fielded. Ironically, some captured SU-76i vehicles were
re-employed by Germany, marking a full circle of service for the original
surprisingly, most of this kit is based on the earlier Soviet boxing
from about 7 months or so ago. This is, however, not simply a rebox, but
there are bits added to the upper superstructure so that you can model
the version with the cupola.
You might expect to have to do some modification to the base StuG/Panzer
upper hull and fenders and you will. There are a myriad of mounting
holes that will need to be filled in as well as some small details that
will need to be removed. The biggest section that will have to be
removed is a section out of the area where the turret would fit on
the StuG III. Dragon provides precise directions on just what has to be
cut away for the new bits to fit in place. As is the norm, many of the
various hatches can be posed open if one wishes. Since the 76mm gun is
complete with breech, you may wish to leave one of the fighting
compartment access hatches open to show this off. As usual, you do get a
photo etch fret, mostly for the hull, and not quite as large as what
you'd get with the standard panzer.
Instructions are quite well done and a it is busy in places. One needs to
pay particular attention to these during the build to get all the
modifications required to build this version. Markings are for three
vehicles. One is the box art vehicle with upper whitewash and a panzer
grey lower chassis. Another has a full white upper and lower section
while a third is in Soviet green with a few brown splotches. The decal
sheet is simply generic insignia of different dimensions.
Here is a chance for both the Soviet and German armor fan to build the
same kit. This kit uses Magic Tracks, which are the individual links and
this set has the extended winterketten option. In all, a nice addition to any WWII armor collection.
www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This one is
currently available at your favorite retailer.
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