Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 138/1 Geschutzwagen 38 H fur s.IG.33/1

KIT #: 6470
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart kit with lots of parts!


In WWII, self-propelled howitzers were widely employed to devastating effect by Germany, though early designs were merely conversions that merged howitzers with existing tank chassis. One of the more successful solutions was the Sd.Kfz.138/1 Geschützwagen 38 H für s.IG. 33/1, also known as the Grille Ausf.H (Grille means “cricket” in German). The BMM factory in Prague was developing a mid-engine Pz.Kpfw.38(t) chassis for use as a dedicated self-propelled gun (eventually named the Grille Ausf.M), but this program met with delays. In the interim it was decided to mount the 15cm s.IG.33 gun on 90 or so existing rear-engine Panzer 38(t) chassis in order to get the weapon into service as soon as possible. The resulting Grille Ausf.H was produced from February to April 1943, and it was widely used in German panzergrenadier regiments until the end of WWII.


Another in Dragon's line of Smart Kits with the individual track links is this SPG based on the Czech Panzer 38 (t) chassis. The kit is not your standard 'curbside', but has a fully detailed interior and a complete engine, making for a very well outfitted kit.

Here are the kit's features:

Fighting Compartment:
- Ultra-slim injection-molded armor plates
- Nut and bolt detail on armor plates realistically rendered
- Armor plates can be positioned open/closed
- New weather tarp supports finely reproduced

Fighting Compartment Interior:
- Newly tooled fighting compartment w/full interior detail
- New ammo box is finely detailed
- New rain-guard for radio set
- Newly tooled control box has refined detail
- Great detail on Fu5-Geräte 10W.S.h transmitter and UkwEh receiver
- Ammunition rounds, gasmask case, cartridge storage, rifle rack and tool storage w/carefully defined detail
- Bulletproof vision port included as option
- Photo-etched storage for bulletproof vision port
- 98k rifle rack accurately represented by photo-etched parts
- Option of showing rack w/or w/out ammunition rounds
- Crisp detail for cartridge storage

- Aluminum gun barrel w/rifling is finely reproduced
- Newly tooled gun trestle for s.IG.33
- s.IG.33 gun carriage accurately represents the real one
- Two options for shims on gun mount
- Recoil system rendered w/ realistic bolt detail
- Travel lock can be positioned in travel or combat mode
- Locking handle has crisp detail
- Two armor plate options for front of fighting compartment
- Optional armor plates allow gun to be elevated at different elevations

Engine Deck, Lower Hull:
- One-piece slide-molded chassis w/great detail
- Hull interior details such as driver’s controls, transmission and seats included
- Lower-hull frontal armor w/spare-track bracket
- Glacis plate w/nut detail sharply reproduced
- Photo-etched spare-track bracket on armor plate and fender
- Engine deck w/bolt detail
- Photo-etched engine exhaust grill
- Rear panel has crisp details
- Tow hook can be assembled open/closed
- Finely detailed transmission

Wheel & Track:
- Sprocket and idler wheels accurately tooled
- Magic Tracks w/casting-number detail etched on every link

That is a considerable run-down of features and one of the reasons this kit has 810 parts. Dragon's excellent instructions will take you through every step of the build with superbly drawn illustrations and the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. There are three options provided: Pz Grenadier Regiment 1 "LAH" at Kursk in 1943, 6./Recce Batallion on the Eastern Front in 1943 and finally 9./Pz Grenadier Regiment 2 at Normandy in 1944.


Overall, another excellent production from Dragon. It is easy to see, with kits that have the detail and features of this one, why Dragon is so well regarded amongst armor modelers. Not a week end build, that's for sure, but the result will surely be stunning.

March 2009

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.

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