StuG III Ausf. F8 Late Production Italy 1943 - Smart Kit
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6620; StuG III Ausf. F8 Late Production Italy 1943 - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||638 parts (587 in grey styrene, 31 etched brass, 17 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$56.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||The basic version of the F/8 variant with DS Plastic tracks; includes new interior bits which will will be appreciated|
|Disadvantages:||No “Magic Track” links in this kit|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German WWII fans|
As I noted when the winterized Ausf. F/8 kit was released (No. 6644) this model of the the Sturmgeschuetz III series appeared in the fall of 1942 and added to the upgrade in the vehicle’s armament provided by the base Ausf. F (the long-barreled L/48 gun) by a redesign and uparmoring of the hull. Other parts were either simplified or strengthened. 250 were built before production changed over to the Ausf. G which would become the most widely produced.
This kit either modifies or replaces a number of sprues from that kit and also switches to the DS Plastic track runs in place of the “Magic Track” single links. I think modelers are pretty much split on which one is better, so while making many happy DML will disappoint others. You can’t win (unless you provide BOTH sets in one box!)
As with all kits in this series. it comes with many of the accouterments seen on kits like the DML Tiger I and Panther, starting with individual torsion bars and road wheel arms as well as all of the external details on the lower hull such as shocks and bump stops. Each idler wheel consists of five parts with twin brass inserts between the plastic castings. All wheels are detailed to the point of having the rubber tire manufacturer’s data readable!
The brass is provided only for those bits where plastic cannot do the job, such as the aforementioned wheel rims (which are now provided in sections and not single pieces) and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck. All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies. In point of fact, most of this model consists of subassemblies, which is how it gets its tremendous level of details. This also shows in the sprues, as for example the “A” wheel sprue actually consists of seven sub-sprues, so future kits can be done by gating off or ungating other sections of the master sprue to meet the need of those kits.
The kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander’s cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for various bits on each side of the casemate. This kit adds new radio sets and other changes plus the twin hatch (vice commander’s cupola) casemate roof and details. There is also a choice between a plastic or etched brass guard for the gunner’s sight (parts R12 or MB1/MA8/R23) but the directions are not very clear on how these assemblies install. Also whereas the 6644 kit had the brass cover preformed, here you have to make it up on your own and it is provided flat.
The kit comes with a new engine deck that like previous kits consists of several subassemblies combined to form the deck. Note that every hatch on this vehicle can be opened for display of the interior, but there is no engine or transmission provided.
While the kit comes with the prominent machine gun shield and mount, no machine gun is provided in the kit.
Technical credit is given to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Four finishing options are provided: Pz.Div. “Hermann Goering”, Sicily 1943 (tricolor upper hull, black crosses); StuG Brigade 243, Stalingrad 1942 (tricolor upper hull, crosses, charging knight insignia); StuG Brigade 203, Stalingrad 1942(whitewash over sand with black crosses); and StuG Brigade 904, Kursk 1943 (sand with green overspray, black crosses). Directions cover the changes needed for the HG variant inside the sheet. A small sheet of Cartograf decals are provided for these options.
Overall, this is the base F/8 and will be popular with StuG fans, but overall DML has over-saturated the Sturmgeschuetz market and many modelers note confusion with the slight differences in variants. (Note that many serious fans find mistakes in the variants and carp on line about them, so it only adds to the confusion.)
A 61x2 Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
A 35 Pzkw. III M - glacis plate, details
A 88 Pzkw. III generic details
B 48 StuG III G - road wheel arms and lower hull details
C 30 StuG III G - casemate details and fenders
D 34 StuG III G - engine deck details, fenders
E 34 StuG III G - interior and radio sets
F 16 StuG III G - gun barrel and mantelet
G 15 OVM and light components
G 55 Fender and upper hull details
G 24 OVM and hull details
H 1 Lower hull pan
J 13 Clear styrene
L 1 DS Plastic Track - left
N 1 Twisted steel wire
Q 50 Stug III F/8 - details and radio sets
R 1 DS Plastic Track - right
R 27 StuG III F/8 - casemate, details
V 4 Clear styrene
W 8 StuG III F/8 - fenders, engine deck
MA 30 Etched brass
MB 1 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.