StuG III Ausf. G Mid (July ‘43) Production mit Schuerzen “Die Erzaehlung des Schwarten Ritters”
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||cyber-hobby.com (Dragon Models Limited) 1/35 Scale (‘39-‘45 Series) Kit No. 6658; StuG III Ausf. G Mid (July ‘43) Production mit Schuerzen “Die Erzaehlung des Schwarten Ritters”|
|Media and Contents:||659 parts (428 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 21 etched brass, 12 etched nickel, 10 clear styrene, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||Estimated to be USD$59.95|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Mid-production model StuG with schurtzen, new parts added for mid production hill and fender details|
|Disadvantages:||No zimmerit; does not come with DS plastic track runs; ridiculous “Concept” kit|
|Recommendation:||(physical kit) Highly Recommended; (concept) Recommended with Reservations for all German and “Stug” fans|
Over the years, I have followed the evolution of Dragon’s cyber-hobby.com boutique affiliate from what appears to be the sublime to now the totally ridiculous.
First they began with minor variations of popular kits which were probably not sufficient draws to warrant full up release as DML kits, and that made sense. Then they started on more narrowly focused projects such as ammunition tenders or specific vehicles such as Michael Wittmann’s last Tiger I command, which made some sense. Then they switched to one-off desperation conversions, which made little sense except perhaps to kit collectors.
Now they are releasing a series of vehicles based on a series of Japanese comic books called “The Tales of the Black Knights” which makes no sense to me whatsoever. Armor modelers take enough jabs about their hobby as is without now switching over to a series of vehicles based on a comic book which heroically portrays Nazis in Russia during World War II. Nobody doubts there were brave Germans during the war, but this sort of aggrandizement tends to minimize the import of that war and demean the fact that many nations took horrendous sacrifices to stop them. It’s one thing to preserve actual history and another to glorify fantasy.
It’s possible to make good models of actual fantasy characters, and anyone who ever tried to build one of the Japanese robot warrior kits like the Gundams knows they can be fantastic models as well; even beloved children’s characters have been converted to plastic kits over the years. This, however, is ridiculous.
As for the actual model, it is the very nice DML StuG III Early kit (No. 6365) with a set of nickel “schurtzen” plates and styrene hangers and a new set of 15 parts to represent the appropriate changes for a July 1943 built vehicle.
This kit provides the later “Saukopf” mantelet version of the Ausf. G. It uses 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. ll 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 and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck plus some non-slip gridding. 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.
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.
Likewise the modified engine deck for this variant, as with all DML StuG 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.
Final assembly again has a number of different modules combined into one final assembly – lower hull, fenders, engine deck, interior, gun barrel, casemate, and tracks. Oddly enough, while the radios and antenna bases are supplied, no comment is made about the antennas for them!
Anyone who has done any of the other DML kits with “schurtzen” will recognize the concept of using styrene hangers and etched nickel plates, and this kit has the same options with it. There are two angled end pieces and two overlapping center sections provided for each side of the vehicle.
The kit does not come with any “zimmerit” which photos show applied to vehicles just like this one, and it will disappoint more than a few modelers. It also comes with the single link “Magic Tracks” rather than two simple DS plastic runs; while not incorrect it does make construction more tedious for the modeler.
Its one other addition are two of the comic book characters, a half-figure of vehicle commander “Oberstleutnant von Bauer” with eyepatch as shown on the box art and a standing figure. Both are typically well done DML efforts.
Technical advice for the kit is credited to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson; somehow I am not sure if they did the work on the vehicle or the comic book variation.
Markings are provided for five vehicles of this unit (vehicles 31-35) on a small sheet of Cartograf decals.
Overall, this kit may be popular in Japan where the comic is published, but to me it is an embarrassment and demeans the hobby and a good kit.
A 61x2 Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
B 48 Road wheel arms and lower hull details
C 31 Casemate and fenders
D 33 Basic upper hull details
E 34 Interior and radio sets
F 16 Gun barrel and mantelet
F 18 StuG III schurtzen hangers
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 10 Clear styrene
K 108 Magic Track - Left
L 15 StuG III Ausf G Mid/Late - fenders, engine deck, glacis
M 108 Magic Track - Right
Z 1 Twisted steel wire
X 13 “Black Knight” figures (2)
WC 4 MG34
MA 21 Etched brass
MB 12 Etched nickel
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.