After leading for years with its early model StuG IV, in the spring of 2012 DML has released a kit representing the late variety – a welcome addition to the fleet of German vehicles.
The model is a mix of sprues from existing sprues and a new parts that cater for the parts that are specific to the late production vehicles. Let’s go through the box.
The first thing you notice is that the box is packed with 29 (!) sprues, 4 sheets with metal parts and 216 Magic Link tracks for 1242 parts (if my counting is correct). Sprues are carefully packed together to save space, and putting them back in could turn to be quite the 3D puzzle 🙂
Sprue A x2: 143 parts, 121 used. Each sprue is subdivided into two sections, seen below separately.
The parts include final drive covers, brake covers, suspension details and wheels (drive sprockets, idlers, roadwheels + hubcaps, return rollers – one of several styles available). The early and late type idlers are both provided in the kit, but strangely enough the painting schemes both show machines with early type idlers.
The roadwheels and their hubs are nicely detailed (including the brand and size labels). There is, however, a mould parting line down the middle of the rubber bandages.
Sprue A (blue): seen in the upper left of this image, it carries 12 parts. Only one of them is used – the monolithic add-on armor to the right of the main gun.
N.B. The mentioned part 4 replaces parts C13 and C18 in step 11 of the instructions. There is a small suplemental instruction sheet that mentions this peculiarity of the late vehicle.
Sprue B: 17 parts, 13 used –glacis plates and other details, rear armor plate, idler supports. All the parts on the sprue are handed. The idler support builds up from multiple parts, so follow the construction sequence and watch your part numbering to avoid trouble.
Sprue C: 27 parts, 15 used – upper hull detail, commander’s cupola. DO NOT glue parts C13 and C18 for a late vehicle.
Sprue C (blue): 21 parts, 2 used – generic tools and kit for German armor, also sold as Cyber Hobby kit 3873. Only the jack supporting block and the crowbar are used here, the rest goes to the spares box.
Sprue D: single-part casemate structure (without the roof), and the engine deck frame. Hatches are separate, and can be posed open or closed.
Sprue D (blue) x2: a total of 102 parts from the Jagdpanzer 70, and only a pair of exhaust pipes are to be used according to instructions. In reality all parts here could be used on various late vehicles, based on the Pz IV chassis, so feel free to mix and match.
Sprue E: 34 parts, 28 used – StuG III gun craddle, radios and radio equipment racks plus a few more parts.
Sprue F: 16 parts, 11 used – gun details. You can add an early style angular mantlet to your spares from this one.
Sprue G: 55 parts. Just 5(!!!) parts used from this sprue – 2 of them go on either side of the gun through at the front of the casemate as shown in the additional sheet for step 11. I took some time to try and locate the other 3 parts in the instructions, but failed miserably!
Sprue H: 6o parts, 32 used – engine deck details, rear fender flaps and a pair of rear towing hooks.
You can also see that earlier exhaust muffler parts are included, as well as several different parts for various types of rear tow attachments.
Sprue J: 12 parts, 11 used – this clear sprue contains the periscopes for the commander’s cupola and the driver.
Sprue J (blue): 7 parts for the tank jack.
Sprue K: 45 parts, 40 used – fenders, rear middle and upper armor, casemate floor, engine firewall, details for the fenders and casemate. 6 spare tracks and 2 styles of commander’s cupola additional deflecting armor can also be seen. The fenders include Schuertzen “hangers” molded on. The casemate floor and the firewall are devoid of virtually any detail.
The Saukopf matnlet has a nice casting texture, and the fenders include full detail moulded on either side.
Again, parts for earlier production vehicles can be seen on this sprue.
Sprue K (blue): 10 parts, 8 used – standard antenna (not used) and several styles of the Notek rear light.
Sprue L: 8 halves for spare roadwheels.
Sprue L (blue): 108 Magic Track links (left hand).
Sprue M x2: 92 parts. 6o of them are for the Schuertzen support frame, the rest are boltheads, molded on the sprues.
Sprue N: gun tube cleaning kit.
Sprue P: 16 parts – late type driver’s housing, casemate roof, machine gun station with shields.
Sprue Q: 6 separate spare track links.
Sprue R: 8 parts, 5 used – 4 different patterns of muzzle brake, 2 suggested as optional.
Sprue R (blue): 108 Magic Track links (right hand).
Sprue S: 11 parts, 5 used – details, including a spring catch that kept the driver’s hatch open.
Sprue X: slide-molded hull tub with 4 return roller supports on each side.
Dragon have stamped all the details on the bottom of the hull tub as well:
Sprue Z: a single length of metal towing cable.
Sprue WC: 4 parts, 2 used – the MG-34 and its bolt cover for the remote-controlled weapon station. You get a folded and extended bipod for the spares.
Sprue TG: 3 parts, 1 used – the cover and muzzle of the close defense mortar on the top of the casemate.
Sprue MA: 67 various photoetched parts.
Sprue MB: 5 stamped Schuertzen (left hand).
Sprue MC: 5 stamped Schuertzen (right hand).
Sprue MC: 6 stamped Schuertzen (second layer – additional casemate protection?).
And in the end – the typical Dragon instructions:
Inside there are the standard construction sequence diagrams:
By far the most complicated part here would be the lower hull with the track and wheels assembly. Aligning the screens is another area where you will need to pay attention, but generally – parts breakdown is logical, especially for sprue sharing.
Watch the part plan, label your sprues clearly so you can easily locate the part you need and a lot of trouble will be avoided.
Next up – construction notes.