Short Gun Sturmgeschütz
III kits in 1/72
|by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski|
Edited by Rob Haelterman
you have read other kit reviews by me you'll know I like to go over
the box art. I think we can tell a lot about the vehicle and the model
kit: What is supposed to be in the box, what it is supposed to look
like when assembled, and what the paint colors and markings should
The box art for Attack Hobby Kits StuG III Ausf. E kit 72816 features a less sophisticated painting of their Sturmgeschütz, but still reasonably accurate. From this angle and the side views below we see the direct vision sight opening is gone like on the C/D variant. New to the Ausf. E are the rectangular box panniers on both sides. This is a good view of the armored headlight covers with small slits for the headlights. There is no appliqué armor as on later versions of the Sturmgeschütz, or spare track links on the bow.
is a rather old model kit, over 10 years old, so it may be unavailable
in stores but we may still find them at model show venders and in
old collections (like mine).
The Trumpeter Sturmgeschütz Ausf. E kit 7258 box art displays a good view of the new box panniers of this variant and the later Ausf. F. There is still no rooftop vent that was installed in the later long gun StuG Ausf. F. On the rear port-side fender we see a spare roadwheel. The U-shape lift ring needs to be added to the side in front of the box shaped pannier. The sprocket wheel features no hubcap so we can see the bolt heads. Compare this with the Attack and UM StuG Ausf. E kits which have sprockets with hub caps. The tracks appear to be unpainted black plastic.
The gun muzzle is molded open. I don't see tow cables coiled on the engine deck as shown in my reference. Be aware that on the armored headlight covers there appears to be round holes? There should be fine horizontal slits not holes in the headlight covers, I think these holes on this model are sink holes in the plastic. The vehicle appears to be finished in a monotone panzer gray color with brown dust.
The UM Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. E kit no. 278 pictured above shows another panzer gray painted vehicle. The vehicle has two antenna troughs over the engine deck perhaps indicating a command vehicle with an extra radio. Over the driver's side visor is a U-shape lifting ring, there is one lifting ring on each side.
front of the commander we see the periscope gun sight coming up
through a crescent shape hole in the roof, and with a bullet deflector
ridge along the left side. Beginning with the StuG Ausf. C this
hole for the periscope gunsight replaced the small hatches on the
roof of the Ausf. A and B. With no hatches this opening must have
been a weak point for the weather, and hazards getting into the
crew compartment. With the long gunned Ausf. F this rooftop hole
sometimes had a wire screen mounted over it.
The Attack Hobby Kits StuG III Ausf. E, kit 72816 is the oldest kit of a short gun StuG III in this review, and I am pretty sure the only one available in plastic when released back in the late 1990's. The exploded view instructions below clearly show the assembly. Without the contemporary ability of some companies to slide mold your styrene model parts, Attack and Uni Models had the lower hull produced out of four parts where Trumpeter and Dragon slide molded as one large part.
All the kits I've reviewed here have the crew roof hatches molded shut. If you want to portray your StuG with open crew hatch, it looks like this Attack kit is the easiest to open up by cutting apart the superstructure roof (Part-24).
something wrong with the hull portrayed in these Attack Hobby StuG
III Ausf. E instructions. Visible in assembly Step-4, the engine
deck appears to be that of the StuG III Ausführung F. I've
checked my references hoping that maybe some of this variant got
modified with extra engine ventilation for North Africa, but references
state only the StuG III Ausf. C/D went to Africa.
The Trumpeter Sturmgeschütz Ausf. E kit 7258 instructions above are clear. Comparing these instructions is an informative way to look at the differences between these short gun Sturmgeschütz models. Trumpeter's instructions I find clear and simple. In Step-3 we see the installation of the band tracks typical of most Trumpeter small scale kits. In Step-6 I see installation of the spare roadwheels (parts-A8 & A2) on the rear fenders which are not included in Trumpeter’s StuG Ausf. B and Ausf. C/D model kits.
The small water slide decal sheet at upper right is the same as for their 1/72 StuG III Ausf. C/D model kit.
UM Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. E kit no. 278
In step-16 we see UM's nice gunsight protruding through the roof opening. The Trumpeter, Attack and Dragon kits reviewed here do not have this good feature. Kudos to UM for including this.
At lower right is the water slide decal sheet for this Uni Models kit. UM offers markings for eight vehicles, all for the eastern front in 1941 and 1942. This is great.
The Trumpeter Sturmgeschütz Ausf. E kit 7258 gives us about 71 light gray, injection molded styrene plastic parts, and two soft black plastic band tracks. The box states 80 parts; maybe Trumpeter is including the 11 individual decal markings?
The Uni Models Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. E kit no. 278 has about 110 injection molded styrene plastic parts for the vehicle plus an additional 54 link & length hard styrene track parts, and 20 etched brass parts, the only small scale StuG III kit here offering etched brass parts.
The Trumpeter and Attack StuG III Ausf. E models contain no etched brass or resin parts or crew figures.
Next over is the upper hull for the Trumpeter kit (part-C3) which looks comparable in detail and quality to the UM upper hull part-10E. The UM upper hull right of the Attack hull has separate fenders, brake access hatches (parts-22E and 23E) and separate tools to mount on the fenders. The engraved lines denoting the engine hatches appears too wide and deep; I feel Trumpeter got it better.
In the center between the two sprues is the old Attack Hobby upper hull (part-A27). The Attack model has some accuracy issues with the incorrectly shaped gunsight opening on the roof, and the raised engine vent covers on the engine deck. The gunsight hole can be enlarged easily enough. Shaving off these engine vents will be more difficult.
At far right is UM's Sprue-E with a lot of small parts to judge the kit quality and molding. I am used to UM kits being molded in a dark styrene like their Sherman models; I find this pale gray color a nice change.
The Trumpeter and the UM hull bottoms are pretty comparable in details. The UM kit, like the Attack kit, uses four parts to make the bottom hull while Trumpeter and Dragon do this with one large part. Looking closely at UM's sprue B at far right I find the detail very good and improved over UM's kits released years ago. For example, I appreciate how UM has molded their engine mufflers as a separate piece (parts 1B and 2B) while both Trumpeter and Dragon mold their engine mufflers on the rear armor plate with resulting loss of detail.
The Uni Models wheels on sprue-A at far right look comparable in quality to the Trumpeter parts. The UM link & length track parts look particularly good but this model track type may be very tedious to remove from the sprue and fussy to work with and assemble straight.
At upper right are the Uni Models StuG III and Panzer III roadwheel parts 6A and 7A which look comparable in quality here to Attack's roadwheels (parts C7 and C8).
Trumpeter's roadwheels (parts A7 and A8) at lower right appear to me to be the most accurate and with the sharpest detail of the three manufacturers here.
At right are the light gray hard styrene link & length plastic tracks in the UM kit. I think these tracks look great. The track teeth are done well and accurate though are solid and many German tracks have hollow track teeth. These StuG tracks should be the same as used on the Pz III, Pz IV variants.
At the bottom is the long soft plastic band track from the Trumpeter StuG model. The detail is good. My past experience with these Trumpeter tracks is that they don't take Cyanoacrylate Super Glue well, so the track ends don’t stick together well and they do not adhere well to the roadwheels.
I've not used these UM tracks before so cannot testify about how they fit together. My experience with link & length hard plastic track is that it is challenging to cut off all the little individual links (Parts A17) from the sprue and get them straight around the idler and sprocket wheels.
I mention before, I am disappointed that Dragon has regressed in
their kit design. The first 1/72 scale StuG III Ausf. G kits released
10 years ago were supreme with twice to thrice the parts, etched
brass parts, separate engine deck vent covers, and well detailed
band track. These new short gun StuG's from Dragon are just nice
looking wargaming kits; this is not necessarily a bad thing; but
if you are a display modeler you might be disappointed if you are
used to their older releases. Ten years ago the Trumpeter 1/72 StuG
Ausf. G models were not the quality of the contemporary Dragon StuG
StuG III Ausf. G models. Presently I assess the old Trumpeter 1/72
short gun StuG models to be superior to the newly released Dragon
short gun StuG models.