Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F
|Kit #: 7286||
Edited by F. Giovagnorio
This small scale model represents a German WW2 assault gun. Basically it is a 75-mm high velocity gun mounted on a low superstructure on a Panzer III chassis. The vehicle proved to be an effective tank killer. This particular variant F (Ausführung F, or Ausf. F for short) was an upgrade of the short gunned StuG III Ausf. E. I'll leave it to our book and online references for detailed history and description.
The Box Art (or what is supposed to be inside)
Dragon's painted box art shows an accurate StuG vehicle moving across a flat wintery landscape. The StuG is painted in panzer yellow color with what looks like a weathered winter white wash. On the side is a red unit and vehicle number and German cross; I see no Division marking that was commonly on the bow area. There are many kill rings around the gun barrel indicating the crew are tank aces.
Atop the superstructure is the tall ventilation dome with ventilation slit under a metal top plate. I see no telescopic gunsight sticking up from the roof. On port and starboard sides we see the rigid radio antenna raised. On the port side of the engine deck we see an antenna trough for holding a lowered antenna. On the rear portside mudguard is a spare roadwheel (which is not included within the kit).
On the front of the boxy superstructure we see the driver's direct vision viewport, and two small view holes for when the viewport is closed. On the bow are two headlights in armored hoods. The suspension is basically that of the Panzer III tank. There is no spare track mounted on the bow as supplemental armor which was common on later models of the StuG III.
The assembly instructions are our standard exploded view type. This is a much simplified model kit compared to the previously released StuG III Ausf. G kits from Dragon, so the instructions will be more brief. the parts diagram at lower right shows the single sprue-A of parts, and separate lower hull part B and the two track/wheel parts (Parts-L).
On the left side we see final assembly of the superstructure to the hull assembly and attachment of the one-piece track and roadwheel Part-L.
I counted 31 pale gray ,injection-molded hard styrene parts, plus 5 unused parts. There are no etched brass parts included. In contrast, the 1/72 Dragon StuG III Ausf. G kit 7283, released four or five years ago, has 124 gray injection-molded styrene parts, five etched brass parts and two long band tracks. These parts are typical sharp molded Dragon plastic with no significant flash, miscast parts, nor sink holes.
There are 12 water slide decals for three different vehicles. The backside of the box shows placement of the decals and a panzer yellow vehicle color.
The idler wheels (parts A-7 & A-8) are cast as one piece when they should be two halves. For a display model I recommend cutting a groove to simulate two wheels and a slot for the track teeth to ride through, and drill out the sides of the gun's muzzle break on Part-A2.
Both roof hatches are molded closed. Corrections I recommend for the superstructure include: cutting in a slot in the drivers port side viewport, cutting in a slot around the roof ventilation dome, cutting out the hole for the gunner's telescopic sight and making a new scratchbuilt gun sight, and drill the two small view holes in the driver's plate above the visor.
At far left above is the 1-piece track, roadwheel and return roller assembly; this is a good compromise between a display model and a wargaming model, but for the display modelers it limits options of modeling the suspension over rough ground. A bigger negative issue for me are the three raised rectangular vents on the engine deck (part-A29) that are molded onto the engine deck with no open vent space around the edge. This is the approach taken with the 30 year old ESCI/Italeri StuG and Pz III kits. It would not have been that much extra work to mold these three hatches separate like Dragon did with their earlier StuG III and Pz III kits!
This is a good, well molded, small scale model kit of a Sturmgeschutz III assault gun. Coming from the approach of a display modeler I am annoyed that Dragon chose to dumb-down their 1/72-scale StuG III kits. Though molding quality is still excellent, his kit has about 1/3 the parts of the previous Dragon StuG III G kit. I used to look forward to Dragon models for their excellent detail and number of parts, not as much anymore.
Please go to the kit comparison review for references and a comparison with the earlier Dragon StuG III G kit.
Review sample purchased by the author.