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Found 9 results

  1. StuG III Ausf.G Feb 1943 Alkett Prod. (72101) 1:72 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a popular German WWII AFV, and the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes why. The SturmGeschütz III was based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removed the turret and front deck, replacing it with an armoured casemate with a lower profile that mounted a fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse, but it soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer, lurking in wait for Allied forces to stumble haplessly into its path, where it could be deadly. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets, the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by a higher velocity unit that was also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat, extending the type’s viable career to the end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and whilst they were equipped with guns, they were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42. By this time the StuG III had progressed to the Ausf.G, which was based on the later Panzer III Ausf.M, with a widened upper hull and improvements in armour to increase survivability prospects for the crew. Many of the complicated aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified by that time, which led to several specific differences in some of the external fitments around the gun, such as the Saukopf mantlet protector. The Ausf.G was the last and most numerous version, and was used until the end of the war with additional armour plates often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from Allied tanks and artillery. The Kit This is a new tooling from MiniArt in their nascent 1:72 armour line, which is bringing high levels of detail to this smaller scale, with MiniArt’s engineers and tool designers applying their skills to a scale that has been neglected to an extent for many years. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are nine sprues of various sizes in grey styrene, a small clear sprue with decals in a Ziploc bag, a Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret in a card envelope, and the instruction booklet in full colour in portrait A5 format. Detail is excellent, including weld-lines and tread-plate moulded into the exterior of the hull, with plenty of options for personalisation, and link-and-length tracks to provide good detail without making the building of the tracks too time consuming. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is put together with five parts creating the ‘tub’, then adding the three-part glacis plate at the front, and the exhaust assembly at the rear, accompanied by duct-work and overhanging vents with a PE mesh panel underneath. One decal option has a few holes drilled into the rear overhang before installation for use later, then various suspension parts are applied to the sides that have the swing arms and axles already moulded-in. Six paired return rollers are made up, along with twelve pairs of road wheels, plus two-part idler wheels and drive sprockets, which have an alternative front sprocket face for you to choose from. Once all the wheels are installed on their axles, the tracks can be built, utilising the long lengths on the top and bottom, adding shorter lengths to the diagonal risers, and individual links around the sharper curved sections toward the ends of the runs. There are eight individual links at the rear, and six at the front, plus another between the lower and its diagonal, each link having three sprue gates in sensibly placed locations. The gun shroud is built from four parts and mounted on a carrier between a pair of trunnions, which is then fitted to a pivot plate and set aside while the casemate front is made from two sections. First however, the fenders are glued to the sides of the hull, locating on three lugs moulded into the sides. The gun shroud is slotted into the casemate, with a mantlet slid over the front, after which the lower heavily armoured and bolted lower casemate front has a vision slot and armour cover applied before it is glued to the bottom of the casemate, along with the sides and rear bulkhead, attaching it to the lower hull while the glue cures to ensure everything lines up. A convoy light is glued into the centre of the glacis, then the engine deck is made, fitting two-part sides, and a single rear panel that is aligned when the deck is installed on the rear of the hull. Two PE grilles are glued over the outer cooling intakes, and a length of spare track is fitted over the rear bulkhead of the casemate, adding armoured covers over the five vents on the engine deck, with a choice of cast or bolted vents on those at the rear of the deck. A choice of three styles of cupola can be made, each one made from a differing set of parts, based around the commander’s vision blocks and central hatch, adding wire grab handles from your own stock where indicated, then inserting the completed assembly in the cut-out on the roof, adding a periscope forward of the cupola from within the roof. The barrel is moulded as a single tubular section with a hollow muzzle glued to the business end, and sleeve moulded into the front of the saukopf, which is an inverted trapezoid with an optional stowage box on top for one option, and an alternative site on the engine deck for the other decal options. PE brackets are added around the vehicle, with pioneer tools built up and fitted where there is space as the build progresses. The gunner’s hatch can be posed closed, or replaced by two separate parts in the open position, adding another scratch-built grab handle from wire, then fitting a drum magazine to the supplied MG34, sliding it through the frontal bullet shield with PE support and another DIY grab handle before putting it in place in front of the gunner’s hatch. Towing eyes are supplied for the tow cable, but you must provide the braided thread or wire to make the cable itself, attaching one to each fender, fixing fire extinguisher, jack block, jack, barrel cleaning rods etc. to various places, and for one decal variant, two stacks of wheels are mounted on long pins on the rear bulkhead, making the pins from more of your own wire. Option four also has a PE railing around the engine deck, which has a basket to hold two jerry cans, each one made from three parts, and slotted into position at the rear of the deck. Two scrap diagrams show how the forward ends of the railings attach to the back of the casemate, and the other four decal options can have stacks of road wheels stowed on the back of the engine deck on the aft vents, again on pins made from your own wire stocks. Two aerials of 30mm each are also needed to complete the model. Markings There are five decal options on the small sheet, with various schemes ranging from pure panzer grey to dunkelgeb, with camouflage or distemper over the top. From the box you can build one of the following: Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 189, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 21 Luftwaffen-Feld-Division ‘Adler Division’, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 21 Luftwaffen-Feld-Division ‘Adler Division’, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung ‘Grossdeutschland’ Okhtryka, Ukraine, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 210, Eastern Front, 1943 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion MiniArt bring their talents to bear on 1:72 scale, releasing a subject they have already researched for their 1:35 scale range, resulting in a highly detailed model with plenty of options for personalisation. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. StuG.III Ausf.G MIAG Production Dec’44 – Mar’45 (35357) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a popular German WWII AFV, and the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes why. The SturmGeschutz III was engineered based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removing the turret and front deck of its progenitor, replacing it with an armoured casemate that mounted a semi-fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse, but it soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer, hiding in wait for Allied forces to stumble haplessly into its path. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets, the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by higher velocity unit that was also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat, extending the type’s viable career to the bitter end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and they while they were equipped with guns, they were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42. By this time the StuG.III had progressed to the Ausf.G, which was based on the later Panzer III Ausf.M, with a widened upper hull and thicker armour to improve survivability for the crew. Many of the complex aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified to ease production bottlenecks, which led to several specific differences in some of the external fitments around the gun, such as the Saukopf mantlet protector. The Ausf.G was the last and most numerous version, and was used until the end of the war with additional armour plates or lengths of track often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from the Allied tanks and artillery, especially the Sherman Firefly with its devastatingly effective main gun. The Kit This is a new boxing of MiniArt’s recently tooled StuG.III kit, this time depicting production from the MIAG (Mühlenbau und Industrie Aktiengesellschaft) factory in Germany, who were involved in the production of StuGs later in the war. The model arrives in a standard top-opening box in the usual MiniArt style, with attractive artwork on the front and profiles on the side. Inside the box are fifty-four sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two large frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear covers. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, which includes the complete interior and individual track links. Construction begins with the interior, which is built up on the floor panel, receiving the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine, and a covering part that makes moving around less of a trip hazard for the crew, while carrying the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some substantial I-beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning aim. The rear bulkhead panels are set against the engine mounts to give them the correct angle, then the firewall bulkhead is made up with small drawers and various other details added before it is fitted into the floor. The driver’s seat is built from numerous parts on a shaped base, and controls are placed within easy reach of his feet and hands, with the option of adding a linkage for the hand controls from your own wire or rod stocks. Attention shifts to the transmission that distributes the engine’s power to the drive-wheels, diverting the engine’s output 90° into the drive sprockets at either side of the front of the vehicle. It is made up from many finely detailed parts, with gear housings and their retaining bolts on each side, moving out to the brakes and clutches, then rearwards to the drive-shaft that leads back under the gun mount then into the engine compartment. It is set into the front of the vehicle, crowding the driver, but leaving space on the floor for two shell storage boxes that have holes for the individual shells to be inserted after painting and application of their stencil decals, as per the accompanying diagrams. The engine is then built up from many more parts, resulting in a highly detailed replica of the Maybach power pack, including all the ancillaries and pulleys that you could wish for. The engine bay is detailed with extra parts in preparation for the installation of the block to make it sit neatly on the mounts, with a large airbox to one side with a battery pack on top. The sides of the hull need to be made up in order to finish the engine bay, and these two inserts are outfitted with final drive mountings, strapped-on boxes, gas-mask canisters, pipework and the outer parts of the brake housings, complete with the spring-loaded shoes straight out of a 70s Austin Maxi. Unsurprisingly, another big box of shells is made up and placed on the wall, and in the engine compartment a large fuel tank is attached to the side, with a fire extinguisher placed next to it. These two highly detailed assemblies are offered up to the hull along with the front bulkhead, which has been detailed beforehand with various parts, and the glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches that are given a similar treatment, including an instrument panel for the driver’s use that comes with dial decals to improve realism. A few other parts are inserted into the front of the hull to integrate the sides with the other parts, and the glacis is laid across the front, supported on three sides, adding a bullet splash deflector near the aft edge. Tank engines are under immense strain pulling the huge weight of the vehicle and its armour, so they need an effective cooling system in order to cope. Two radiator baths with mesh detail engraved are built up and attached to a hosing network, with a fan housing on the top and more hosing across the top, plus take-off pulleys and belts providing motive power for the twin fans inserted into the top of the assembly, with even more hoses and other details added before the completed system is inserted into the rapidly dwindling space within the engine compartment. On the top of the engine a pair of small canisters are attached to depressions on each side of the apex, and these appear to be air cleaners, as they resemble compact versions of the Fiefel units seen on the rear of early Tigers. Moving forward, the transmission inspection hatches are fitted with a choice of open or closed, as is only fair for such a highly detailed model. The rear bulkhead is detailed with towing eyes and exhaust mufflers with short pipes fixed to the outer sides. An overhanging frame is made up at the rear and has a PE mesh part applied along with a covered port for manual starting of the engine, and this is installed mesh-side-down on the top side of the bulkhead, with a pair of thick pipes slotted into place between the mufflers and manifolds once the glue is dry. Additional thin air guides are later placed under the overhang, with an overhead diagram showing how the assembly and rear of the vehicle should look once completed. The auxiliary towing eyes on the edges of the rear bulkhead have pins threaded through, with PE retaining chains added before the lower hull is put to one side for a while. The gun is represented in full, with a complex breech, safety cage and cloth-effect brass-catching basket present, plus a large pivot fitted onto the trunnions on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, coaxial MG34 and sighting gear are installed on the breech, with a small seat for the gunner on the left side to keep him stable while aiming at his next target. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are encrusted with yet more detail, including a pair of MP40 machine guns with ammo pouches, equipment and stencil decals on the rear panel with a round extraction fan in the centre of the wall. The detailed radio gear is bracketed to a shelf that is installed on one sidewall, with more boxes and stencils adding to the chaos of the area, plus the option of adding wiring from your own stocks to improve the detail even more, helpfully noting lengths and diameters you should use. The other side is also decked out with boxes that require more wiring, all of which is documented in scrap diagrams where necessary to help in increasing the authenticity of your model, which is all joined into the shape of the casemate with the addition of the front wall that is detailed on both sides, and has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped frontage and some appliqué armour, then the commander’s cupola is prepared with seven clear vision blocks, lenses and PE detail parts, set to the side for later, while the casemate is dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by a mantlet after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. A choice of bridge insert over the top of the barrel encloses the breech, then it’s time to prepare the roof with some interior details before encasing it, then making a choice of how to finish the commander’s cupola in either open or closed pose, but you just know you’re going to leave it open to show off all your hard work. It has a profusion of PE latches and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently to the main hatch to allow the commander to stay within the casemate during battle whilst still able to use the glasses. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with a handle added to the inside. This hatch can also be closed, but why would you? The engine is still hanging out at the back, which is corrected next, building up the engine deck with short sides and armoured intake louvers on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay, allowing the viewer to see plenty of engine detail through the four access hatches. A piece of appliqué armour is added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then an armoured cover to the extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate, with short lengths of track to each side as extra armour and spares in the event of damage. The tracks are held in place by a long bar that stretches across most of the rear of the casemate. Under these are sited the barrel cleaning rods, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents, and all of these can be posed open or closed as you wish. Currently the StuG has no wheels, so the addition of the swing-arms with stub axles are next, adding the highly detailed final drive bell-housings under the front, plus additional suspension parts that improve damping further. The idler adjuster is covered with armoured parts, and more pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and spoked idler wheels at the rear that have PE outer rings, plus a trio of twin return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. A pair of road wheels are made up, and long pins are pushed through their holes that attach them to the rear pair of hatches on the engine deck. An optional top-mounted MG34 is provided to fit onto an alternate cover on the top of the casemate, which has a base and sharply angled splinter shields attached to the sides, plus a small drum magazine, separate breech cover, and PE mounting bracket, with a lever to mount and dismount it on the base. The barrel of the gun has a bulky inverted trapezoid Saukopf mantlet cover, which is made up from three parts with a barrel sleeve moulded into the front, which the single-part barrel slots into, tipped with a detailed three-part muzzle brake to give it the correct hollow muzzle. It slides over the recoil tubes of the gun, closing the last unintended view of the interior. The tracks are individual links that are held together by friction, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, with zero flash to deal with. It’s probably best to set them in position with liquid glue once they are correctly arranged on the vehicle’s wheels for safety’s sake. Once they’re in place, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with L-brackets, the mudguards and PE fittings added once the glue has dried. More pioneer tools and stowage are added to these, as space was a premium on these vehicles, and every flat surface ended up with equipment on it. This includes a convoy light and either a highly detailed PE wrapped fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack block and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the cable material yourself, with a pair of PE tie-downs holding them in place on each side. One decal option also has a field modification of PE railings around the rear of the deck, the rear rail optionally adorned with another run of spare track links that seem like an attempt to protect the engine deck from enemy fire. A pair of antennae mount on the rear of the casemate, and for two other decal options there are runs of track either side of the main gun on the casemate front, or across the lower glacis on a PE rail. Another option has more track on the casemate sides that are again secured by PE rails. Another option for two of the decal choices is the addition of the Schürzen or side skirts that pre-detonate shaped-charge rounds to weaken their penetrating power. These are made from four PE sheets with angled front parts to prevent digging into the ground, onto which the hanging brackets are glued, again using PE parts for scale fidelity. They fit on triangular upstands that are moulded into the mounting rails, which have three additional support brackets fixed to each one before installation, the schürzen panels just relying on gravity to hold them in place, which is probably why many of them were either mangled or lost altogether when travelling or fighting over rough ground. Annealing the sheets with a flame and letting them cool naturally will soften the brass and enable easier bending of the parts if you wish to replicate this on your model. Some scrap diagrams show how the panels are mounted to assist you with correct placement on the rails, and they can be fitted vertically, or angled inward toward the bottom. Markings There are five decal options in this boxing, and from the sheet you can build one of the following: Unknown Unit, Luxembourg, Winter 1944/45 11 Panzer Division, Germany, February 1945 Unknown Unit, Hungary, Spring 1945 346 Infanterie-Division, Netherlands, Spring 1945 346 Infanterie-Division, Netherlands, Spring 1945 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A stunning model of an impressive tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. There’s enough detail for the most ardent adherent to dig into and spend many hours painting and weathering the interior and exterior. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. StuG III Ausf.G Mar 1943 Alkett Prod. (35336) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a popular German WWII AFV, and the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes why. The SturmGeschutz III was based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removed the turret and front deck, replacing it with an armoured casemate with a lower profile that mounted a fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse, but it soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer, hiding in wait for Allied forces to stumble haplessly into its path, where it could be deadly. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets, the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by higher velocity unit that was also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat, extending the type’s viable career to the end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and while equipped with guns were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42. By this time the StuG III had progressed to the Ausf.G, which was based on the later Panzer III Ausf.M, with a widened upper hull and improvements in armour to increase survivability prospects for the crew. Many of the complicated aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified by that time, which led to a number of specific differences in some of the external fitments around the gun, such as the Saukopf mantlet protector. The Ausf.G was the last and most numerous version, and was used until the end of the war with additional armour plates often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from the Allied tanks and artillery. The Kit MiniArt have finally managed to get their production running again after the shock of the invasion on the 24th of February 2022 forced them to up-sticks wholesale to escape from the horror. Well, they’re back and we’re all very happy for them, and wish them the best with their business and hope they can return to normality at the earliest convenience. We’re all behind you! Just before the aforementioned event, MiniArt had released a new tooling of the late StuG III and this is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes laid over changes during the final batches. This boxing is another Alkett factory example from March 1943 and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and profiles on the side. Inside the box are forty-five sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, a good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) fret of brass parts, decal sheet and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear covers. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, which includes individual track links that different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor panel, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t included in this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some substantial beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning lateral aim. The rear bulkhead is set against the engine mounts and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued to the front next to the two-layer front bulkhead. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhausts, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the bottom section of the rear, and a radiator exhaust panel with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some deflecting tinwork to the hull. Narrow bolted panels are added to the sides of the hull in preparation for the upper hull parts that are added next. Much of the gun breech detail is represented, and a large trunnion is fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse and sighting gear is installed on the breech, although it’s unlikely to be seen. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, smoke grenade dispensers and lifting eyes. The shape of the casemate is completed with the addition of the front wall, which has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped front and some appliqué armour, dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by an armoured panel after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. A bridge over the top of the insert encloses the breech, then it’s time to prepare the roof with some details before covering up the interior, then making a choice of how to finish the commander’s cupola in either open or closed pose. It has a number of PE latches and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently to the main hatch. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the machine gun shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted through the centre. This hatch can also be posed open or closed, and the MG shield can be posed in the flat position for travel. The engine deck is built up with short sides and armoured intake louvres on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. Two types of rear appliqué parts can be added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then armoured cover to the fume extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate. A rail of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. A pair of road wheels are carried on the deck with long pins through their holes that attach them to the rearmost pair of hatches. One decal option also has a field modification of a large stowage box mounted on the centre of the rear deck, with the other options mounting a much shallower box in the same place on PE brackets. As yet the StuG has no wheels, so the addition of the swing-arms with stub axles is needed, adding the highly detailed final drive housings under the front, plus additional suspension parts that improves damping further. The idler adjuster is covered with armoured parts, and a group of pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and idler wheels at the rear, plus a trio of return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. The tracks are individual links that are held together by pins, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus a little flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a short length in fairly short order, coupling them together, and the result is a very well detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your model, and as they are a tight fit, they shouldn’t need glue, but I’d probably set them in position with liquid glue once I had them how I wanted them on the vehicle. Once they’re in place, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with integrated mudguards and tiny PE fittings added once the glue has dried. More pioneer tools and stowage are added to these, as space was a premium on these vehicles, and every flat surface ended up with equipment on it. This includes a convoy light and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, jack blocks and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the 110mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them in place on each side. The barrel of the gun has a large bulky Saukopf mantlet cover, which is made up from three parts with a barrel sleeve moulded into the front, which the single-part barrel slots into, tipped with a detailed three-part muzzle brake to give it the correct hollow look. It slides over the recoil tubes of the breech, closing up the interior, and the last parts of the kit are two whip antennae on the rear of the casemate, and optionally another pair of road wheels on both front fenders for one of the decal options. Markings There are five markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage from bare dunkelgelb to predominantly green with splotches of other colours. From the box you can build one of the following: 201 Stg. Abt., Greece, Summer 1943 322 Stg.Abt., Eastern Front, Summer 1943 1st Company Pz. Abt. ‘Rhodos’, Rhodos, Autumn 1943 Bulgarian 1st Assault Gun Battalion, Autumn 1943 10th SS Panzer Div. ‘Frundsberg’, Pomerania, March 1945 Decals are by Decograph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A good-looking, well-detailed model of an important WWII German tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. StuG III Ausf.G (36480 for MiniArt) 1:35 Eduard MiniArt’s new range of StuGs have become the de facto standard kit in 1:35 since their recent launch (only my humble opinion of course), and as is usually the case with their toolings, they have been crafted with multiple variants in mind. You can always improve on injection moulded styrene though, and this set intends to do just that, although because of the quality of the base kit, it’s not the largest of Eduard’s sets. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Inside is a single fret of nickel-plated brass PE, with some parts pre-painted for realism, such as the jack block that is covered with a light wooden texturing, and a few belts that are red-brown colour. It includes a replacement bracket for the glacis, chains for the towing shackle pins at the rear, and a heat deflecting piece of tinwork under the overhang next to the rear shackles. This will need bending to shape using a D-shaped template on the long part, and an L-shaped template for the side parts. They replace some styrene parts from the kit, so you can use those as a guide on how to shape the new parts. At the rear of the casemate a long bracket is fixed across the width to carry a number of spare track links that double up as extra armour to the weaker rear, and are fixed in place on styrene brackets that are already moulded-in, and have PE wingnuts added to the ends. A suitcase-style stowage box on the exterior is cleaned of its moulded-in hinges and closures, after which a new set of parts are glued in place with improved detail and a padlock to complete it. Another padlock and two-part L-shaped eye is fitted to one of the hatches on the casemate, and after removing the styrene supports for the jack block on the fender, a replacement block is made from the pre-painted part, then it is wrapped in strengthening straps, has a pair of lifting handles fixed to the ends, and a bracket that secures it to the fender on opposite corners, with the painted strap holding it down. A small but effective set of parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Sturmgeschütz IV "World of Tanks" (03502) 1/72 Carrera Revell Based on the Panzer IV, the StuG IV had its turret removed, was refitted with a casemate and a high velocity gun that had limited traverse within the hull. This meant that the vehicle had to roughly align itself with the target, fine-tuning it with the gun’s roughly 15 traverse. This marked it out as being ideal as a tank destroyer that lay in wait for its targets, although it was originally intended to provide support for infantry, aided by the comparatively low silhouette of the turretless design. It was effective in its job and fought all the way to the end of WWII World Of Tanks is a popular online Game developed by Belarusian company Wargaming, featuring 20th century era combat vehicles. It is built upon a freemium business model where the game is free-to-play, but participants also have the option of paying a fee for use of "premium" features. The focus is on player vs. player gameplay with each player controlling an armored vehicle, from the time of Pre-World War 2, to the Cold War-era. This is mainly online with PCs, but is now available on other platforms as well. The Kit Here Revell have re-boxed one of the last Matchbox branded kits from 1995 (though in reality a Revell kit). Inside the compact end-opening box are three sprues of grey plastic and decals. The sprues are well laid out and the mouldings are free from flash. Surface detail is clean and crisp, and first impressions are very favourable.. Revell have obviously released this kit in conjunction with World Of Tanks. Inside each kit there is also a set of Special Bonus & Starter Pack codes for the game. T start off the two hull sides and rear plate are attached to the base plate. The suspension units are moulded on, then to these are added the individual main wheels and return rollers. The drive sprockets and idler wheels are then built and added on as well. The tracks are link and length, these can go on once the wheels are all on. Now we add the large top casemate, before adding this the two side rear parts must be added. Once the top casemate is added the mani gun, roof hatches, aux machine gun and additional spare track lengths are also added. Lastly the side plates and their mounts are added. Decals There is both a sheet of decals.. As well as national markings for the tank there are a wide range of markings which I suspect are available in the Game to mark your tank. Conclusion This seems to be a good looking small kit and should build up into a good looking model. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  6. TopDrawings 97 – Sturmgeschütz III (9788366148895) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Based on the Panzer III, the StuG III had its turret removed, was refitted with a casemate and a high velocity gun that had limited traverse within the hull. This meant that the vehicle had to roughly align itself with the target, fine-tuning it with the gun’s roughly 15oc traverse. This marked it out as being ideal as a tank destroyer that lay in wait for its targets, although it was originally intended to provide support for infantry, aided by the comparatively low silhouette of the turretless design. It was effective in its job and fought all the way to the end of WWII, although it was notionally replaced by the StuG IV that was based upon the heavier Panzer IV. We have kits in scales from 1:72 through 1:35 from many of the main manufacturers, all the way up to the 1:16 giant that you can get in Remote Control (R/C) form (I forget the brand), which explains the different scales used in the plans throughout the book. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals, plans or masks targeted to the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a double-sided A3 sheet of folded loose-leaf plans in 1:16. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 15 pages, with the rear cover devoted to two profiles of a couple of Ausf.Gs in very different camouflage. The first page gives a written introduction, then launches straight into the plans that show the vehicle from the Ausf.A through to the Fs and Gs, after which there are eight profiles of all types except the A, with a wide range of schemes, fitments and equipment. After the colourful break we’re back to plans again, this time in 1:48 scale from all angles, and again in 1:72, showing each mark in each scale. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the additional large sheet perfect for poring over on the lounge floor or hanging on the wall. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. War Photographer 1.1 War Photographer Series (9786155583209) Peko Publishing In what is a new series from Peko this new photobook series will present different selections of wartime photos from Battles and operations, looks at military vehicles, or indeed individual photo albums from those who fought in WWII. This second book continues with an album from as yet unidentified German Strumartillerist from Sturmgeschutz-Abteilung 189. The photos show his service in combat from the Balkans and heavy fighting in Greece. This continues with combat photos from the route of his unit in 1941 and 42 including the Russian winter and battle for Moscow. Then we have 1943 and 44 but not as extensively as the earlier years. Bound in a softback cover in landscape format, the book contains 59 pages of printed material. It arrives in a shrink-wrap cover to keep it in good shape and the pages nice and crisp. The book is written by author Vyacheslav Kozitsyn with the text in English. Conclusion With a broad variety of photos spread throughout the book and informative text, this makes for an interesting read, as well as a treat for the eyes with the excellent photographs. This series has the potential to be very good providing unique views of service, and showing some of the less frantic sides of war such as training, and even daily activities while deployed on operations . Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. StuG.III 0-Series (35210) 1:35 MiniArt You can't beat a good StuG. The SturmGeschutz III was engineered based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, bit eschewing the turret of the latter, and replacing it with an armoured casemate that mounted a fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse. It soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer hidden waiting for Allied forces to stumble into its path. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by higher velocity unit that were also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and while equipped with guns were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield. They were however used in training up new crews, with one such site being the Training Grounds at Jüterbog in Germany until withdrawal in '41-42. The Kit A brand new tooling from MiniArt, who have really pulled out all the stop recently and are becoming a major player in the 1:35 armour genre. This is doubtless the first of many editions of the StuG III from them, and it seems appropriate to begin at the beginning with a training vehicle. It is important to note that non-combatant status of these early vehicles, as this will affect how you portray them as a finished model if you are looking for realism. Battle damage and evidence of long-standing occupation by a single crew wouldn't be realistic, and Panzer Grey will be the order of the day. There's no doubt that as a training vehicle they would have been used and abused by the trainees however, so the finished model won't necessarily be parade clean either. Note the foam protection to part 2 of sprue Ja to prevent crush damage in transit. There are 29 sprues and 18 more of track links in grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and a small styrene jig to ease building of the tracks. The package is completed by a small decal sheet and the glossy covered instruction booklet that has colour profiles in the rear for the decal options. Construction begins with fabrication of the lower hull from individual panels, with suspension units and complex damping system added to the sides over a number of steps. Finally, eight sets of paired wheels are made up and installed along with drive sprockets and idler wheels on both sides. The tracks are built fairly early in the build, and as they're individual links the jig will come in handy. Each side uses 96 links, which you can build up in 8-link lengths on the jig, adding the small track-pins in sets of eight, whilst still attached to their sprues thanks to careful spacing of the parts. The links have five sprue gates each set into the curved edges of the part, with no sink marks of ejector pins to deal with, so clean-up before construction should be fairly quick by comparison. The pins fit into holes in the sides of the links like the real ones, and are glued in place with tiny quantities of cement of your favourite type, being very sparing with the amount for fear of gluing the links AND the jig together and making a general mess of things. Patience is most definitely a virtue in this instance. The superstructure is made up of a number of modules that are fabricated into sub-assemblies and then brought together later. The engine deck with PE louvers in the rear, various access panels and the twin exhaust mufflers is first, followed by the glacis plate with twin clamshell transmission hatches, after which the styrene fenders with tread-plate texture are detailed with their mudguards and sprung return mechanism for the inevitable "incidents" with the scenery. A number of holes are drilled in the treadplate to locate tools and such later on, and then all these assemblies are brought together on the lower hull with an engine firewall cutting the crew compartment off, with a pair of nicely detailed MP40s on the back wall, which will be visible if you leave the top hatches open. At this stage your StuG is a convertible, allowing the wind to ruffle the hair of her crew, but this doesn't last as you get a fair portion of the vehicle's interior in the shape of the main gun's breech and the framework that holds it in the chassis. It takes up quite a number of parts and includes three seats (I guess you could call them that) for the crew, all of which can again be seen from the top hatches. The roof of the casemate is fixed in place on two side walls, with a choice of upper glacis parts, one of which has twin holes above the driver's slit. The radio gear is fitted into a scabbed-on box on the fender, accessible from inside and this is then joined by a full set of pioneer tools, fire extinguisher and more stowage boxes, plus the light clusters, towing eyes, horn and antenna. The radio box is fitted with a shot-trap eliminating panel at the front and another on the opposite side, then the short 75mm gun is built up and inserted into the mantlet, with a scrap diagram showing how it mounts against the breech. More detail is added in the shape of jack blocks, stowage boxes, another fire extinguisher, jack and towing cables, which are supplied as eyelets to which the modeller must find their own cable to lay them out as per the overhead scrap diagram. The last part is to add the hatches to the roof of the casemate, which have PE latches added when depicted open. Markings The markings options are somewhat limited due to these early StuG's role and the fact that they are early war tanks, so it's Panzer Grey all the way. Each one has white crosses on the sides of the casemate, A,B or C on the glacis, and in a rosette for two of the options. The decal sheet is the size of a postage stamp as a consequence, and is printed in the Ukraine by DecoGraph with good register, density and sharpness. Conclusion This marks the start of a line of great new tool StuGs, which makes me happy as I have fondness for the squat ugly-but-effective little tanks, and while the subject of this first issue might put a few off, it's actually refreshing to see something in Panzer Grey that played little part in the actual conflict, while the type went on to become an important asset of the Wehrmacht later in the war. The model is well-detailed and should pose no problems during building, other than some mild boredom during the track building process, so it's a firm thumbs up from me. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Hello, finally i managed to finish something. Its Trumpeters StuG III Ausf. E in 1/72 scale. Started in fall 2014 and stalled repeated times and my result is a bit "lacking" but its done. Problems were the very large opening in the roof of the hull for the sight, too long tracks and a problem with the drive sprockets. To blew some more live in, i made a tarpulin from a paper towel for the engine deck and placed a towing cable in the side of the hull. Beside this the kit is quite nice and good for a relaxing build, i hope you like it and i made some more pics with my Revell PzKpfw. III Ausf. L in company Cheers Bernd
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