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Sturmpanzer 38(t) “Grille” Ausf.M (03315) 1:72


Mike
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Sturmpanzer 38(t) “Grille” Ausf.M (03315)

1:72 Revell

 

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The WWII German habit of pressing captive designs and the factories that created them into service was a two-edged sword, spreading their engineering efforts and making spares that much more difficult to procure.  The Panzer 38(t) was developed from the Czechoslovakian ČKD once they had invaded and subjugated them, and saw a great deal of service with German forces throughout WWII.  The initial Ausf.H was based on an earlier chassis with the gun at the front of a low upstanding shroud, but the preferred option was to use the Ausf.M chassis that was specifically designed to carry a Self-Propelled Gun (SPG), having a mid-engine that allowed the gun to be mounted at the aft, giving it a slightly rear-heavy look.  The gun it carried for both variants was the 15cm Sig 33 heavy infantry gun that had been adapted from a towed weapon into a vehicle-mounted variant.  Around 200 of each type were made during the war, throwing plenty of rounds at the Allies.

 

 

The Kit

This is a reboxing of a kit originally by a company called Toxco that I have never heard of, but if that’s the case, the tooling has been thoroughly rebranded by Revell, as it has their logo on all the sprue headers with a 2020 copyright.  The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, with five sprues in grey styrene inside, all held within one plastic bag, and the detail is immediately obvious, as is the small size of the vehicle.  It has two wheel and track sprues with full-length styrene tracks that are to be wrapped around the completed wheels.

 

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Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up from individual panels with two internal bulkheads that support the sides of the vehicle.  The wheels are next, with the drive sprockets and idler wheels both made up from two halves, and four individual dished wheels fixed to bogies with leaf-spring suspension.  A solitary return-roller is fixed between the two bogies, and the rear compartment internal walls in the hull are painted dark sand in preparation for the tread-plated floor panel that is fitted later.  The roof of the hull is glued in place and joined by the fenders on both sides, plus some spare track runs on the glacis and the front of the tank, held in place by brackets.  The main tracks are single parts each, as previously mentioned and they are wrapped around the wheels then glued into a continuous band.  A little heat on the more extreme curves should make that step easier.  The hull is then festooned with a group of pioneer tools and stowage boxes, all having individual painting instructions.

 

The casemate for the gun has two large side panels, which are lined with radio gear and the massive rounds used by the 15cm gun on both sides, plus a fire extinguisher. And on the front shield of the casemate, a stack of ammo cans for the 7.92mm self-defence machine gun are installed on the left side.  The breech for the Sig 33 gun has a separate breech-block, and the barrel is a single part with a hollow muzzle and a support beneath it.  The main gun carriage is made up from three more parts with an additional two-part triangular pivot and a geared quadrant underneath that meshes with the elevation mechanism.  The trunnions and supports are built around a U-shaped lower, with rams on each side that are covered with a number of aiming and other controls, then the gun is slipped between the two sockets to finish it off.  The pre-prepared sides of the crew compartment are added to the chassis along with the rear overhang, and has the gun lowered onto its rotation pin, and the front panel is then fixed in place, the right hand of which is filled with another three rounds.  A large foldable panel attaches to the rear with light clusters each side, the exhaust muffler installed horizontally under the panel, and a C-shaped stiffening tube goes between the two sides.  A towing eye and two triangular brackets are the last parts at the rear, apart from the long exhaust pipe that exits the right side of the hull and fits into the forward end of the muffler, and then at the front a travel-lock, a deflector for the gun, aerial and a small upstanding armour panel slots into the front of the casemate.

 

 

Markings

Two decal options are included on the small sheet, both in the late war dunkelgelb yellow base coat, with the spotty ambush camouflage in green and red-brown dots.  The main differences between the two are the barrel colour, wheel colours and their crosses, and here we see a slight mis-register between the black crosses with a white outline.  They’re clearly out of register, but could be fixed by some very cautious work with a sharp blade.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Unknown Unit, Ostfront, 1945
  • Unknown Unit, Ostfront, 1945

 

 

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Conclusion

It’s tiny!  Well detailed, and covered in tiny dots, so get your best brushes or some masks to help you.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Currently, Revell are unable to ship to the UK from their online shop due to recent changes in import regulations, but there are many shops stocking their products where you can pick up the kits either in the flesh or online.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

 logo.jpg t_logo-a.png or facebook.gif

 

 

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