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StuG III Ausf.G Interior Kit (35335) Feb. 1943 Alkett Prod. 1:35


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StuG III Ausf.G Interior Kit (35335)

Feb. 1943 Alkett Prod.

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 the latter, 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, 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 were 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for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42.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 the armour to improve survivability 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 into the bargain, 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

Some of you may remember our review of the pre-series StuG.III from MiniArt a few years back, and you might expect there to be some cross-over of parts.  There doesn’t appear to be any however.  Some individual part meshes may have been re-used, but the sprue layouts are all different, and as you can imagine the addition of the interior further separates the two kits, as does the inclusion of the crew figures in this boxing.  This is to all intents and purposes a new tooling, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and profiles on the side.  Inside the box are sixty-eight 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 the aforementioned interior and individual track links that are clearly a new moulding, as they are different from the earlier kit.






























Construction begins with the interior, which is built up on the floor panel, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine, and a covering part that makes moving around a less dangerous prospect for the crew, while it also holds 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 15o travel for fine-tuning the 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 parts on a shaped base, and his 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 power to the drive-wheels, diverting the engine’s output 90o into the drive sprockets at the front of the vehicle.  It is made up from a number of finely detailed parts, with gear housings and their retaining bolts on each side, working out to the brakes and clutches, then rearwards to the drive-shaft that leads back into the engine compartment.  It is set into the front of the vehicle, crowding the gunner, but leaving space on the floor for a number of 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 more parts, resulting in a highly detailed replica of the Maybach power pack, including all the ancillaries and pulleys that you could wish for.  There are a number of parts inserted into the engine bay in preparation for the installation of the block to make it sit comfortably 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 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 wall, 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 are given a similar treatment, including an instrument panel for the driver’s use.  A few other parts are inserted into the front of the hull to integrate the sides with the hull, and the glacis gets some heavily bolted appliqué armour panels fixed to the exterior, before it is put to the side for a moment.


Tank engines are under immense strain pulling the huge weight of the armour, so they need an effective cooling system to cope with this.  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 my best guess is that they are air cleaners, as they resemble smaller versions of the Fiefel units seen on the back of the Tiger.  Moving forward, the transmission inspection hatches are fitted with a choice of open or closed, as is right for such a highly detailed model.  The rear bulkhead is detailed with towing eyes and simple exhaust boxes with short pipes fixed to the outer sides.  What looks like a many-legged park bench is made up and has a PE mesh part applied along with a 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 hoses slotted into place once the glue is dry.  Additional thin guides are later placed under the “bench”, and pins with PE retaining chains are added to the hitches 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 brass-catching basket present, and a large pivot fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly.  Elevation, traverse and sighting gear is 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 big 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 busyness of the area, plus the option of adding wiring from your own stocks to improve the detail even more.  The other side is also decked out with boxes that require more wiring, all of which is documented in scrap diagrams where necessary to offer assistance in increasing the authenticity of your model, which is all joined into the shape of the casemate 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, then the commander’s cupola is prepared with seven clear vision blocks, lenses and PE 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 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, but you just know you’re going to leave it open to show off all your hard work.  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 into the centre.  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 at this point.  Two types of rear appliqué parts can be 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.  A pair of jerry cans and the jack block are also made at this time for later addition to the engine deck.  A pair of road wheels are used on some of the decal options, and these have long pins through their holes that attach them to the rear pair of hatches on the engine deck.  One decal option also has a field modification of PE railings around the rear of the deck with an additional bracket to store two jerry cans, and on the back of the beast another two spare road wheel sets can be pinned in place in the same manner as the other two.




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 the 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 spindly 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, and a jig is supplied to assist you with this, although I had to remove mine from the sprue to be able to build up a short length for this review.  There are 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 on the jig, coupling them together with the pins that are moulded in pairs at the exact same spacing as the links when together.  You push them into the links whilst still on the sprue, taking care to push them straight in to avoid breakage, then cut them off cleanly with a pair of single-blade nippers.  The result is a very well detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your StuG, 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 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 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 cable material yourself, with a pair 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 gun, closing up the rest of the interior, and the last parts of the kit are two whip antennae on the rear of the casemate.




In this boxing we are treated to a set of crew figures for the vehicle, which consists of five figures on a single sprue, starting with three figures standing in their hatches, one hard at work driving, and another apparently sitting on the glacis plate leaning with one arm resting on the gun perhaps.  Each figure has a choice of heads and four have either peaked caps or stahlhelms that perhaps might not often be worn in the confines of a tank.  Sculpting, pose and material drape is up to MiniArt’s class-leading standard, and adding these chaps into their place of work gives the model a sense of human scale, emphasising the claustrophobic nature of being a tanker.  Part breakdown is standard with heads, hats, torsos and separate limbs, plus a couple of lugers in holsters and another MP40 that could be laid on the deck near one of the figures.  A colour chart gives paint numbers for Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya brands plus colour names for your delight and edification.






There are five decal options in this boxing, and from the sheet you can build one of the following:


  • Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 189, Eastern Front, Spring 1943
  • Luftwaffe-Feld-Division “Adler Division”, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943
  • Luftwaffe-Feld-Division “Adler Division”, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943
  • Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung “Grossdeutschland”, Okhtyrka, Ukraine, Spring 1943
  • Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 210, Eastern Front, 1943






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.




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, well… detail.


Very highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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Yeah, their interior kits are rather cheap, especially given the amount of detail crammed in. Nice to see a crew set given with the interior kit as beforehand they were only combining them with non-interior kits.


I'll definitely get one of these.

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