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StuH 42 Ausf.G Late Prod (35355) 1:35


Mike

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StuH 42 Ausf.G Late Prod (35355)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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Following WWI the German military had identified a weakness in their forces, in that their advancing troops often left behind the support of their artillery as they moved forward, leading to a call for the creation of Sturmartillerie, which was effectively a mobile artillery piece that could travel alongside their forces, providing valuable protection.  By the time the Nazis were gearing up their economy and military for war more openly, a requirement for just such a vehicle was made official, mating the chassis of the then current Panzer III with a short-barrelled 75mm gun in a fixed armoured casemate with limited traverse, which gave the type a distinctive howitzer-style look.  In the later variants a longer high-velocity gun, the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 replaced the shorter gun to give it an improved penetrating power that was more in alignment with the Tank Killer job that it had become used for.  These vehicles were designated Ausf.F or G, and were amongst the most produced version of this almost ubiquitous WWII tank.

 

A project to up-gun the StuG was instigated using an Ausf.F chassis and a 10.5cm leFH 18 howitzer, taking the name Sturmhaubitze 42 or StuH 42 for short.  The rounds were electrically fired, and it was to be fitted with a muzzle-brake to bleed off some of the recoil, and a dozen of this type were made from repaired Ausf.F examples, then almost 1,300 built as infantry support that were based on the Ausf.G, some without their muzzle-brakes due to the limited availability of certain metals as the war continued to turn against the Nazis, thanks to the Allied bomber force bombing their industrial base into rubble on a 24/7 schedule.

 

 

The Kit

MiniArt have now released several toolings of the late StuG III and this minor retool to depict the howitzer equipped sub-variant is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes layered on changes during the final batches as the war ground to its ultimate conclusion.  This boxing depicts a late production vehicle near the bitter end, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and decal profiles on one side.  Inside the box are thirty-seven sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) frets of brass parts, decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles in the front and rear.  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, including individual track links that are different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago.

 

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Construction begins with the floor, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t part of this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from 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 with its exhausts applied to the exterior, and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued either side of the front bulkhead, installing the engine firewall for structural strength.  The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhaust covers, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the rear, and a radiator exhaust assembly with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some heat 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.

 

Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, 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.  The commander’s cupola is built on a circular base into which seven clear periscopes are slipped, completing the task later with several protectors, 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 of the main hatch.

 

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 as anything other than a dim shadow within, especially once the roof is in place.  The engine deck is built up with tapered sides and armoured intake louvres added outside them, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay.  A length of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the fume extraction armour in the centre with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents.  two pairs of road wheels are carried on the deck on the rearmost pair of hatches, with a field modification of a flat stowage box is mounted between them on PE brackets.  The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the sharply-angled splinter shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted into the centre.  Just forward of the commander’s cupola, a contoured armour panel is inserted, alleviating the shot-trap that could rip the cupola from the roof.  The short howitzer barrel is a single part with hollow muzzle and no brake, which slides into the sleeve via an end-cap, the sleeve moulded into the front of the inverted saukopf mantlet that is made from an additional two parts before it is slid over the recoil tubes and breech.

 

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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.  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 with PE rings at the rear, plus a trio of paired return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides.  The tracks are individual links that are friction-fitted, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus a wisp of flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade.  I created a length in short order, 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 on small brackets, 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 Notek convoy light mounted in the centre of the glacis, and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer on the rear left fender.  Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, 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 111mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them and the tools in place on each side.  A pair of aerials and a PE ‘fence’ is installed around the edge of the engine deck that’s intended to hold in any stray stowage, finishing off the vehicle itself, adding the brackets for the Schürzen along the sides of the hull and fenders with a few small added outriggers, although one decal option doesn’t have them fitted.  The four PE schürzen panels per side are detailed with additional PE brackets on their inner surface, and once the glue between the two layers of PE (or you could solder them for strength), you simply hang them on the triangular hooks, with a quartet of scrap diagrams along the bottom of the page showing the two methods you can use to hang the plates vertically, or sloped inward toward the bottom.

 

Decal option two, or B as it appears below has two additional lengths of track used as appliqué armour, one run of four links on the small vertical panel to the left of the gun barrel as you look down it, and another run of fourteen links on the lower glacis that are held in place by a long PE bracket that runs the entire width of the hull.

 

 

Markings

There are five markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage based upon dunkelgelb with splotches of other colours, and some overpainted in water-soluble winter distemper to a greater or lesser extent.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • 325 StuG Brigade, Hungary, Autumn 1944
  • Unidentified unit, Hungary, Winter 1944-45
  • StuG. Ers. und Ausb. Abt 500. Poznan, Poland, February 1945
  • 301 StuG Brigade. Poland, Silesia, February 1945
  • Unidentified Unit, Belvedere, Italy 1945

 

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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

Whilst it might easily be mistaken for a StuG, the StuH is just a little different from the norm, with its stubby barrel, especially without the muzzle brake.  The detail in the kit is excellent, and it will keep you busy for many a happy hour.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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