Review Italeri 1/56 Sturmgeschutz III
This kit will build 2 vehicles, both of which are based on the StuG III Ausf. G hull
- StuG III Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz.142/1) with the long barrel 75mm gun (2 decal options)
- StuH 42 with the short barrel 105mm gun (1 decal option)
As the StuG was designed to fill an infantry close support combat role, early models were fitted with a low-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 gun. Low-velocity shells are lightly built of thin steel and carry a large charge of explosive to destroy soft-skin targets and blast fortifications. Such shells do not penetrate armour well. After the Germans encountered the Soviet KV-1 and T-34 tanks, the StuG was first equipped with a high-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 main gun (spring 1942) and in the autumn of 1942 with the slightly longer 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun. These high-velocity guns were the same guns that were mounted on the Panzer IV for anti-tank use. These versions were known as the 7.5 cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf.F, Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz.142/1).
In 1942, a variant of the StuG Ausf. F was designed with a 105 mm (4.1 in) true howitzer instead of the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 cannon. These new vehicles, designated StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2), were designed to provide infantry support with the increased number of StuG III Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. Gs being used in the anti-tank role. The StuH 42 mounted a variant of the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer, modified to be electrically fired and fitted with a muzzle brake. Production models were built on StuG III Ausf. G chassis. The muzzle brake was often omitted due to the scarcity of resources later in the war. Alkett produced 1,299 StuH 42 from March 1943 to 1945, the initial 12 vehicles were built on repaired StuG III Ausf. F and F/8 from the autumn of 1942 to January 1943.
The kit comes in an end opening box with illustrations on top indicating the 2 build choices that you have. The back of the box shows 3 decal options. Paints are indicated on the back of the box with Italeri reference numbers. However the instructions list Flat Sand FS30475 while the box lists Dunkelgelb FS33440 as the yellow paint for these variants paints. The box shows just the 4 external colours while the instructions list all 7 paints needed. The two plastic sprues are inside a single sealed plastic bag.
The box contains:
- 58 plastic parts on 2 sprues
- 1 decal sheet
- instructions booklet
The sprue attachment points are small and any ejector pin marks are either out of the way or on the sprue and not a concern.
The level of detail on the kit is quite nice and I don’t see any flash on the parts. In order to keep the parts count low some parts have been simplified and some assemblies are moulded as a single part. This will make for either a really quick build or it will allow youngsters access to the hobby without having to struggle with small parts.
The instructions are an 8 page booklet. The build is covered in 8 steps. Step 4 contains the choice of which main gun to install, indicating a choice between a StuG III Ausf G and a StuH 42. The images are quite clear enough to easily build the model with no problems and colours are called out on each step where needed. There are 7 paints indicated in the instructions and they are named in English, given federal standard reference numbers and also Italeri paint numbers. Two pages of the instructions give the three decal options you can build.
The small decal sheet, as mentioned, contains 3 different choices along with extra numbers. You get 4 x O, 3, 4 and 5 and 8 x 1 and 2. You also get 3 each of numbers 51-55. You could use these extra decals to make your own decal options. The decals themselves look to be quite nice and the backing film conforms quite closely to the text with links in between the letters to make sure everything lines up.
As mentioned the kit is built in several steps.
- Step 1 puts together the right hand running year. The whole side complete with most of the wheels has the idler and the drive gear fitted. Then the track is fitted with a large top and bottom part and a small front and back part.
- Step 2 fits the 2 running gear assemblies to the lower hull and a plate to the front of the hull. There are some optional track links to add to the front too.
- Step 3 adds small parts to the rear of the hull.
- Step 4 adds your choice of main armament to the upper hull. If you’re going to ad side skirts you also need to drill some holes at this stage.
- Step 5 adds various parts to the top of the upper hull.
- Step 6 adds more small parts to the rear of the upper hull and one side skirt if you need it.
- Step 7 adds the other side skirt, if needed.
- Step 8 adds a 3/4 figure to the upper hull.
This kit is an interesting direction for Italeri to go in. The scale of it means it is bigger than 1/72 scale models and not too far off 1/48 scale. This kit would be ideal for youngsters who don’t have the skills or patience to build finely detailed kits. It would make an ideal gift and could easily be built in an afternoon if someone wasn’t too bothered about accurate painting.
I’m thinking this kit should do well in both the wargaming market and the part of the market that is aimed at newcomers to the hobby.
Many thanks to Italeri for the review sample.