This set is specifically designed for use with the Dragon Smart Kits of the StuG IV, which I would assume to mean the early, mid and late production variants. The set is packaged in a plastic sleeve, with one fret taped to a piece of black card stock, and two frets of Schurzen (side skirts) in a small zip lock bag. Each fret is protected by a thin plastic film on both the front and the back. Instructions consist of a single sheet of green paper printed front and back.
The StuG IV came in to being as an expedient means to replace the lost production of the heavily damaged Alkett factory, which produced the StuG III. The superstructure from the StuG IIIG was fitted to the chassis of the Pz.Kpfw. IV, and an armored cab for the driver was added to the front left of the hull. Side skirts or schurzen were added for additional protection and hung from brackets mounted to the hull sides and fenders. This set from ET Model provides everything needed including the brackets schurzen for the StuG IV.
Assembly is pretty straightforward beginning with the mounting brackets which attach to the sides of the upper superstructure. The brackets, parts C8/C9, C11/C12 and C13/C14 (one for each side) require several folds. Some of parts of the brackets have bolt details which are simply folded over. Other portions of the brackets requires the attached of small separate bolts parts C3 to complete the bracket details. The 16 triangle shaped mounting points which the Schurzen hang from are formed with a single fold and feature bolt details which simply fold over. All the triangle shaped hooks are attached to a long metal bracket which mount on each side and are attached to the upper superstructure brackets. Use caution here and be sure to attach the 4 parts C5 (2 each side) to the rear of the long metal brackets. The fender mount brackets, C16 (x2) and C17(x8) require 2 folds each and feature more of the bolt details which simply fold over.
The schurzen are comprised of individual brass panels which will require brackets to be installed on their backsides which will allow them to hang from the mounting brackets mounted to the hull. Sets of brackets will need to be constructed for each of the panels and are formed by folding the thin strips to form the brackets and require small support cross pieces to be attached on the inside of the bracket. These assemblies then attach to marked points on the schurzen to ensure that everything lines up properly. The schurzen panels must then be carefully hung on the mounting brackets. Be careful to ensure the proper overlap of the panels from front to back. Note the two options for mounting the panels, one for Ostketten and the other when using the normal tracks. Normally the panels hang and slant inwards when used with conventional tracks. The Ostketten are much wider tracks and will require the schurzen to be mounted with a vertical hang so they don’t interfere with the extended track pieces.
This is a great set from ET Model with the big advantage being the correct detail and scale thickness of the brackets, mounts and schurzen. This should be a relatively easy set to use although some experience with folding and gluing photo etch parts will make the job much easier. The instructions are clear and easy to understand. I highly recommend this set if you want to build your StuG IV with the added protection of the schurzen and as you can see from the photographs they look great!
Review sample graciously provided by ET Model http://www.etmodeller.com
ET Model is based in Shanghai China and produces aftermarket photo etch and resin detail and upgrade sets.
Scott Espin – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com