StuG III Ausf. F8 Late Production w/Winterketten - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6644; StuG III Ausf. F8 Late Production w/Winterketten - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||870 parts (548 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 72 “Magic Track” ice cleats, 18 etched brass, 14 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 preformed etched brass basket)|
|Price:||Estimated to be USD$55.95|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||New version of popular StuG series with complete set of winter tracks; includes new interior bits which will will be appreciated|
|Disadvantages:||“Magic Track” links still part of the kit|
|Recommendation:|| Highly Recommended for all WWII German fans
The Ausf. F/8 variant of the Sturmgeschuetz III series appeared in the fall of 1942 and added to the upgrade in the vehicle’s armament provided by the base Ausf. F (the long-barreled L/48 gun) by a redesign and uparmoring of the hull. Other parts were either simplified or strengthened. 250 were built before production changed over to the Ausf. G which would become the most widely produced.
This kit provides more than 80 new parts to DML’s popular kit of the Ausf. G. and also adds the “Winterketten” and ice cleat set from their recent Pzkw. III Ausf. M kit.
As with all kits in this series. it comes with many of the accouterments seen on kits like the DML Tiger I and Panther, starting with individual torsion bars and road wheel arms as well as all of the external details on the lower hull such as shocks and bump stops. Each idler wheel consists of five parts with twin brass inserts between the plastic castings. All wheels are detailed to the point of having the rubber tire manufacturer’s data readable!
The brass is provided only for those bits where plastic cannot do the job, such as the aforementioned wheel rims and the air intake and exhaust grilles on the engine deck. All fender details are separate and go on in subassemblies. In point of fact, most of this model consists of subassemblies, which is how it gets its tremendous level of details. This also shows in the sprues, as for example the “A” wheel sprue actually consists of seven sub-sprues, so future kits can be done by gating off or ungating other sections of the master sprue to meet the need of those kits.
The kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander’s cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for various bits on each side of the casemate. This kit adds new radio sets and other changes plus the twin hatch (vice commander’s cupola) casemate roof and details. There is also a preformed plastic or etched brass guard for the gunner’s sight (parts R12 or MB1/MA8/R23) but the directions are not very clear on how these assemblies install.
The kit comes with a new engine deck that like previous kits consists of several subassemblies combined to form the deck. Note that every hatch on this vehicle can be opened for display of the interior, but there is no engine or transmission provided.
The kit comes with the single-link “Magic Track” tracks with the extended blades for the Winterketten molded in place. While many modelers have been asking for the easy to install DS plastic single track runs, as I noted with the Pzkw. III Ausf. N kit this may be better here due to strength and rigidity. The ice cleats are separate and suggested installation options are provided.
Technical credit is given to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Three finishing options are provided: StuG Brigade 901, Kharkov 1943 (whitewash over sand with black crosses); StuG Brigade 901, Kharkov 1942-43 (whitewash over grey with black crosses); and three separate vehicles from Luftwaffe Felddivision, Norway 1943 (whitewash spots over grey, “Gerda”, “Erika” or “Ulla”). A small sheet of Cartograf decals are provided for these options.
Overall, this is a nice option to a popular kit and the offering of an F8 makes for another member of the “Stug” family.
A 61x2 Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
A 88 Pzkw. III generic details
B 48 Road wheel arms and lower hull details
C 29 Casemate and fenders
D 28 Basic upper hull details
E 34 Interior and radio sets
F 16 Gun barrel and mantelet
G 15 OVM and light components
G 55 Fender and upper hull details
G 24 OVM and hull details
H 1 Lower hull pan
J 10 Clear styrene
K 72 Ice cleats
N 1 Twisted steel wire
P 26 Ausf. F8 casemate and details
Q 50 Ausf. F8 details and radio sets
V 8 Ausf. F8 engine deck and fenders
V 4 Clear styrene
Y 108 “Magic Link” tracks - left
Z 108 “Magic Link” tracks - right
WC 4 MG34
MA 18 Etched brass
MB 1 Preformed brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.