Takom StuH42 & StuG III Ausf. G Early Production 2 in 1
Two of the four marking and camouflage schemes in the box
Takom presents the modeler with a difficult choice with this newest Blitz kit - Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G or Sturmhaubitze 42? I chose the StuH42 for this review. According to the kit directions, about 7,720 StuG III Ausf. G assault guns were built from December 1942 to March 1945, while about 1,300 StuH42 were built. Turning to my copy of Spielberger's Sturmgeschütz and Its Variants, I found some more interesting information:
Alkett was the only manufacturer of the StuH42, building 1,299 between March 1943 and the end of the war. The StuH42 was armed with the Rheinmetall-Borsig designed 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze, based on the light field howitzer 18. Alkett began applying zimmerit to StuG III Ausf. G and StuH42 around the end of November/beginning of December 1943, and stopping in September 1944. Since this kit does not have molded on zimmerit, the builder is going to have to apply it with putty, or use one of the zimmerit decal sheets that is available for StuG III Ausf. G.
Smoke grenade launchers (SGL) were installed from February to May 1943, so only about a three month period for the StuH42. Spielberger's book has one photo and one line drawing showing a StuH42 with SGL installed. Why this emphasis on the SGL? Well, in the directions. one of the major differences between the StuG III Ausf. G and StuH42 builds, besides the main gun, is the omission of SGL on the StuH42 build, while the directions show them installed on the StuG III Ausf. G build. Since this is an early StuH42, my opinion is that the builder could include the SGLs, if depicting a vehicle in the March to May 1943 time frame.
What's in the box?
Takom Blitz kits can be compared to another model company beginning with a "T" - and that is not intended as an insult, but a compliment. The price for the kit seems very reasonable, and the quality of the plastic and the details would do a more expensive kit proud. The kit sprues are individually bagged in a medium gray color, broken down as follows:
A x 2 contains sprockets, idler wheels, road wheels, return rollers, shock absorbers, fender supports, and other small parts. The Continental brand name is prominent on the rubber tires. Detail looks good.
B x 2 contains the link and length tracks. There are barely visible sprue knock out holes on some of the inner faces.
C sprue is small, with the seven-part jack, front and rear tow points, and idler adjustment/axle.
D sprue has the StuH42 main gun (not slide molded, but one piece), muzzle brake, schürzen rails and hangers.
M sprue has the front and rear hull plates, driver's vision port, on-vehicle tools with molded straps, one piece exhausts, and slide molded air intakes.
N sprue contains the simplified recuperator and trunnion, commander's cupola parts and loader's hatch halves, MG34 and shield, the one piece (not slide molded) StuG III Ausf. G main gun barrel and muzzle brake, and early mantlet.
The bathtub style lower hull with molded on return roller mounts; the casemate roof; casemate superstructure; upper hull
Upper hull with molded on engine deck, fenders and mudguards
TPa is the 10-piece (5 per side) photo-etch schürzen side skirts, made out of a silvery metal - tin? aluminum? These look quite nice and in scale. It will be interesting to see if the styrene rails and hangers can hold it up, and how they take paint.
TP is the small brass photo-etch sheet with air filter and engine grates, as well as some smaller detail parts
The small decal sheet has markings for two StuG III Ausf. G and two StuH42. Note the copper wire for the tow cables.
The small format 22-page instructions manual:
Page 1 has the caution statement, paints (Ammo by MIG), applying decals, and removing PE.
Page 2 is the sprue layout.
Step 1 and Step 2 start as most kit builds do, attaching suspension parts to the lower hull such as road wheel axles, shock absorbers, idler wheel mounts, mud scrapers, final drive.
Step 3 - build up and attach idler wheels, sprockets, six sets return rollers, 12 sets of road wheels, and the rear tow points.
Step 4 - attach the exhausts and deflector
Step 5 - attach the main gun mount's base in the lower hull; TP1 PE screen, followed by the four braces that fit over it, and then attach the rear plate to the braces.
Step 6 - build up the link and length tracks for both sides. No particular order is suggested and no track jig is provided.
Step 7 - is drill 20 - 10 per side - x 0.8mm holes in the fenders
Step 8 - attach front bolted on armor plate, Notek light, tail light, PE bolt strips on left rear hull, engine covers, schürzen supports, tow cable heads, and axe
Step 9 - attach PE bolt strips on rear hull, jack block, mallet, tow cable heads, S-hooks, shovel, tanker bar
Step 10 - attach PE screen to right side air intake, and attach to hull, along with engine deck hatches and barrel cleaning rods. This step also shows the attachment of 122mm of copper wire to the tow cable heads. This might be because of the difficulty fitting those on the fenders once the schürzen brackets and rail are attached.
Step 11 - attach PE screen to left side air intake and attach to hull, along with the fire extinguisher and wire cutters.
Step 12 - build up and attach two sets of spare road wheels and the jack.
Step 13 - attach upper hull to the lower hull, then attach the front lower hull bolted on armor.
NOTE: Up to this point, there has not been anything about differences between the StuG III Ausf. G and StuH42 builds, but beginning with step 14, note the options which are not marked as belonging to which particular assault gun.
Step 14 and 15 - The only differences between the build in steps 14-1/15-1 and steps 14-2/15/2 are attaching the smoke grenade launchers to the superstructure in 14-1/15-1, which would most likely be for the StuG III Ausf. G, not the StuH42. There is a small inset drawing showing the removal of two bolts on the lower edge of the superstructure side. If you look closely at the drawing and the the larger drawings in 14-1/15-1 or 14-2/15-2, you can determine that those are the second from the front and the rearmost bolt being removed.
The exact same parts are attached to the rear superstructure in steps 16-1 and 16-2 - the ventilator cap, the two antenna mounts, and a narrow rail/bar.
Step 17 - build the two part recuperator, attach the trunions to the recuperator, and build up the three-part main gun mantlet.
Step 18 - although broken down into 18-1 and 18-2, it's the same step - attach the superstructure to the upper hull.
Step 19 - broken down into 19-1 and 19-2, but again, exact same parts attached; this time, it is the schürzen rail and brackets, followed by the schürzen plates. Note that a small rectangular plate, TPa4, is attached to TPa2, to make four sets of the middle plates.
Step 20 is broken down into 20-1, building up the StuG III Ausf. G main gun and muzzle brake, and 20-2, the StuH42 main gun and muzzle brake, and attaching whichever gun assembly is to be used to the mantlet, and the mantlet to the recuperator assembly.
Step 21 is attaching the main gun to the gun mount in the lower hull. 21-1 is the StuG III and 21-2 is the StuH42.
Step 22 - attach handle to inside the loader's front hatch half, locking handles to the commander's hatch, and the hatch to the commander's cupola, cupola to the roof.
Step 23 - insert seven periscopes into the commander's cupola and gunner's sight into the roof NOTE: the periscopes and sight are not clear.
Step 24 - insert the MG34 into the shield, attach the shield to the loader's position; attach the armored cover to the commander's cupola.
Step 25 - 25-1 and 25-2, attach the roof to the superstructure, and a brace/bracket over the main gun opening. Build complete.
Left, right, front, and rear areas depicted for decal placement and camouflage scheme for two StuG III Ausf. G: Sturmgeschütz Brigade 244, Southern Russia, Sept 1943 and SS Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 2, "Das Reich", Belgorod, Russia, July 1943
Left, right, front, and rear areas depicted for decal placement and camouflage scheme for two StuH42: Panzer Abteilung "Rhodos", Isle of Rhodos, Sept 1943 and Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 190, Kaluga, Bryansk, Russia, August 1943.
Pros: Straight forward build, nicely detailed with bolts, weld seams, PE schürzen look very nice. Almost no flash, mostly on some of the reinforcement rods/pins on the inside of the road wheels, and only a few mold knockout holes on the track links. Although there are no metal gun barrels, the styrene one-piece guns look good. I think Blitz is a good name for this kit line, as it can be built in just a few days, maybe even a weekend, depending on the paints and amount of details the modeler wants to use.
Cons: Nothing terrible found in the first look, just some small things like: the small instructions booklet means small drawings - I have to use my optivisor to see some of the details, especially the paint call-outs. It would be a nice touch to put a note at the beginning of the build that the -1 drawings are for the StuG III Ausf. G and the -2 drawings are for the StuH42. No interior details, no clear parts for periscopes, no figures, and no track jig - but if you are looking for a kit that will be a fun build and still look accurate, this is the kit for you!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, especially if you are StuGged out and want something different, like the StuH42.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
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