Takom StuH42 & StuG III Ausf. G Early Production 2 in 1
As I mentioned in the First Look review (https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=15000) this is a well done plastic kit, with plenty of detail and nicely molded parts. Fit was excellent, and the only problem I ran into was the too-small size of the instruction drawings for the placement of the schürzen support rails. More on that later in the review. Although there are no interior parts provided, I seriously considered trying to scratch-build at least a bare bones one with crew compartment rear wall, loader and commander seats, maybe a sponson-mounted radio and a basic breech, but had a lot of stuff come up that kept interfering, and I didn't want to drag out the review any longer than I had.
Step 1 of the build starts out, as most builds do, with the lower suspension. Attach the one piece idler axle and adjustment arm on both sides, and on the left side the shock absorbers, bump stops, final drive, and six road wheel suspension arms. Note that the first and last suspension arms are keyed for the shock absorbers to attach to, so don't mix them up with the middle four suspension arms. Step 2 is the same for the right side. I primed with Tamiya NATO Black, XF-69, then base coated with Tamiya Dark Yellow, XF-60.
Step 3 is making the two sprockets, idler wheels, six return rollers, and 12 road wheels, then attaching them to their respective axles. Attach the rear hull plate, and then the two-part tow points to the rear plate. The tires are NATO Black XF-69.
Step 4 is attaching the two exhausts and the three deflectors (gray parts in picture above), and sliding the pins into the tow shackle points.
Step 5 is attaching N29, the gun mount base, to the lower hull interior, then attach TP1, PE screen (above on rear hull), then cement the four styrene braces over the screen to the rear hull plate. Attach M33, another rear hull plate, to the four braces.
Step 6 is putting the link and length tracks together. As noted in the First Look review, there's no jig provided like in Takom's non-Blitz kits, but using Tamiya's Extra Thin Cement (green bottle), and getting lucky, I was able to get the tracks together and wrapped around the sprockets and idlers for the tracks to dry in place before painting. The upper run has very slight sag built in, which helps in placement.
Tracks were painted with Ammo by MIG Dark Tracks MIG-035.
Step 7 is drilling ten 0.8mm holes in each fender, as seen above.
Steps 8 - 9 instructions direct you to attach two PE strips, one under the air intakes and one on the rear engine deck side along with three large engine hatches, front armor plate and Bosch headlight, rear taillight (two options are offered but no information on when or why each was used), axe, shovel, tanker bar, S hooks, jack block, PE cable brackets, tow cable heads only (no cable), front and rear fender braces, and five schürzen braces on each fender. As you can see from the photos, I left off the tools, lights, and schürzen braces on each fender because I tend to break them when handling the model.
Steps 10 - 11 are attaching the two small engine deck hatches, a tool box (?), two piece barrel cleaning rods, and the two air intakes, which get PE screens. Note that there are four small nubs on the inside edge of each screen that I mistakenly filed off thinking they were rough points on the PE. Nope, they are supposed to be there. I left off the fire extinguisher and wire cutters until later.
Step 12 is building up the seven piece jack and two sets of spare road wheels and their mount, then attaching to the rear engine deck and fender. Left off until after painting.
Step 13 is attaching the upper hull to the lower hull. I did not notice any obvious warping in either the upper or lower hull, but it took several minutes to snug the upper hull down into place for a tight fit. I was turning the model around, upside down, and right side up, pressing, pushing, and pulling, so definitely was glad that I had left off all the small easily broken parts from steps 8 to 12. Attach the bolt on armor plate to the lower front hull. It is really hard to see on the instructions sheet, but there are two small notches in the armor plate that go towards the bottom of the hull.
As noted in the First Look Review, several of the steps from now on are divided into a -1 for the StuG III build and -2 for the StuH build. With the exception of the smoke grenade launchers and the type of main gun chosen, all those steps are the exact same parts, so not sure why Takom bothered doing it that way.
Step 14-2 is attaching a plate and driver visor to the superstructure front plate. Note the small insert drawing depicting the removal of the second and fifth bolt from the lower superstructure side; this is so the lower legs of the two front schürzen braces can fit against the superstructure. Step 15-2 is attaching bolt on additional armor to each of those plates, along with the visor armored cover.
Step 16-2 is attaching the two antenna mast bases and the armored ventilator cover to the superstructure rear wall, followed by the spare antenna (?) storage trough.
Step 17 is building up the very simple gun recuperators and trunnions, then the three piece gun mantlet.
Step 18-2 is attaching the superstructure to the hull.
Step 19-2 is building up the schürzen plates (one small plate goes on the upper plate of a two-plate schürzen. Attach three schürzen braces to the schürzen rail. Note that none of the tools have been attached, upper hull has not been painted, but the five schürzen braces on the fenders have been attached. The schürzen assembly will be about the last thing done in my build.
Step 20-2 is building up the three piece muzzle, attaching it to the one piece gun barrel, and attaching the barrel to the mantlet, and the mantlet to the recuperator assembly. Although the gun barrel is not slide molded, the seam on the one piece barrel sanded down nicely. Step 21-2 is attaching the main gun assembly to the gun mount.
Step 22 is attaching a handle to the loader's hatch, attaching the hatches to the superstructure roof. Attach the commander's hatch to the cupola, and cupola to the roof. Step 23 is attaching the seven periscopes (no clear parts) to the commander's hatch and the gunner's periscope to the roof. Step 24 is attaching the one piece MG-34 to the loader's shield, and the shield and MG-34 to the loader's position. Attach the armored cover to the commander's cupola, along with the flap for the commander's periscope. There is a nice commander's periscope on the sprue, so it could be displayed deployed.
Step 25-2 is attaching the roof to the superstructure. Note that it isn't glued down - I was really considering trying to scratch build an interior, but finally decided against. Build is complete, except for painting, adding tools, schürzen, and decals.
Painting is done on the StuH 42, tools, cables, lights.
Main gun painted with Tamiya German Grey XF-63.
Although not called out in the instructions, there are 12 track pins on the sprue, so I added the to the spare road wheels.
Vehicle 132, Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 190, Kaluga, Bryansk, Russia, August 1943. No national marking on the side according to the drawing.
Here is where I messed up in a couple of places. When cutting the right side schürzen rail off the sprue, I turned it over for a better cutting angle, and cut off the end of each protruding brace where the indents on the schürzen plates butt up against. As you can see from the photo above, the plates are all off-kilter. I will eventually either remove a couple for "battle damage", or super glue them so they hang straight. The other mistake I made, not obvious from this side, is that I placed the three schürzen brackets on the superstructure and engine deck slightly off, so they don't quite line up on this side with the fender-mounted schürzen braces, adding to the off-kilter look. I did get the left side placed correctly, and did not cut off the rail braces. There is a very small, slightly raised line on the upper superstructure for aligning the brackets, but I placed the right side incorrectly and the left side correctly. There is a small square protusion on the engine deck that is not shown in the instruction drawings, and that is where the upper arm of the rearmost schürzen bracket sits; I did not do that for the right side, but did for the left side.
Unit decal and type of unit on the front hull - note the shine from the gloss coat underneath. That'll be covered by a flat coat after weathering.
Unit type, unit emblem, national marking on the rear hull plate.
PROS: An excellent kit, with well molded parts that almost click into place. Very little flash and knockout holes, mainly on the inside of the wheels and the inner face of the tracks. The tracks go together quickly and have a realistic sag. Tools are nicely molded with straps that look as good as after market. The one piece main gun barrel seam sanded down nicely, and looks good. The big empty interior is just crying out for a scratch built or aftermarket interior. The schürzen plates are a good weight, didn't cause the supports or rails to sag or break off. The price for this kit makes it feasible to buy two and build the StuG III Ausf. G version, if one wishes.
CONS: Instruction sheet is just too small. I had to use my optivisor to make sure I wasn't missing anything, and I still did - schürzen rail and brackets installation. Some of the connection points are barely visible (schürzen attachment points on superstructure). No interior, no figure.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS