First Look Review: Takom StuG III Ausf. G Early w/ Winterketten
A QUICK HISTORY LESSON
Low slung, nasty and relatively cheap, the StuG series proved to be one on the most highly produced AFVs in Hitler’s arsenal. In fact, by the end of WW2, the StuG’s production numbers finished second behind only the SdKfz 251 halftrack. The first StuG III, based on the venerable Panzer III chassis, was designed to provide close infantry support. Armed with the short-barreled 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 cannon, the StuG proved to be easy to conceal and was more than capable of throwing HE rounds at enemy pillboxes and fortifications.
When the German Army encountered Russian T-34s and KV-1s in the Spring of 1942, they again turned to the StuG for a counterpunch. The first StuG III tank hunters appeared with a high-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43. This was quickly upgraded to the slightly longer 7.5 cm StuK L/48 gun in the Fall of 1942.
The StuG represented in this review is the early StuG III Ausf G. which featured a widened superstructure, a commander’s cupola and a 7.92 mm MG34 behind a foldable shield. This kit also includes Winterketten. Introduced in 1942, these ingenious extensions could be attached to normal tracks, making them wider. The wider tracks dispersed the weight of the vehicle over a wider area, increasing mobility in snowy, slushy and even muddy conditions.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?! (apologies to Brad Pitt)
At first glance, I was surprised at the smaller size of the kit box, but realized that it was deeper than most – there’s a good number of sprues inside. The kit is molded in Takom’s signature softer plastic. While this makes sanding and cleanup easier, a light touch and careful attention is required to make sure you don’t damage the part. Details are spectacular and crisp– before you build this kit, take time to drink in the many weld beads, bolts, rivets, etc. Delicious. Almost every piece has a microscopic mold line. This is easily removed with a swipe from a sanding pad or scrape of a sharp #11 blade, but they are easy to overlook and will show up at the most inopportune times during painting.
Tracks are link and length with a curious thing – the length runs already have the winterketten molded on (yay!), the individual links require these potentially fussy little buggers to be added...er...individually (boo.).
One more word of caution - Takom sprue attachment points are thicker and well defined. Occasionally, it is hard to tell where the piece ends and where the sprue begins. It is easy to lop off the end of the part or mistakenly include a sprue gate - stay sharp and keep the instructions close.
Of course this wouldn’t be a review without the obligatory sprue porn. Here you go:
Sprue A (x2)
Sprue B (x2)