The Sturmgeschutz III, or StuG III Assault gun was an attempt to produce an armoured close support vehicle with a low silhouette and a large calibre gun. The chassis was actually that of the Panzer III, but had a low silhouette fixed superstructure. Although ouclassed entirely by the end of the War, well over 10,000 had been produced, and was considered a success.
The standard Tamiya top-opening box, inside and separately bagged there are 4 sprues of dark grey styrene, a bag containing the decals, a pair of vinyl tracks, the hull, and a small triangular cardboard insert containing a metal barrel and small photo etched fret. The instructions are of course, also included.
It's Tamiya? Nobody would expect anything less than perfect moulding in a new kit from this company, and that's just what we get. Pin sharp, precise mouldings. Although Tamiya have recently released this as a 1/48th scale kit, this is not just a scaled up version, it's new tooling....or most of it is.
I haven't the resources to check it, but Terry Ashley at PMMS noted that the running gear is actually the old Tamiya Panzer III sprue. This kit actually has new axles and new idlers, which allow you to some extent at least, to make the suspension moveable, at least the two end wheels on either side are, held as they are with metal springs supplied in the kit. The rest of the wheels are not sprung, but can be positioned. All this could be really useful for diorama makers, but then vinyl tracks are supplied, which are quite good but not very useful for animating the suspension? Since they have solid guide horns too, it might be better just to replace them.
There is a very simplified interior included, which includes fighting compartment bulkheads, and a very good breech assembly for the gun, however all the hatches are supplied with absolutely no reverse detail whatsoever, added to this is the fact they are supplied as single mouldings, so require splitting, and they have quite large pin ejector marks on the inside.
The gun barrel is supplied in plastic or metal, which is a nice touch, but still falls far below the options and extras being offered by competitors. The metal barrel actually provides rifling, which is nicely done at the correct angle, but the barrel itself is only just over a centimetre long so it's not a huge 'extra' offering. The photo etched fret is small, and unlike previous Tamiya photo etched offerings, this one bends without the need for a bench vice! It includes the two engine grills, two brackets for the antennae channel and two headlight covers.
Included in the kit decals are options for making 5 versions:
1st Kompanie, 243rd StuGAbt, Battle of Uman, August 1941
1st Kompanie, 243 StuGAbt, Battle of Kyiv, September 1941
2nd Kompanie, 226th StugAbt, Poland, June 1941
2nd Kompanie,191st StuGAbt, Greece, April 1941
Vehicle No.3, 1st Kompanie, 192nd StuGZbt, Poland, June 1941
All these are represented in overall Panzer grey.
It's a nice kit. High quality moulding, accurate for the version. Slightly expensive for what's in the box, don't expect all the little 'extras' you get with some other manufacturers though, Tamiya haven't caught on to that yet.
My Thanks to Winston Vermilyea of Wings'n'Treads for the review sample.
Further information is available here