by: Tim Sloan [ ]
The Sturmgeschutz, or better known as the Stug III, went through numerous variations and changes. This Cyber Hobby release of the Stug III G covers the initial stage of the Ausf. G model, which began production in December 1942 by Alkett. Both Alkett and MIAG were awarded the production orders, but MIAG did not begin until February 1943. Alkett produced 120 Ausf. Gs in December 1942. Even during this initial production, the G went through some changes, which actually makes 2 versions of the Initial Ausf. G. The Cyber Hobby kit does provide parts to make both versions, however, only 1 version is mentioned in the instructions.
The kit consists of 13 plastic ejection sprues, 1 clear styrene sprue, 1 hull, 1 brass photo etch fret (with 1 extra photo etch part provided), 1 strand cable wire, 1 set Magic tracks, decals for 3 markings, 1 set of instructions along with a leaflet for corrections in step 6 & 10.
The majority of the contents are from the original Stug III G Early Smart kit #6320. An in-box review was done by Vinnie Branigan, and a build review was done by Frank Portela. For this review, I won’t go over again what they already covered. I will, however, show why this kit differs from kit 6320 & 6365 and its accuracy for this version.
Sprue C omits the track guards and upper fighting compartment assembly.
Sprue K is new, which includes the initial upper fighting compartment ,initial track guards, fenders, and 3 parts which are oddly marked not for use. One of these being the drivers vision port (part K6), which was on the Initial Ausf. G. I do not understand why Dragon did not include this as an option in the instructions.
The Initial Ausf G
What makes this kit different than the early Ausf. G?
The Ausf. G is based from the Stug III F/8, with the most notable changes being the upper fighting compartment structure. While that structure was changed, some details remained; for example the fume extraction fan. This remained on its roof mounted position, later moved to the rear wall on the early Ausf. G. The driver's side vision port remained from the F/8, but was deleted early in the Initial G production run. This was replaced with a pistol port, as shown in the instructions (part K8). This is one option Dragon does not show; depending on the unit your modeling, you’ll need to check your references as to which one it has, the vision block or pistol port (the later being the most seen in wartime photos).
Another carry over from the F/8 was the KFF driver's periscope (Kraftfahrfernrohr). This was located just above the driver's visor as two small holes.
The roof top (part C4, also from the early kit) still has the armor cover for the gun sight molded on. This was not added to the Ausf. G until Jan. 1943. The Ausf. G Initials would not have had this; though they were retrofitted to the Initial in January, not all would have been so modified immediately, if at all. This again will be your option: to remove it or leave it be. You’ll see in the photo of the part the shaded area that needs removed. On the upper surface, just remove the raised detail. On the lower surface you’ll need to cut that area out. Also note the hole for the ventilator, which needs to be cut out.
The kit does provide the machine gun shield at the loader's position. This wasn’t originally installed on the first Initial batch, but later was retrofitted in the field beginning in December ’42. This is not shown in the instructions, nor is the MG provided. The few wartime photos Ive seen of the Initial G do not have the shield mounted.
And finally one last detail that Dragon got right for the Initial G: the track guards. Because the new fighting compartment bottom was higher than the hull, the track guards were "stepped" in order to fasten them to the superstructure.
There are 3 markings provided in the kit, one of which I know for certain has the pistol port instead of the visor (option 2):
Stug. Abt. 2 Pz. Gren. Div. “Das Reich”, Kursk 1943
Stug. Abt. 226, Leningrad 1943
Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943
Having already built the Stug III Early #6320, I know this will build into a fine model with very little issue. This kit, simply being a variation of 6320, is nearly the same, with the exceptions being noted above. Can you build an Initial Ausf. G from 6320 or 6365? Absolutely not. The fighting compartment structure is different and only provided in this kit. Which makes it not only unique, it's also limited as a Cyber Hobby exclusive. While some kits made as Cyber Hobby exclusives seem to be the same as the regular Dragon kit, this one isn’t one of them. For the Stug fans, I'd highly recommend this one. For the average German armor modeler, if you just want an Ausf. G, then the regular Dragon early kit would do fine.