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Broncos Stug IIIE

Recently released by Bronco we have a Sturmgeshutz IIIE in 1/35 scale

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Lessons learned during WWI showed that attacking infantry needed artillery support against minor fortifications and machine guns etc. which could not be offered by the highly immobile guns of the time. General Erich von Manstein who is considered the father of the Sturmartillerie ("assault artillery") as a Colonel in the inter war years forwarded a suggestion to have a mobile artillery piece that could keep pace with the infantry. Daimler-Benz AG was tasked with making this happen and so a casement with a 75mm gun was grafted onto a Pz III chassis to become the Stug III. The first 4 models changed slightly through there gestation getting better each model. One problem that was encountered though was that the commander would direct the battle from a Sd.Kfz 253 and would take over one of their Stugs in order to lead from the front. As there was no room for the required radios this was less than satisfactory. So the E model came about. The left side pannier was lengthened and a right side pannier almost the same size was added. This required a remodeling of the track guards, the removal of the angled wings. Thus extra radios could be carried or 8 rounds of extra ammo and the commander could exert more command and control from the front where he should be. Mounting a 75mm short barrel gun the Stug proved to be very effective and continued to evolve throughout the war.

Consisting of 18 sprues, the majority for the tracks the kit is moulded in tan plastic. There is a grey equipment sprue, a sprue of wingnuts, and a clear sprue for the head lights. Two pieces of PE, two copper braided cables, a small decal sheet and a two piece metal barrel round out the parts list.

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 The plastic barrel has a sprue gate on the side which could be problematic and the rifling is rather crude and with no twist. The metal barrel on the other hand has no rifling at all. Your choices are to use the plastic with work, or the metal barrel, both needing a dust cap to hide the rifling problem. Or you can get an after market barrel with Aber and RB being two options.

The assembly looks fairly easy and although there are many small pieces it does not have all the intricacy normally associated with Bronco. This is not a complaint as they build up into some very detailed and exceptional kits. There are a couple of things that I do not like. The shell basket for the gun is split down the middle and attached to the guard. This means some tricky sanding if you pose the hatches open. With the hatches open though there is still no interior which means some work. Another problem in my opinion is the superstructure sides not hollowed out so you would need to do some major surgery if you wanted to source some radios and put them in the panniers. If would have made more sense to have cutouts on the side walls. Maybe nitpicking but so be it.

The tracks are like the Model Kasten tracks with individual links and pins. With care these are very nice.

You also get a nice print which is the same as the box top and is suitable for framing. Unfortunately it is a strange picture in that there are two troopies crouching in cover as if under fire while the commander is looking at them blissfully unaware of the danger while wearing a field cap rather than a helmet.

Over all from my refs this looks like a well detailed kit and should be fun to build. Three markings are provided. StuG.Abt 177 in Russia 1941, StuG.Abt 197 Russia 1942, and one marked as early version German 1941. While the decals look good I am going to use Archers Fine Transfers and make a StuG.Abt 197 vehicle.

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 All of these are of course German Grey.

While I have not yet built it, the kit looks like it should assemble with no issues and fill a gap in my Stug collection. I got mine on EBay but I would guess most stores should be able to get one for you.

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