Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B (Sd.Kfz.142)

1:48 Scale - Kit No.32507
Review by Terry Ashley

Tamiya continue their 1:48 releases with this kit of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B (Sd.Kfz.142) with the kit representing a later Ausf.B fitted with 40cm track with the later cast drive sprocket while still retaining the early idler wheel and the first return roller is correctly positioned further forward than on a vehicle with the earlier 36cm track.

The kit consists of 149 parts in dark grey plastic and the now standard cast metal lower hull although this has more details than in the earlier kits with the axles, return roller mounts, idler mountings and suspension bump stops all included in the casting with additional plastic parts of the final drive housings which trap a poly cap inside and the two shock absorbers for the first and sixth axles, the axles also have the correct offset for the torsion bar suspension.

The detail on the two part drive sprockets and idlers wheels is very good as are the road wheels with the holes in the wheels and nice hub details as do the return rollers and look very good for the scale. The road wheels, return rollers and idler wheel are all glued to their respective axles/mountings while the drive sprocket is attached by pressing its axle into the poly cap trapped inside the final drive housing which does allow you to remove the sprocket at any time and of course to rotate the sprocket to line up with the drive holes in the tracks as they are fitted.

The tracks are again link and length in the same plastic as the rest of the kit and the top track run is moulded with the track sag between the return rollers for a nice appearance once fitted with the shorter sections and single links for fitting around the drive sprocket and idler wheel and as there is no side skirts you could fit the track at any time or early on as per the instructions.

The plastic rear hull plate has the Ausf.A/B type exhausts and towing shackles and fits precisely to the back of the metal hull and there is also the smoke grenade box on the right side.

The upper hull is in one piece with separate upper superstructure as well as separate front transmission inspection hatches and rear engine deck hatches, this is because the screws to attach the upper and lower hull together are inside these hatch openings and fitting the hatches hides the screws completely and there are also separate side exhaust intakes.

The detail on the hull and superstructure is very good with subtle weld seams on the front and rear hull and side radio pannier and delicate engraved screws on the top of the superstructure as well as the crew hatches being separate parts for good detail definition. The recess for the main gun sight also includes the bullet splash ribbing which looks quite convincing and the front driver’s plate is separate with binocular openings and separate armoured visor cover.

The fenders have quite nice tread plate pattern for this scale but again some of the tools are moulded in place while others such as the jack, shovel, ‘S’ shackles, fire extinguisher and barrel cleaning rods are separate parts as is the steel rope on the rear hull. There are also the two small fender lights and NOTEK light for the left fender as well as the rear tail light fitted to the left fender.

The fit of the separate hatches on the hull and superstructure is very good and you won’t need any filler or trimming for these and the distinctive Ausf.A/B front headlights and towing shackles have two parts each for good detail definition with additional items such as the superstructure lifting eyes and driver’s side visor are also separate parts.

The short 7.5cm L24 KwK 37 gun has the mantlet in three parts with separate barrel which is hollowed out and gun shield with the mounting being an ingenious design that allows for gun traverse and elevation after assembly. This is achieved with the use of two poly caps, one trapped inside the gun mount for elevation and the other in the hull gun mounting for attaching the gun to the main hull. The instructions show not to attach the gun to the gun mounting till after the superstructure is attached to the hull but I found it was easier to get a good fit of the gun to the mantlet before hand and you can still fit the superstructure over the gun by slipping the superstructure sideways as you fit it over the gun so it’s up to you when you attach the gun?

There is an issue with the gun which is 2.1mm too short according to the scaled down 1:35 plans in the Actung Panzer and Ground Power publications and to correct this you could extend the rear section of the barrel or use the new armoscale StuGIII metal barrel (set #B48-006)

The fit of the superstructure to the main hull was also very good without any resulting gaps and finally there is the long antenna trough on the left rear fender also a separate part.

The decal sheet is quite extensive and is usual Tamiya with well printed markings and good colour register but thickish carrier film.

Markings are for six Stugs with three shown on the instruction sheet and one in colour on the side of the box top, all are in overall Panzer Grey.

  1. Vehicle No.33, StuG.Abt 203, Eastern Front, 1941 with additional markings for vehicle 13 of the same unit.
  2. StuG.Abt 190, Crimea, 1942
  3. Vehicle No.13, StuG.Abt 192 “Grossdeutschland”, Eastern Front, 1941 with additional markings for Vehicle 14 and 24 of the same unit. Also included are the colourful Red, Yellow and White unit emblems for StuG.Abt 192 for additional choice.

Decal sheet

The Sprues
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Detail images
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This is very nicely detailed little model with all the correct features for a late StuG Ausf.B with many separate parts for good detail definition but still with those moulded on tools?
The detail seems to be improving with each new release in the this series and this kit should look quite impressive when built even if in this smaller scale.

Highly recommended

Sturmgeschutz III
Assault Gun 1940-42

Osprey New Vanguard 19
ISBN 1 85532 537 3
"Stug III" Monograph
Acción Press/EuroModelismo
ISBN 84-95464-40-3
Ground Power Magazine #140 1/2006
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Sturmgeschütz III in action
Armor No.2014
Squadron Signal Publications
ISBN 0-89747-047-8
Achtung Panzer Vol.5 - Stug III, Stug IV
Model Graphix
ISBN: 4499226546
Ground Power Magazine #49 6/1998.
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten.

Page created 31 December 2004

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