The Stug series of vehicles proved to be a great success as a defensive vehicle for the German forces during World War 2. During the retreat of the Germans on the Eastern Front Stugs did an excellent job of holding up the Soviet forces chasing the Germans. I remember reading a book by a British officer who travelled through Russia shortly after the war and he said how he would see anywhere from 30 to 50 destroyed Russian tanks and a couple of destroyed Stugs that had been the rear guard. This offering from MiniArt
represents one of the five prototypes built with soft steel and that where used as training vehicles.
This offering from MiniArt
is packaged in a cardboard tray with a card lid and that has done a good job of protecting the contents; the card lid could be easily damaged if not further protected during posting. A single sealed plastic wrapping contains all of the kit parts, but some are further protected by more sealed plastic bags. The contents break sown as follows:
45 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
A decal sheet
A photo etched fret
Starting with an examination of the sprues reveals nothing obvious to concern the modeller out of the ordinary. There are the obvious ejector pin marks which can be ignored for the most part as they will be hidden on the finished model, but as always I am sure some will need to be corrected to prevent them being seen. There are quite a lot of flow marks on larger pieces, but none of these look or feel to have caused damage to the finish of the parts. My only real concern here is that some of the very small parts could easily be damaged or broken as they are removed from the sprues.
The suspension on this model is one of the obvious changes that mark this as a prototype vehicle. unlike the combat vehicles this one does not have torsion springs as suspension and instead has leaf spring suspension units. This can be assembled with some movement built in, but as the leaf springs are a solid item do not go for extreme compression. The drive wheels are perfect replications of the original wheels as can be seen by the tear drop loop on two of the opposing holes. The idler wheel is also a good scale replication, but it is possible from my reference that there should be only one bolt between each leg rather than 2 as replicated on the model. The road wheels and return rollers are good replications and even have the correct number of bolts according to my reference. Looking over the instructions reveals the suspension to be a very nicely done element of the model.
The lower hull of the vehicle is one of the areas that again clearly indicate this to be a prototype vehicle. This element is the two circular access panels on the front hull plate. The lower hull has some nice detail on the underside, but I have no way of confirming the accuracy of these elements. Moving to the rear of the hull and you will find two oblong mufflers which are correctly detailed for this vehicle.
The tracks provided are the workable offerings that I am such a fan of. These are held together using separate pins in the same way the real tracks went together. And below is a link to the review I wrote covering these tracks.
Looking inside the model and MiniArt
has provided us with a very nice gun mount and breech section of the main gun. The accuracy of the detail in this area is not something I can comment on, but it is a very nice looking aspect of the model. In addition to this a rear firewall has been provided that again offers a nice addition to the model. Some seating has been provided and so the hatches will reveal some detail inside. Two MP40ís are indicated as needing attachment to the rear wall of the fighting compartment, but as this vehicle is a prototype offering I am unsure if these small arms would have been present.
The upper hull and fighting compartment looks to match my reference very well in both shape and form. All of the hatches can be displayed open if desired, but it will need work on the part of the modeller due to interior detail being restricted to the fighting compartment. All told it looks to me as if MiniArt
has done a very good job of this area of the model. The only negatives I can find are the grab handles that while generally accurately placed and faithfully replicated there would seem to be too many of them in some places such as the mid sides of the fighting compartment where there should be one not two.
The main gun has also been nicely replicated with the slide moulded barrel being a nice if expected inclusion at this time. The box section over the barrel has been tackled well and should look good on the finished model.
This is what I believe to be the first of the Stug models that MiniArt
intends to offer and I am impressed with what they have offered in this model. The accuracy of the model is very good in most locations with only small details such as grab handles looking to be wrong. The star of the show has to be the amount of effort MiniArt
has put into the suspension of the model that are excellent reproductions of the real vehicle. With this area being topped off with the workable tracks offered by MiniArt
I see no reason not to buy this model as it will make a great addition to your display cabinet.
Workable Track Links Set for Panzer III/IV Early Type