StuG III – The Barkas Build kit options Part 1DN Models
The Barkas Build is coming soon, and unlike other Group Builds it requires some serious research before action starts. The reason for that is that the market is flooded with all kinds of Panzer IIIs and STUG IIIs which are more or less based on the same tooling – Dragon kit – with minor exceptions – Tamiya. Basically, there are all good, but if you insist on being exact and punctual, you gotta stick to a few in order to be certain that the kit will be accurate in dimensions and historically.
In couple of articles I will try to cut off most of the kits and give you the few options that are popular and available and on decent prices. Also, I will try to spare you the hassle in case you are looking for “the right” Panzer III or STUG III. Of course, that won’t include special versions like FLAKs, Flam’s and other kinds of derivatives of Panzer III chassis, but I might at some later stage add a few options kit-wise in a separate article to spice up things a little bit. I will include the pre-production versions of it though, because on the market we have quite a few and high quality ones.
As you already might’ve read, The Barkas Build is dedicated to our friend and famous modeler Hanibal Barkas, who’s favorite tank is Panzer III. The Group Build will include Panzer III and STUG IIIs, and all the versions of this chassis. Most of the kits hopefully will be based on Panzer III standard tanks and pre-production version /Panzer III Ausf.A I believe is one of the favorites of Hamilkar Barkas/ but I am pretty sure that there will be some heresy /like the Su-76i conversion/ with some other versions and odd conversions.
This is the first article that I will post and will include short and summarized description of the STUG III /my favorite panzer III based vehicle/ kits in 35th scale. There are many of these, mostly Dragon kits, but I will polish the results to minimum to show only the very few best and most available.
The most interesting and simultaneously one of the most accurate and popular STUG IIIs is the DML StuG.III Ausf.G with Zimmerit Late Production kit #6633
It has Magic Tracks, it has built-in zimmerit, it is accurate enough and includes few very nice options. If you ask me, this is one of my Top 3 to get. However, the price of it is high. I am not sure is it due to its accuracy, fame or lack of stock supplies, but it is pricey son of a bitch. There is an option to get one without Zimmerit or Magic Tracks but in order to make it perfect you have to invest. Similar is the case with this one:
it is DML 1/35 StuG.III Ausf.F/8 Late Production with Winter Tracks which is again All-in-One package featuring Magic Winter tracks and high accuracy. The problem with this one is that if you check the link here you can find it at a good price in US, however rest of the World will rip you off for it. In eBay it starts from $78 and goes well above $110-120 with delivery included. Of course, not everybody would like to pay that much, and I made a little research about it, finding out that it is basically the same as StuG. III F/8 Early Production Italy 1943 DML 6620 :
but without the winter tracks. Well yeah, they are the highlight of the kit, but you can get substitute for them with some aftermarket solutions. They will raise up the total price of course, but with Aftermarket winter tracks will be far better than with just the Magic Tracks from Dragon. They add some weight to the model, but in the same time they add the perfect possible accuracy and you cannot go further than that in terms of improving your kit suspension. Many modelers consider them “a must” so instead of having troubles finding DML 6644, I think it is a better option to go with DML 6620 and get tracks for it. There are options there too: Spade Ace, Friul, Kaizen or Easy Metal Links. Whatever you can find affordable and you’ll have fun working with!
So these are the Dragon kits that I recommend: 6644, 6633 and 6620. There is one more that I would like to add, Cyber Hobby 6454 – StuH 42 10,5cm Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf. G w/Zimmerit which is great kit, but it’s not exactly a STUG but a StuH and it is hard to find and the price is high.
However, if you go with any one of those mentioned above you will be on the right track. Now, the market is not only Dragon/Cyber Hobby. There are others. Zvezda and Revell are not worth mentioning because they are either repacks of old kits or won’t worth for the price difference compared to those ones above. What makes sense mentioning are the kits from Tamiya. They offer StuG III from the first version and the one from the later one. They also have great 48th scale kits but this will go in another article.
From modeling stand point, Tamiya is much more pleasurable to build than DML and even though the detail is not that refined, minor add-ons can make them pretty much equal in quality to the Dragon kits. The most popular Tamiya kit, which is also the best early version of the StuG III on the market is Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B (Sd.Kfz.142) 35281
It is cheap, accurate and available almost everywhere. It will require tracks to be really cool once built, but otherwise it presents shake-and-bake kit suitable even for 12 year old modelers. Tamiya are usually like that. There is a substitute for that in the face of old Dragon 6008 or its repack – Sturmgeschutz III Ausf B StuG – Zvezda 3548 which are also nice kits, and compared to Tamiya they hold pretty well, especially Dragon. Zvezda on the other hand are usually different plastic, cheap and boxed in rather ugly boxes, but they still come at a price twice lower than the competition so it is worth thinking about it. Tamiya and Zvezda also have later versions of StuGs, but Zvezda is not worth mentioning here, and Tamiya’s kit is great but old. So it’s newer version is the only one that I will note here as a last option of “the best StuGs out there”:
Finnish Army StuG.III Ausf.G is a rather specific option of that Panzer III derivative but it is still a StuG and that’s why I am putting it into my list. The price is great, the fit is superb and it holds the same qualities as Tamiya’s B version. The only thing here is that Ausf.G is popular -as you’ve seen above- with Dragon and they are probably a bit better. Here you will need tracks and some spice-ups like scratch or photo-etch upgrades which are available at a price. On the other hand, Finnish version looks a bit different, markings are different and it presents opportunity to those who seek a path different than the one known. So, I cannot miss that kit and it is also among the kits which are very nice and suitable for The Barkas Build.
Pretty much that summarize the availability out there. Not in total, but only the best available. There are many options and many of them holds great qualities, each one with his own merits. But in my opinion and according to my research these are the ones you should consider before getting your StuG.
The Stug III is the single most produced German armored vehicle of the Second World War. That makes the options there countless. Around 9000 were build, and this does not included Panzer III and its variants. Only StuGs and StuHs. It was one of the most successful designs of the war and changed the warfare forever. I think that for The Barkas Build this is one of the vehicles that will fit best, after of course the Panzer III itself. I really do hope that this article would help you choose your particular StuG not only for this Group Build but in the foreseeable future, until the point when some of the companies surprises us with a new and better tooling of the Sturmgeschütz III.
If you are interested in changing the decals for masks for greater realism, you can check here: DN Models Mask set for German Vehicles – Crosses and Numbers in 35th scale
A thorough Walkaround can be found here: