Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. C/D is the first STUG for 2017 that Hong Kong company releases. It is a continuation of their partially re-tooled short-barreled StuGs, first of these being StuG III Ausf.E DML #6688. Dragon boosted their new releases recently, combining new toolings and partially re-tooled subjects /like one in this article/, trying to keep up with the competition. After the release of Bronco Sturmgeschutz kits lately /Ausf. C/D/E versions/, Dragon is risking loosing their crown as being the best StuG III manufacturer in 35th scale.
Many companies are hungry for that particular object, being the most produced vehicle of the WWII and one of the most popular kit amongst modelers. Not only that, but the scale – 1/35 – is also in “the most” category. So that being said, Dragon 6851, alongside Dragon 6688 are an attempt from DML to keep their place on top when it comes down to German Armor of the Second World War.
Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III comes in a nice and big box, with some minor changes compared to DML 6688. The top of the box is done in the new Dragon way, similar to the one of the Sd.Kfz.252 half-track. There is a yellow diagonal stripe where “Smart Kit”logo is placed, the rest being the boxart and in my case – bonus stickers.
picture courtesy of DML
I was in a hurry to among the first who order the kit, to make sure mine will come with Magic Tracks. As with Dragon 6688, not all of the kits comes with that. On the box of my Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III, I got two additional stickers: “Magic Tracks included” and “Bonus External Air Filters”. Probably, if you wait long enough, yours won’t feature these.
They look like the part of the boxart but they aren’t. On the back of the box we have typical Dragon description of highlights included in 6851. However, not much is new inside of the box. Now to make this more clear, let’s focus on
Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III comes with stashed box, full with plastic bags. Each of those contains one or more sprues inside, made from typical Dragon material. There is no need to describe every and each one of those, just because of one simple reason: there are almost no new-tooled sprues inside of DML6851.
We have sprues from StuG Ausf.F/8, Ausf.G, Panzer III, Panzer IV and some used in most of the Dragon kits, like sprues with tools on them. The one that worth mentioning is the sprue with the fenders, which is supposedly completely new tooled one.
With that said, I must add that the overall quality is superb. I am only mentioning this to those who expect mostly newly-tooled sprues inside, combined with some old ones. Here we can barely find something new, but that does not mean that Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III is not a great kit. Just the contrary.
The Sprues feature superb texture, fine details, tiny and delicate elements all over. There will be a lot of spare parts for your stash after you finish the build, so having older sprues isn’t exactly a problem.
The kit feature partial interior just like 6688. It is not much but is more than most of what other kits have. The radios are great, floor of the vehicle – superb. The 75mm Kanone is with rifling and alongside the fact that there are not many aftermarket 7.5cm Kanones available, I must admit – Dragon did good here.
Are a high point of this kit. They are made by Cartograf, the best in the business. DML decals weren’t the best out there /nor the worst in that matter/ but the decision to use Cartograf really improves things here. We have two small sheets. One for the Bonus Version which is DAK – Desert Afrika Korps and three for other three versions. Standard dark gray StuG IIIs from the Eastern front, 1941. Those three differ only by the decal options which are modest – only names with a logo on the side of the vehicle: Seydlitz, Prinz Eugen and Derfflinger. The DAK version feature some palm trees of course.
Overall good job with the decals. Although I prefer masks for armor, and of course I always use DN Models German Crosses mask set, I must add that for those who are in a hurry with their build, those decals are a good addition to 6851.
With the bonus mentioned above, Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III kit becomes very decent investment. We have DS tracks and DS jackets and boots included. The DS tracks are not particularly famous among modelers, but the other DS goodies are beautiful.
Alongside with those we get small but nice photo-etch sheet. It features most of the stuff needed, but I would’ve add a tad more, just to make it closer to perfection. The material is thin and flexible though and present us with absolutely nothing to complain about.
Bonus sprues with external air filters featured within Desert Afrika Korps version are for those who would like to get their STUG III ausf. C/D from Dragon instead of Bronco. Bronco’s StuG DAK is completely new tooling but will gain trust slowly. To add to that, Dragon added a bonus DAK version and that made Bronco’s life even harder.
And last but not least – the Magic Tracks. There will be an useless blabber if I start pointing out the highlights of those. You are well familiar with them I trust. What I want to mention is that we have them here and this is extremely nice. Probably most of the kits will be out on the market without Magic Tracks, but if you are aware of that fact, you can always request your seller to find you a kit with them. Otherwise – buy it from somewhere else!
Without them this kit isn’t worth the price, as any other Smart kit from Dragon featured only with DS tracks. Aftermarket tracks are expensive and alongside with Dragon high prices it will make it even harder on the wallet.
Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III is not a new kit. It has new sprues and Cartograf decals. It features 4 versions, including Desert Afrika Korps. It is fitted with nice rifled 7.5cm Kanone, antennas and Magic Tracks. The kit comes at a price, no doubt about it but with all that included you will get even. Alongside DML6688 and the upcoming Wittmann early STUG, this Ausf.C/D is a great addition to any collection.
It is hard to find new and decent Dragon sets. Especially when it says “Smart Kit” but is fitted with DS only. Not so smart after all… This is definitely one of those rare birds that are just like Dragon old-school. In my opinion it beats Bronco all the way and for an early StuG III I would always go either this or 6688.
You can get this kit here: Dragon 6851 Sturmgeschutz III Ausf.C/D