- Published on Saturday, 24 March 2012 00:02 Robin Jenkins
1/72 StuIG 33B
Catalogue # 99029
Available direct from Armourfast for £7.50 for a pack of 2 vehicles
There relatively few military weapons in history that have been developed initially to fight in a single specific action. Offhand, I can only think of a small number; four that spring to mind from WW2 are: the wooden-tailed torpedoes developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy purely for the airborne attack on the US Navy ships in the shallow waters around Pearl Harbour; Barnes Wallis' "bouncing bomb" for the attack on the Ruhr dams by 617 Squadron Lancasters; the Royal Navy's X-Craft 4-man mini-submarine, developed solely to attack the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord; and the Wehrmacht's first "heavy" mobile infantry gun, the StuIG 33B (or Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B), developed solely for the fighting conditions the Germans found themselves in during Autumn 1942 in Stalingrad (below).
Credit and copyright: Wikipedia
For many years, the true genesis of this vehicle was rather confused, but it is now accepted that the 24 vehicles built were all constructed by Alkett in September 1942 from the repaired chassis taken from several early marks of the Sturmgeschutz III. Armed with the massive 150mm sIG 33/1 artillery piece, it was actually developed, produced and shipped to the front in under 6 weeks, an incredible feat for the production of a new AFV. 12 of the vehicles served in the Stalingrad battle with Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen (Assault Gun Battalions) 177 and 244; the second 12 were unable to reach their units when the city was surrounded by Russian forces and so served with forces trying to relieve the city. The vehicles were popular but unreliable; their major impact was a test vehicle for the concept that would be addressed subsequently to better effect with vehicles such as the Brumbar and Sturmtiger. It is believed that at least 5 StuIG 33B vehicles were on active service until at least September 1944.
For an AFV of which only 24 were built, there have been a surprising number of kits over the years, most notable of which have been the result Dragon's ongoing love affair with the vehicle, having released a couple of kits in 1/35 scale (the latest, an updated kit, fairly recently). Now, our friends at Armourfast have released a 1/72 version.
With the usual two kits within a single box presentation and simplified single piece wheels and tracks, it is an interesting choice for the company, whose approach to date has been largely to give the younger modeller and wargamer AFVs that saw fairly widespread use. This is a much more esoteric choice so it will be interesting to see how sales hold up. The parts are provided on a single sand coloured sprue (below) and are, as usual, with Armourfast, cleanly cast.
A close-up photo (above) reveals some of the nice detail that is moulded into the front and rear of the superstructure. With the variety of StuG III chassis used for the original conversions, no-one can be too pedantic as to the correct fit of the hull. In comparison to plans and photos, the kit is actually pretty accurate in shape. Some care will be need when joining the 2 barrel halves together. It is good to see hat the upper hatch can be modeled opened. Two small omissions are the machine gun barrel and the second box on the rear engine deck that most of these vehicles carried. Apart from these points, a nice little vehicle can be built.
As normal, the instructions are carried on the rear of the box (below).
The price remains at the standard £7.50, giving excellent value for money.
So What Do We Think?
Perhaps the choice of vehicle is not that strange after all when you consider it. The lower parts for the StuG III / Panzer III were already available and the vehicle looks radically different to anything else in the Armourfast range. This is a key factor with younger modellers, who like variety. The model is well up to the usual Armourfast standard and is really quite accurate in shape.
A praiseworthy effort
Our thanks to Armourfast for the review samples. To purchase directly, click THIS link.