Tuesday, July 26

In Boxed: Bronco Models 1/35th scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E (Sd.Kfz 142)

Before he cuts plastic on this kit Paul thought he would show us what’s in the box of his new 35th scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E (Sd.Kfz 142) from Bronco Models. This kit promises metal barrel, Photo etch and other small nice features and thankfully for Paul no complex interior that no one will see once the model is finished! See what he thought tin his “In Boxed” review…

In Boxed: Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E (Sd.Kfz 142)
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
Scale: 1:35th
Type: Multimedia kit w/ metal barrel & cable + Photo Etch material
Price: USD $
The German concept of Blitzkrieg relied on lightning strikes by tanks punching through enemy frontlines and then encircling enemy positions with the slower moving infantry following up behind. However, while the tanks sped ahead, the infantry still needed mobile artillery support when they were confronted with enemy pillboxes and strongpoints, and so the StuG III was born. The vehicle was developed using the hull of the Panzer III and mounting a short barrelled 75mm howitzer in the superstructure and removing the turret.

This latest release by Bronco is the StuG III E which is the last of the short barrelled gun variants before the StuG was armed with the long 75mm which was more suited to the anti-tank role. The StuG III E differed from in predecessors by having two armoured boxes mounted to the superstructure sides which allowed for radio equipment to be carried, as well as some extra rounds of ammunition and a machine gun carried inside for close in defence.
The kit comes in Bronco's usual sturdy box, and inside you will find:
One instruction booklet
Individually bagged sprues of polystyrene sprues, although duplicates come in the same bag
One clear sprue for the headlights
Two frets of photo-etch
Metal gun barrel in two pieces
Two lengths of copper wire
One decal sheet for three markings
One poster of the box top artwork

The instruction booklet is Bronco's usual glossy booklet with illustrations done in line drawings and the occasional coloured highlight. Metal parts are denoted with gold coloured lines, and some of the running gear is highlighted with red although I'm not exactly sure why. Care with alignment perhaps? 

Not many steps to completion with this detailed kit.
The three marking schemes are provided in full colour although the vehicles are grey all over, and are fairly plain vehicles with the first two featuring a heraldic crest on the front glacis. The three marking schemes are:
1.       StuG Abt 177, Eastern Front, Russia 1941
2.       StuG Abt 197, Eastern Front, Russia 1942
3.       Early Vision (Version?), German, 1941
Sprue A consists of the upper hull, fenders, and the partial interior provided for the vehicle. The hatches on the superstructure can be posed open as illustrated on the box, however, the instructions don't mention this. The two periscopes are nicely moulded and come with hollowed out ends.
 Two similar angles of the hull roof showing a lot of detail
 The fenders have the non-slip texture nicely moulded on.

Sprue B is mostly composed of exterior details such as the hatches and exhaust although the gun breech is also on this fret. The exhausts and gun barrel are hollowed out, and the muzzle of the gun has some rifling detail on the inside.

The C sprues come in several sub-sections, listed as Ca, Cb, Cd and Ce. You get two copies of Ca, and Cb which consists mostly of the wheels, idler and sprockets. The wheels and return rollers have a nice raised lip separating the tyres from the wheel. 

The tyres on both wheels and return rollers have “Continentau” finely moulded on, the spelling mistake presumably to avoid any licencing issues.

Detailed drive wheels & Idlers are cast for minimal damage tot he plastic on removal of the sprue.

Cd and Ce comes attached to each other, which in turn is attached to one of the Ca sprues. Cd is the two boxes on the sides for the E variant, and Ce is some details on the rear of the hull.

Sprue F is a clear sprue and is just the two headlights moulded in one piece, and can be substituted for the plastic ones supplied on Sprue B. While I think these are normally a good idea, in this case, the headlights are encased in armoured boxes so not really visible at all.

There are four copies of Sprue G, and these are the track pins that allow the tracks to be fully articulated if glued carefully. Sprue H isn't really a sprue and is just the jig that helps with construction of the tracks. Seventeen strings of track links are provided and listed as Sprue S. Having previously built the Pz IIIA, with some careful glueing these were fully workable and I'm not expecting anything different in this boxing.Sprue N is a row of very petite butterfly nuts and quite an amazing bit of injection moulding. I'd expect these to be provided in PE, but they are in styrene, although will be quite a challenge to attach given their small size.
..and in detail.

Sprue Ka is the sprue of pioneer tools and finely moulded. Clasps are all moulded on, and there is no PE option for the clasps in this kit which will simplify the build.

Sprue L is the lower hull and comes in one piece so alignment won't be an issue.

Sprue M is the upper superstructure, and again in one piece so alignment won't be an issue again. Notice the thick weld seams on the front? hard to replicate in that place so it's great they are included here.

Two small frets of photo-etch are provided and consist of an assortment of small exterior details and part of the idler wheels.

The metal gun barrel comes in two sections, and again a nice inclusion although the plastic equivalents are moulded the same way so there is no seam to worry about. As mentioned earlier, the plastic barrel does have rifling moulded on the inside where the metal one doesn't, so the choice is yours.
Two lengths of copper cable are provided for the tow cables.
Lastly, a small decal sheet for the three marking options.
Overall, a very nice looking kit. Not as complex as some of Bronco's other releases, but the parts loo to be very well moulded and should build up very nicely if they are like Bronco's previous releases. I'm looking forward to putting this one together.
Paul Lee

Thank you to Bronco Models for providing this kit to review