Wednesday, February 15

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

Paul has already built the brother to this new kit from Bronco, so we thought that he would be the best person to talk us through what’s in the box of his new 35th scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E (Sd.Kfz 142/1 Eastern front Edition) from Bronco Models. This kit promises metal barrel, Photo-etch and other small nice features. See what he thought tin his “In Boxed” review…
In Boxed: Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E Sd.Kfz 142/1 (Eastern Front)
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
1:35th scale
Type: Multimedia kit w/ metal barrel & cable + Photo Etch material
Price: USD $

One of the ways Bronco tries to make the most of their moulds is by re-releasing previous releases with some minor additions or changes to the original boxing as a bit of a refresh. Bronco released the StuG IIIE mid last year and this version is labelled as being specifically from the Eastern Front 1942, with the box art illustration of some extra track links mounted on the lower hull sides, and some extra road wheels on the fenders and one mounted to the front corner of the superstructure, both more than likely done as a means of extra protection.

This StuG...
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.

In the box:
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 showing that it is a new item to the kit.
Not many steps to completion with this detailed kit.

The two 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 two marking schemes are:
  1. StuG Abt. 190 Eastern Front Russia 1941/1942
  2. StuG Abt. Grossdeutschland Eastern Front Russia 1941/42

Unfortunately, both schemes are all over grey, but the decals are well printed and feature a few different options for the unit markings so there is some variety with the markings. 

The basic kit remains the same as the one I built previously late last year - and the quality is still the same as the original release being flash free with good detail and mouldings throughout. However, this also means that this release shares the same shortcomings of the original with the metal barrel being tapered too much, and the cutouts in the drive sprockets being questionable in shape.

Db Sprue
This release comes with an extra Db sprue which is the extra road wheels and the mounts that the wheels and extra track links are mounted on. The quality is consistent with the rest of the kit so you will not notice a difference when placed on the kit.
The other difference between this release and the original is the tracks. While the original had fully workable tracks that came in individual links attached with pins, this release has individual links but will need to be glued. For me, this is a bit of a downgrade to the kit since these links require the same amount of cleanup as the original ones, but the track pins allowed the tracks to sag naturally with minimal extra effort, whereas these ones will need to be glued in place, but less fiddly. Personal preference really.
 In closer detail of both sides
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 sprue. 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. You can see there are also added softer plastic wingnut bolts to add detail.
Two lengths of copper cable are provided for the tow cables.
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.
Overall I was quite impressed with the kit when I build it up last year and this should be no different. Apart from the shape issues with the metal barrel and drive sprockets, the kit builds up well, and the new details included will give it just that extra bit of detail. While I feel the tracks are a downgrade from the original kit, I only say it because I compared them to the original, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the tracks provided in this kit. Still highly recommended.
Construction Review Pt II: Sturmgeschütz III Ausf E (Sd. Kfz 142)

Paul Lee

Thank you to Bronco Models for providing this kit to review