by: Keith Middleton [ ]
This latest kit in Cyberhobby’s line of Orange Box Super Value kits contains a “hybrid” vehicle: an early war StuG III C/D modified with the long barreled 7.5 cm high velocity gun.. I was not able to determine how many of these AFV’s were actually produced, but due to its hybrid nature, it is safe to assume this is a relatively rare vehicle.
The kit, as is standard with the Orange Box line, also contains a Dragon figure set: 6194, Panzergrenadiers Wiking Div. (Hungary 1945). This figure set seemed, upon initial consideration, to be another inappropriate pairing of figures and AFV like the Orange Box M4A4 kit. However, my research into this vehicle revealed a single photograph of a long barreled StuG III C/D knocked out in Altdamm, Germany in 1945. So, it is at least conceivable that a StuG such as this served alongside Waffen SS troops in the cold months leading up to the end of World War II in Europe.
The kit comes packed in a standard Cyberhobby/Dragon cardboard box with very appealing color box art showing a profile view of a StuG III C/D wearing the markings included in the kit.
When I first opened the box, I was surprised at how empty the box looked when compared with some of Dragon’s recent kit offerings. The box contained only six sprues of parts for the StuG, four sprues for the figure set, two small frets of photo-etch, two bags of Magic Tracks, and the lower hull tub. As near as I can tell, other than the Magic Tracks, there are no new parts included in this kit.
The instructions come in the standard Orange Box reduced size on glossy paper. Despite the reduced size, the instructions are easy to read. The instructions indicate very few parts are not used in the construction of this vehicle. The build is divided into 12 steps, and the modeler is advised to read through them in advance as it will be required to drill some new holes, fill in others, and remove various other molded on features of the kit parts.
The instructions also provide a color painting and marking guide for both the vehicle and the figures on the final page. The colors are keyed to Gunze’s Aqueous Hobby Color and Mr. Colour lines, as well as Modelmaster’s enamel line of paints. The painting instructions for the StuG call for a base color of Dark Yellow/Dunkelgelb with a worn winter whitewash. As is also apparently a standard feature of Orange Box kits, there is a single marking option found in the box: StuG. Brig. 232, Samland, East Prussia, 1945. The small decal sheet is produced by Cartograf and, as one would expect, the quality of the markings is first rate.
The sprues from the StuG kit have aged well as there is no visible flash, ejector pin marks, or sink holes in locations that will be visible on the completed model, as long as the modeler closes the hatches. The kit does not include a metal or slide-molded single piece barrel. Instead, the modeler will have to be content with a traditional two-piece barrel or resort to aftermarket parts. The saukopft mantlet has barely noticeable casting texture. The separate fenders, while not scale thickness, or even molded with beveled edges to give that appearance, do have non-skid texture molded in. The Magic Tracks are “handed” with the dark gray set intended for the left side of the vehicle and the lighter gray set destined for the right (from the perspective of an occupant of the vehicle). The photo-etch frets contain parts for the engine air-intake screens and the legs for the antenna trough.
The figures come with all four figures on a single sprue. In my opinion, this is a very nice set in Dragon’s 1939-45 series. The heads, while not up to resin figure standards, are cleanly rendered with somewhat different expressions on each head. The uniforms are crisply molded with no visible flash and only moderately noticeable seam lines. There are two weapons sprues; one from 6002, German Combat Unit Ardennes 1944/45, and the second from 6070, German Fallschirmjagers, Crete 1941. The weapons include two KAR 98K rifles, two MP 40’s, an MG42, an MP44, a Gewehr 43 semi-automatic rifle, and a single panzerfaust. Finally, there are two sprues containing the parts for ammunition boxes that come from 6105, Wehrmacht Infantry, Barbarossa 1941.
All four figures are wearing steel helmets and are dressed for cold weather. All are wearing what I believe is the second pattern fur lined anorak (they appear to be pullovers rather than front opening) that came in a variety of colors including field gray, mouse gray, and a brown gray color. The fur lining also varied in color. According to the painting instructions, the figures are wearing a variety of pants, including reversible white/autumn pattern camouflage and reversible gray/white padded pants. In other words, the modeler has many options when painting this cold weather gear.