The Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV) (Sd.Kfz. 167), was a World War II German assault gun variant of the Panzer IV used in the latter part of the war. It was identical in role and concept to the highly successful StuG III assault gun variant of the Panzer III. Both StuG models were given an exclusively tank destroyer role in German formations and tactical planning in the last two years of the war, greatly augmenting the capability of the dwindling tank force available to the German army on the Eastern and Western fronts.
From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls. While the number is smaller than the 10,000+ StuG III, the StuG IV supplemented and fought along with StuG III during 1944–45, when they were most needed.
The instructions are provided in two fold out style manuals. The first manual covers the basic assembly of the hull and running gear in thirteen steps. Each step is shown as an exploded, line drawing view. Part numbers and paint colors when appropriate are noted. Manual 2 covers the exterior details following the same format as shown in the first manual. The second manual also includes four color views of the four vehicles than can be build from this kit. Three of the vehicles are painted with the three color camouflage schemes seen in Europe, while the fourth vehicle is Dunkelgelb.
All four vehicles have zimmerit coating applied, however the kit parts do not. Page 12 of the instructions offer up the method for applying zimmerit using putty.
The instructions also includes information for the various brands of modeling paints that will meet the colors noted. Page 16 has an extensive list of parts not to be used in the build, as well as the sprue layouts. The instructions are some of the best I have seen for clarity and detail.
The kit is molded in tan styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus the upper hull shell. New-tooled parts to render the StuG IV. Multi-part lower hull with surface details. Hull uses overlays for specific details of the version represented in the kit. Detailed suspension and roadwheels. Vinyl tracks are the rubber band typr that require ends joining with super glue. Crew hatches are positionable, detailed stowage and tools on hull, and the MG mount with shield on commander's hatch.
The Hull Tub
The hull tub is constructed from a bottom pan, two interior bulkheads, the rear panel and two sides. The instructions show the sequence of parts installation one through 3, which I had inadvertantly neglected to follow, but the assembly resulted with no issues. Everything fit just fine none-the-less. The two side have several slightly raised ejector pin marks that I removed even though the sides would be covered with zimmerit. Once assembled and glued the assembly is a very sturdy foundation for the rest of the build.
The road wheels consist of three parts and go together without issue, as do the return rollers, drive sprockets and rear idlers. The only issue I had here were the tracks. The instructions call for super glue to bond the tracks' ends together. I tried two different kinds of super glue and there was no bonding of the ends whatsoever.
There were no significant issues with the construct of the casement, other than the two side plates, parts B2 and B3 each had four ejector pin marks that required filling and sanding. In step 14 the driver's hatch is shown fitted in place. The hinges on the outboard side conflict with the hinge detail molded onto the hatch itself and must be trimmed in order for the hatch to fit in a closed position. Be careful here as the hatch can easily slip into the open cavity below. I did it and had a difficult time retrieving the small part.
The spare road wheel rack consists of four parts, not including the road wheels. The two side have three ejector pin marks on the interior surface that I filled just to be on the safe side.
The tools and jack were placed as shown on the instructions. Are are nicely represented.
All the vehicles depicted in the instructions have zimmerit applied to the vertical surfaces. l have used premanufacturered zimmerit (resin and brass) in the past, but had never scratch applied it before. Going to You Tube I found several different methods for this surfacing ranging from easy to difficult and time-consuming applicatiions. I choose what I saw as an "easy" application method.
I would recomend the use of an acrylic putty such as Perfect Plastic Putty for this, using the Tamiya zimmerit rakes for the texture. Practice, practice and practice some more.
I planned to paint the model in the three color camouflage scheme using Tamiya acrylic paints. First, I primed the surfaces not covered with zimmerit with Tamiya dark brown acrylic. This was allowed to cure for 48 hours.
The kit's tracks are the vinyl, band type that require superglue to fixed the two ends together. I could not get the two ends to adhere and did not attempt to finish the model with these items. The kit track detail is a bit soft in my opinion, but if the superglue did bond the ends the tracks would suffice for this build.
I used a spare set of Dragon Magic Links for this build. I first assembled a short section of track to confirm the fit of the kit sprocket with the individual links and found they fit. We were off to the races!
Decals are provided on a small sheet and have a glossy surface appearance. Color profiles and decals for four subjects are included:
- 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division 'Goetz von Berlichingen', Normandy, 1944.
- 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, Eastern Front, 1944 .
- 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, Greece, 1944.
- Sturmgeschutz Brigade, Kurland, 1945, 'Elabeth'.
The decals were dipped in warm water and set on a wet sponge for a few minutes to loosened from the backer paper. Care is required to place the decals as even the smaller ones had a tendency to fold over themselves. Once on the wet surface they could be adjusted for proper placement. Several applications of decal solvent was required to get the decals to conform to the zimmerit surface. I saw no serious silvering of the decals.
This is a great kit for any fan of World War II German armor. The kit is nicely detailed and is not overly complex as some other manufacturer's kits that are currently available. The instructions are clear and are laid out in a logical sequence. If you are looking for a somewhat "easy" build this is the kit for you.
However, I felt the vinyl tracks are the weak part of the kit. I could not get the super glue to hold the ends together. I would suggest cleaning the mating surfaces of the track ends with alcohol or some other gentle solvent to determine if this improves the bonding effect of the superglue. If that does not work individual track links are a possible alternative.
I wish to thank MRC Academy and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build and review this kit. Overall I would say the Academy did a more than acceptable job on this kit. I recommend this kit for any fan of German World War II armor. It will make a great addition to any collection.