Sturmgeschütz III (Flamm)
It was decided on a conference in December 1942 that 10 StuG III should be fitted with flamethrowers. The flamethrowing-system "Schwade" was installed in 10 StuG which were at the Army Ordnance Office for repairs.
Nine of these were delivered in May, the last one in June 1943 and transported on 29th June 1943 by rail to "Panzertruppenschule I".
One of these StuGs catched fire and completely burnt out. It was sent back, repaired and handed over to "Panzetruppenschule I" again in September 1943.
It is doubtful if they ever saw front-action.
In January 1944 all 10 StuG were sent again to Army Ordnance Office where they were refitted with the 7.5cm StuK40 L/48 until April 1944.
Only one photo of a flamethrower on StuG III is known, which shows one on an Ausf.F/8.
Assault guns (StuG) were wide spread ... as flamethrowing assault gun it is quite unusual. Therefor I was delighted to see this conversion kit in 1999 from MR-Modellbau and so I bought it. The price of about 13,-Euro was good and I thought that there could be nothing wrong. But I got surprised when seeing the parts which were only a few, a redesigned barrel-bearing, a new flame-tube and nozzle. The parts are made of resin in good quality, no distorsion of air bubbles!
The instructions states the Dragon StuG III Ausf.F as base kit, but I took the StuG III Ausf.F/8 from Revell-Germany, because the only known photo shows also an Ausf.F/8! Besides the components of Dragon and Revell are similar and the Revell kit brings tons of spare parts which are not used and was cheaper than the Dragon kit. The quality of the parts is good, detaling could be better in places.
The instruction of the MR conversion kit is concisely but sufficient, while the instruction from the Revell kit is detailed but partly faulty and unprecise.
Beginning with the base kit from Revell ... the running gear with the torsion bars is already complete with the hull, so that you don't need annoying alignment. Only small parts like springs, final drives and tension springs need to be glued to the hull. The road wheels need their time with all that rubber painted neat. The back of the hull is nice detailed and builds without problems except the fact that part F35 in step 4 is really part E35.
The included Ostkette (east-track) is nice and rare for plastic single track links. But I used a normal 40cm track for this kit. Before installing the tracks you should paint the whole hull, but before that the markings of the escape hatches at the hull sides should be sanded down, what the instruction conceals.
The upper hull is done very quick so we come to the next step, the superstructure which makes no problems. With step 15 we need the conversion kit for the first time. We need to raise the the gun mounting (parts C7 and C8) by 3-4mm to make the flame-gun-tube fit correct. Before glueing any parts in the next step the new barrel-bearing from the conversion kit needs to be dry-fitted. Therefor the two raised walls left and right of the barrel bearing of the superstructure need to be cut down for perfect fitting. The new bearing needs now clean up, sanding and some putty to fit in the superstructure.
Besides the bearing must sanded down sloping on the right hand side, like you can see on the picture. I didn't sand it down to the bottom, but just to align the superstructure roof, because I had no sufficient dust protection at hand.
After that we can follow the instructions, but be careful with cutting a corner of part C23 in step 16, I was too fast and cut all of the marked area where only a little part should be removed. Better you put part E28 in to see what you need to remove. But with part E28 I wonder what should happen with the other corner that looks into the hole for E28, the instruction keeps silent. Either that corner or a part of E28 needs removal!
The additional armor on the front-side of the StuG can be applied but the rivets should be sanded down, because on the originaö-photo these armor plates were welded.
Before glueing the superstructure to the hull, the flame-gun-tube should be dry fitted to the gun mounting (I needed to enlarge the holes). Finishing the flame-gun-tube with the nozzle. The obligatory gun travel lock needs to be built sratch from plastic sheet, which is nothing for beginner! I put it folded down and made it from part I25 from Revell kit, 0.5 plastic sheet and some PE metal.
Finally upper and lower hull can be glued together which showed some little distorsion from not exact fitting! After that the whole vehicle can be painted and the tools can be placed like shown in the instructions. The gun-clearing rod should not be used.
The painting is very easy because the vehicles were painted simple sand-yellow and it is doubtful that they ever got camouflage painting. So I painted it complete with slightly modified Revell color number 88. The edges were drybrushed with brightened, metallic ochre. The flame-nozzle and the exhaust pipes were made sooty with dust of black pastel-chalk.
Finally the whole vehicle was washed with a mixture of yellow, brown and greyish pastel-chalks and spirit ... which also brings some used look to the vehicle.
For all StuG enthusiasts who alreay built all marks of the StuG is this an attractive conversion, but also others will have fun with this! The needed base kit of Dragon (the Revell kit is no longer available) is with over 30,-Euro a bit expensive.
The conversion kit of MR-Modellbau costs about 13,-Euro and is also not cheap for that what you get (three resin parts where the bearing needs modification and the travel lock which must built scratch), but that is a price-region which is not that bad!
The rating shows in the upper rows the Revell base kit, the lower show the conversion kit of MR-Modellbau.
|Price / value:
© 9/2001 Thomas Hartwig