German Assault Howitzer Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/2)

ESCI 1:72 Scale Vehicle Review

German Assault Howitzer Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf. G, 1:72 ESCI Model Kit 8328

Assault guns were originally designed to accompany the infantry, and provide direct fire support against soft targets. The turretless Sturmgeschütz fulfilled this role very well, it was much cheaper to build, and it had a lower silhouette than a tank mounting the same weapon. One answer to the increasing tank threat on the Eastern Front was to equip the Sturmgeschütz with a longer gun, capable of defeating enemy armour at acceptable ranges. The vehicle thereby adopted a second role, that of a mobile anti-tank platform.

In order to give the Sturmgeschütz battery more punch against enemy infantry, the unit was increased from six to 10 vehicles in late 1942, three of which could be Sturmhaubitze 42, mounting the 10.5 cm howitzer. The ESCI StuG III can be built as a StuH 42, using the alternate howitzer barrel supplied with the kit.

Contents

Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf. G and Commander

  • Type: Assault Howitzer
  • Length: 5.56 m (6.32 m overall)
  • Width: 2.95 m (3.41 m with Schürzen)
  • Height: 2.15 m
  • Weight: 24 500 kg
  • Speed: 40 km/h
  • Armament: 10.5 cm Stu.H. L/28 + MG
  • Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader
  • Deployment: 1942 – May 1945

Evaluation

Scale model with much detail. The model has 92 mm more track on the ground than the original, even though the track assembly uses only 90 track links instead of the 99 normally required. Apparently, the individual links are a little larger than they should be, completing the track with fewer links. Vehicle lenght, width with and without Schürzen, height, and track gauge are scaled correctly.

Weld seems, hinges, and armour plates are well defined. Hull and chassis fit together very nicely, no filling was required.

Tracks consist of plastic links, 23 parts per side, of which 19 are individual track links and the remaining 4 are larger track segments. Track sections No. 2 and No. 4 are too long for the vehicle, and the manual shows how they need to be shortened. Presumably, the track sprue in this kit comes from the ESCI kit of the Pz.Kpfw. IV, which requires a longer track. Unlike rubber track, the plastic track sections can be mounted on the vehicle without delay. In fact, it's important not to allow the drive sprocket to dry completely before putting the track on. Any misalignment of the sprocket halves will be noticed when the track sections are applied, and the problem can be corrected as long as the glue has not set.

It's not immediately apparent, but the numbers printed on the painting instructions indicate where the decals are to be placed. If the vehicle has been built following the instructions, it will be equipped with track skirts, hiding the intended decal positions 1 and 4. Place them on the second skirt panel from the front, the top of the Balkenkreuz (1) in line with the bolts, and the vehicle number (4) below it.

The kit is sold as a Sturmgeschütz III Ausführung G, because of the 7.5 cm Stu.K. L/48 gun supplied with it. The 10.5 cm Stu.H. L/28 is an alternate part, giving the modeller two variants in one kit. Sturmgeschütz batteries fielded six StuGs early in the war, and they were officially increased to 10 vehicles in late 1942, three of which could be StuH 42.

The rear wall of the crew compartment (91) has two antenna attachment points. One or both should be drilled open, and equipped with an antenna made from bristle.

Compatible with Hasegawa, Italeri, Revell, and CDC.

The machine gun barrel is not well detailed at all, it detracts from the quality of the kit. In addition, the machine gun is much too long, it scales out to 1400 mm, compared to 1230 mm for the original. A much more realistic weapon can be scrounged from ESCI's kit of the Sd.Kfz. 251 Schützen-Panzerwagen, or any of its variants. The rear machine gun on the APC is the squad automatic weapon, and it would be dismounted whenever the infantry exited the vehicle. If this machine gun is used to upgrade the Sturmhaubitze, the ammunition drums should be left off, and the folded bipod needs to be removed.

The bolts and nuts holding the armour plate in place are clearly visible. Unfortunately, they are not six-sided nuts, but round-headed and slotted screws.

The manual shows three jerrycans standing upright on the rear engine deck. There is no rack holding the cans in position, they will fall off as soon as the vehicle starts to move. There are several ways to fix this problem: Leave the cans off, construct a rack from narrow strips of paper or plastic card, or create a diorama around a stationary vehicle about to be refueled. In the latter case, hatches would be open, and crew members would be seen handling the jerrycans.

The crew figure has a large mould ejection mark on his lower back, damaging his belt. The hole can be fixed with some putty. The pose would have been nice, the man is holding a pair of binoculars in front of his chest. Unfortunately, this is impossible to reproduce using the injection moulding process, where undercutting is not feasible. As a result, the area between the figure's chest and the binoculars is completely filled in, and devoid of detail. The binoculars appear to be over 200 mm deep and there are no eyepieces on them. It may be possible to save the figure by adding eyepieces, and carving away some of the excess material in front of his chest. We have not seen the Sturmgeschütz crew produced by Milicast, but they might be an alternative in this case, even if they are 1:76 scale.

The assembly instructions do not show it, but part No. 19 is a track link holder. Spare track links can be inserted into it later. This part has two prominent mould ejection marks which should be scraped off or sanded.

Parts No. 91 and No. 20 constitute assembly J, which is later referred to as assembly K.

Mould ejection marks on the inside of the track skirts (89 and 92), on the jack (21), rear panel (90), and rear compartment wall (91) will be visible on the painted model, they need to be filled and sanded prior to assembly.

The muzzle brake is closed, it should to be drilled open for added realism.

Historical Employment

  • German Army, November 1942 – May 1945
  • Romanian Army, 1943–1945
  • Finnish Army, 1943–1959
    30 StuG III Ausf. G were bought in 1943, and another 29 in 1944. It is not known how many of them were converted to StuH 42.

Possible Conversions

  • StuG. III Ausführung F with 7.5 cm Stu.K. L/43, June 1942 – May 1945
  • StuG. III Ausführung G with 7.5 cm Stu.K. L/48, June 1942 – May 1945

Sturmhaubitze 42 was an important close support vehicle assigned to infantry divisions, providing direct HE fire against entrenched, and fortified enemy positions. The vehicle operated in mixed batteries alongside the StuG III Ausf. G, later designated StuG 40. Either vehicle can be built from this kit. With its large barrel, and track skirts attached, the StuH 42 looks very impressive. The vehicle offers enough unobstructed surface area for an attractive camouflage scheme. Wargamers will want a mixed StuG battery, plus one or two late war StuG 40 tank destroyer platoons.

ESCI Modelling

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