Stug B

Tamiya 1/48 Stug B build Part 1 by Russell Eden

As I mentioned on my last write up I was going to do a stage-by-stage report on my next build.

Well here’s

part 1.

I’ve been planning a diorama for a while now. I decided on a Stug B being reloaded from an sdkfz 252, with Tamiya figures and a base made by me. A tall order, It will hopefully be ready by the 2009 annual competition.

For Xmas I asked Santa for the 1/48 scale Tamiya Stug B and sdkfz 250 half-track. As I’d been a good boy all year, honest, I got what I asked for – superb.

I started the Stug over Xmas. Actually I lie, I got the first set of stowage for the Stug in November and had finished painting by it the annual competition. I almost entered it into the unfinished section – `stowage awaiting for tank’, but I forgot to bring it – Doh!

I also ordered the etch set, some more decals and a metal barrel before Xmas too!

As this was the third panzer III based vehicle I was going to build you’d think it would have been plain sailing, well, this is me we’re talking about!

On to the hull, Tamiya use metal hulls on most of their 1/48-scale kits. I like this although it means you have to superglue everything to it. Not a problem. The wheels went on fine with none of my fingers being left attached to the hull. Next, the tracks which were OK too, although I ended up using a single link from one of my old kits instead of the double link supplied on the right hand side. Which is funny as I used the double on the left hand side – maybe it’s just me?!

As with most Tamiya kits the build up is easy and clear, unlike the etch kit. Luckily I have now had enough experience with Panzer III etch kits and have a lot of reference material so it’s not usually a problem.

The Stug was going to be even more battered than my DAK Panzer III. After going through my books I decided to chop off a big part of the front mudguard (after landmine damage the track and wheels were replaced and the mudguards were usually cut off as they weren’t too instrumental to the performance of the tank).

The rear engine deck was shaved so I could fit my rear stowage and the other mudguards were removed as these were going to be replaced by etch ones.

The build-up went quite smoothly with the etch mudguards going on relatively easily, for a change.

The left hand rear mudguard was left down in position; the right hand rear was removed with just the hinge fitted (part of the plate was also slightly battered and bend down); the right hand front being battered and laid flat on the mudguard and the left hand front not fitted as the mudguard was removed quite far back. This layout shows the numerous details of the etch kit, let us hope the details survive my painting and weathering.

Nothing lost on my rug, yet…

The gun mount was fitted next, along with the top superstructure which went smoothly. I ordered a metal gun barrel as I like them and there’s no mould line to remove, plus you can just about see some rifling at the end of this one.

The Stug was looking more or less complete by this point , the build was going well and quite quickly.

Next, the tools and other such delights, more fun with etch time. The front headlight covers were replaced with etch, one left shut and one open showing the headlight. I used the un-used right hand mudguard light here in this scale it looks ok. These covers have added wing nuts, which being about 1mm long are somewhat fiddly to mount, ping, and the rug eats another piece of etch, as it did!

The shovel was next for etch, I broke off the front of the plastic one and slotted it into the etch cover and glued the mounting brackets on, this was really fiddly and I lost the end stop to my rug. I made another one from a spare bracket. Tip : If it starts to get frustrating , walk off, have a cuppa then go back to it, before you lob the model across the room – modelling should be fun, not a chore!

My major problem with mounting the etch on the mudguards was the texture, you really need to flatten off the mudguards where you mount the etch and without the worlds smallest dremel this is nearly impossible. This results in an excess of superglue used to make the part secure, this can look messy unfortunately and if it goes on it the wrong place the part is a pain to remove.

Still, once in place they look better than the kit ones. As ever I use only the etch parts I feel I can utilise with my abilities and that will look ok on the kit. I have loads left over from over kits, which is handy when the rug monster eats the occasional bit!

My only major disaster was when I was making the etch struts for the raised toolbox, the bend went in the wrong place and when I tried to rectify this, the etch parts snapped and wasn’t salvageable. Bugger. By then it was too late to use the toolbox as originally intended as I’d chopped the legs off. Oops. What to do next? A moment of inspiration and I chopped off the other toolbox of leaving a nice hole in the mudguard – not pretty but perfect for mounting the jerry can rack from my stowage selection.

Next, the hatches, I was leaving them open so I could have a couple of figures in the tank, one loading shells and the other? Well, I’m not sure yet but I’ll have him doing something. The etch kit included hatch detail which was handy. The Stug has no interior and I could not afford or find the Verlinden set so hopefully the figures will obscure the lack interior.

The grills and rail were fitted to the rear of the Stug next, a bit fiddly as the diagrams weren’t very good but lots of reference photos helped and I think I got it in the right place! I had a resin early model fire extinguisher with etch in my spares box so I added that instead of the kit one.

The taillight brackets were replaced with etch next and I think that’s about it. Apart from the front stowage which is on back order. Going to have to wait for that then. The Stug was on hold until that arrived.

part 2

After completing the basic build of the Stug I couldn’t wait for the front stowage to arrive so I thought I’d get on and paint it the kit, I can paint and fit the stowage at a later date. As I’d already painted the rear stowage as a separate item and this worked well as a compromise.

A damaged Stug on the move – my inspiration.

The model was given a clean and a couple of coats of primer. Once dry I sprayed the Stug using Tamiya German Grey. A couple of coats of this and the Stug was left to dry.

I then gave it my usual coat of clear varnish in preparation for the ink-wash. This was a BIG mistake, as I was about to find out. I had previously purchased a MIG dark filter to use as a wash. This didn’t go on very well over the varnish and refused to dry, even after 2 days. I re-read the instructions and I quote “use directly over acrylic paint”, no mention of clear varnish, bugger, that was my problem. I’ll try and get it right on my half-track. I eventually gave up waiting for it to dry and gave it a coat of matt-cote to seal it in. Applied very quickly to stop it streaking the filter, it almost worked! OK, not a major disaster. It dried OK-ish.

I painted the rubber on the road wheels black at this point and gave the whole thing a dry brush of light grey to bring out the detail.

The decals were fitted next, I used the Tamiya side crosses and from the Peddington Stug Batterie set #1 I used the shields of Stug Batterie 667. I chose 667 as I liked the insignia and they had one of the greatest Stug aces of the war, Hugo Primozic. Primozic was credited with 68 kills, although the number is thought to be much higher, including 24 kills in one day on the Eastern Front.

Stug’s were used as infantry support early in the war and were not part of the panzer divisions, instead they were part of the artillery and each battery had its own insignia. Later in the war they were used in increasing numbers as tank destroyers attached to the panzer divisions, as they were cheaper and easier to build than tanks, but that’s another story.

The rear cross came in two halves for the raised rear area of the Stug, these reacted with Microsol and melted, instead of forming over the raised areas; Ho hum. I removed them and found an old 1/72 scale white cross which fitted perfectly on a flat part of the rear end. Each unit usually applied its own markings and from the photos I have seen, almost anything goes, so this wasn’t a huge problem.

The decals were given a thinned dark wash to dull them and a coat of matt-cote to seal them.

I fitted what stowage I had available next:

  • A crate under the left hand open hatch
  • The painted rear stowage with an added roll behind it
  • The jerry can rack as mentioned last issue, with a Zeltbaln in front to hide the remaining toolkit holes (see my previous cock-up!).
Stug in the mud – note the polished raised area of the tracks, and the stowage.

The tracks were painted next, another thing that is open to interpretation. From photos I have the colour varies hugely. I have two really nice pics of a Stug on the Eastern front (see below) it may be in the mud but the tracks are highly polished due to wear and tear. I thought I’d emulate this. The tracks were painted a dark mix of panzer grey, black and rust, given a wash of the dark filter and then dry-brushed with silver.

After this I added a few extra bits of stowage, an mg34, water bottle and an upturned helmet with a bottle of wine in it.

I painted what interior could be seen `German Interior White’, or cream for those without the correct paint! A couple of scuffs using a 6b pencil were added for good measure. I then went over the tank exterior scuffing areas that would be battered to a shine.

Now I await the front stowage and a couple of spare wheels and jerry cans, before I declare the project complete, hopefully I will have photos of the completed Stug next month..

Part 3

I last looked at the Stug a month ago. I was still waiting for the front stowage to arrive. It did, eventually. During this time I got on with the figures. After painting several and working out where they were going on the base I came to the conclusion that they were under scale ( Big time). A Stug mudguard should come halfway up a man’s chest, unfortunately it came to the necks on the Tamiya figures. Most people probably wouldn’t notice but I would and not being happy about it, I scrapped them. A bit of a set back I will admit.

After going on line looking at 48th scale figures I could find none loading shells so the whole original concept of having the Stug being reloaded was shelved.

The front Stowage arrived, was painted and attached to the Stug. I found some 1/72 etch chain and ran it through the tracks on the front to show how it was held in place – fitting stowage is ok but needs to be mounted realistically. Two cut down twigs were mounted on top to hide a moulding error where the rope didn’t come out.

I have lots of wooden bases for the 48th scale tanks that I will be building. I choose to use one of these and planned to have the Stug driving across the Russian Steppe with crew in the two open hatches. After a bit of browsing I came across a set of Squad48 Panzer IV crew that looked the part. I ordered these and got on with the base.

The base is sculpted using filler, laid thinner than the jeep diorama (see the August edition of the Romsey Modeller) to avoid cracking. I waited over an hour for it to set, enough to use a bit of track pressed into it to get some decent track marked in the mud. Whilst it was setting I used some of the long grass that Paul Adams loaned me to get some grass tufts – this stuff is a nightmare to use, and since then have found a much easier way of tufting – more on that later.

With the base sculpted I painted it a base colour of brown and glued the Stug in place. On one of my walks in the woods after work I came across some tiny ferns, which looked perfect 48th scale. With my pockets full of twigs and ferns I headed off to decorate my base. I used one twig and a selection of the ferns but it still looked bare. Onto the net again then. I eventually found some grass tufts for railways. These are stunning and so easy to use – check out – http://www.internationalmodels.net/acatalog/Silflor_Tufts.html

With these glued in place I gave the base and Stug several coats of mud with MIG pigments. I lost a lot of the detail on the Stug but it looks better for a splattering of mud.
The crew were resin so after trimming any casting blocks and flash off were given a wash and a coat of primer. They were painted in Field Grey – Panzer crews wore black, Stug crews wore grey as they were attached to artillery divisions. After painting the flesh tones and eventually getting the eyes right they looked pretty good. I called them Stroppy & Pointy, for obvious reasons!

With them glued in place with a couple of extra bits of stowage the Stug was complete – not quite how I expected but a good result nether the less.

I have a 48th scale M10 as my next project, after I’ve done my Humvee & Skyline.
No rest for the avid modeller….

Photos curtsey of Paul Adams

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