by: Jon [ ]
Originally published on:
The Sturmpanzer (also known as Sturmpanzer 43 or Sd.Kfz. 166) was a German armoured infantry support gun based on the Panzer IV chassis used in the Second World War. It was used at the Battles of Kursk, Anzio, Normandy, and was deployed in the Warsaw Uprising. It was fitted with a massive 15cm howitzer. The Brummbar was designed for clearing minefields by blast effect, clearing barbed wire obstacles, demolishing enemy strong points like bunkers or machine gun posts in buildings and for killing infantry unfortunate enough to be caught out in the open.
The kit I received was an advanced sample and the box had no artwork and was devoid of any markings. Full production kits will feature typical Tamiya box art. The sprues came individually packaged with a small sheet of decals with markings for two vehicles (both eastern front vehicles), small and large poly caps for the running gear, and standard Tamiya one piece tracks. A fine armoured texture has been added to the superstructure, a nice touch by Tamiya. No photo etch or zimmerit coating is included in the kit.
The instructions are clear and easy to understand with a few call outs for locator pin holes. The sprues are moulded in a light grey plastic, somewhat of a departure from Tamiya’s coloured sprue scheme. Parts are moulded cleanly with virtually no mould seams to clean. Ejector pin marks can be found on the larger pieces however Tamiya did a good job at placing them on the inside of the parts or in an area that won't be seen once assembled. Almost all of the parts on the sprues are used. Take your time when removing some of the smaller or more delicate parts as there are no spares/extras.
Anyone who has built a Tamiya kit knows that all you have to do is shake the box and the kit falls together, as the old adage goes. The Brummbar is no exception. The instructions start off with the lower plate assembly and progress in a logical manner. Double check the fit of parts C 64 and C63 to the rear plate. I rushed mine and was left with a small gap between the rear plate and the lower hull. Thankfully the gap isn't noticeable once the idler wheels are on. The suspension arms are crisply moulded as one piece units and cannot be articulated. Diorama aficionados will be disappointed. Two different types of road wheels are included, standard rubber rimmed and steel rimmed. Both types will be used in the build. I went ahead and glued the tracks together and left them overnight to set before fitting them to the road wheels.
Construction of the upper hull went without issue. Pay attention to the instructions as there are several locator hole callouts that must be drilled in these steps. Attaching the upper and lower hull is a somewhat tricky fit, having to angle and slide the rear of the upper hull around the exhaust pipe. I had a small gap upfront where the upper and lower hull meet. Not sure what caused it, but take your time dry fitting these parts.
Assembly of the superstructure starts off with the 150mm cannon. Rifling grooves are included for the cannon. A nice touch as the interior of the cannon will be visible once assembled. Sadly, no other interior details are provided even though some of the hatches can be posed open. The rest of the superstructure simply fell into place without issue. You may want to leave some pieces off until after painting as the fit of the parts will leave little to no clearance.
The instructions have you finish up assembly with the side skirts. There are a number of small ejector pin marks that will need to be cleaned up. Tamiya has moulded raised part numbers on the inside of the skirts in order to help with placement. These letters/numbers will be visible once fitted so you may want to sand them down as well. Take note of which skirts goes on each side and the order they are to be fitted if you decide to sand them smooth. The skirts fit from back to front with a small overlap of the next panel.
Tamiya’s Brummbar release continues their lineage of high quality kits and ease of build ability. Overall detail is good with no major fit issues. This model was a pleasure to build and can be assembled in a weekend. Detail can be improved via aftermarket as with most kits but those looking for a simple, stress-free out of the box build will not be disappointed.