Kit # MV004 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcastl(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

This cast resin and etched brass model kit, I will argue, is one of the worst resin model kits produced. This is one of Planet Models first resin kits and unfortunately is based on the early Hasegawa Tiger 1 model kit no. 31136/MT36 with steel roadwheels. Unfortunately, the copied steel rimmed roadwheels come with a resin copy of the original Hasegawa torsion bar suspension from their Tiger model kit 31108/MT8. The torsion bar suspension part and the wheels just do not work well together. At the time this kit was released this was the only 1/72 scale Sturmtiger model based on the only 1/72 plastic Tiger 1 model kit at the time.

The quality of the resin casting and the etched brass parts are very good just like other resin models from Planet Models. The problem lies with the base kit from Hasegawa that they used to build upon. It appears that the hull sides, engine deck, suspension are derived from the Hasegawa Tiger 1 model. Planet Models fashioned the casemate upper hull and the 38-mm rocket launcher barrel. There is a nice etched brass fret included but no decal markings.

I understand that these Sturmmörser were based on rebuilt Tiger 1 tanks and often had Zimmerit coating on the lower hull, here replicated with Tamiya model putty. The kit’s sprocket wheels should be open spoke wheels not as portrayed here. The two sprocket wheel halves were difficult to line up straight using the quick curing super glue.

The Sturmtiger was armed with a 38-cm rocket launcher that breach-loaded from the interior; no it was not a muzzle loader as one of my references claims. There were rocket exhaust vent holes around the end of the barrel muzzle (see reference photos). With a small pin drill, make these holes as best you can.

The kit instructions are competently done. Some tips on working with the band tracks would be helpful. I know of one modeler who tried to bend the cold stiff tracks around the wheels and the track broke.

Notice the sequence and placement of the roadwheels starting behind the sprocket. Planet and Hasegawa, in Step-2 and Step-3, would have us put the outer roadwheels immediately behind the sprocket on axle-1. The first outer roadwheel however in Step-5 is on axle-2, which is where it should be. This confusion and contradiction are caused by Hasegawa using the same lower hull side with the axles from their first Tiger release (with rubber tired roadwheels) in their later kit with the steel tired roadwheels. The later Tiger uses fewer roadwheels. I recall building the Hasegawa steel tired Tiger 1 years ago and having to do major surgery to get the axles and wheels correct.

Not following assembly instructions this is how it came out, not completely accurate but more accurate.

Here on the starboard side the stiff plastic tracks are way too long and have to be cut. The kit track only vaguely resembles the track used by the Tiger I tank. The track is supposed to have two rows of guide teeth but has only one. The lack of correct track detail precludes the extra length from being used for spare track links. In order to hold shape around the wheels and not break the track had to be immersed in hot water and bent around the wheels till the track cooled and held the shape. The only way to connect the track ends and affix the track to the wheels is with a special glue with a special activator solution. I used the two-part Loctite’s Plastic Bonding System.

Several of the resin roadwheels were broken when removing them from the pour blocks. Many of the inner roadwheels I left off as they cannot be seen after assembly. Some replacement track stolen from a Dragon or Trumpeter Tiger kit would be an improvement, but if we are going to do that, then we also can replace the roadwheels and sprocket wheels. But that is putting a lot of money into a kit when we can buy the (in my opinion) much superior Dragon or Trumpeter Sturmtiger model.

Here on the port side I used a track taken from a Dragon Tiger I model kit. This track is more accurately detailed, more flexible and glues down with regular super glue to the wheels: a significant improvement over the Planet kit track. I have been mixing tracks a lot with my models lately because I like to compare the tracks that the comes with the kit with how it could be better, more accurate, just by turning the vehicle 180 degrees. Do not do this for a model built to enter into a model show contest though.

In the photos we can just make out the exhaust ports drilled around the muzzle. On the casemate sides are hooks for hanging spare tracks. Pistol ports are added to the port and starboard side. A tow cable is hanging from the bow to represent a failed attempt to retrieve an abandoned vehicle. Here is another view of the kit tracks supplied by Planet Models.

Wire grab handles were fabricated for the rear hatch and roof hatches. The large hinge on the rear hatch was rebuilt. The jack at right was taken from the extra parts box and the jack block at left was scratchbuilt. The brass muffler guard needs some trimming and bolt detail.

The model was finished in a three-color camouflage as portrayed in the instructions and in several historical photos. None of the wartime photos show Sturmtigers in the field to have crosses or unit markings so I did not add any to the model.

I am usually pretty forgiving when reviewing a model kit but this one I recommend passing up unless you wish a challenge. I bought one of these 20 years ago when it was the only Sturmtiger available in 1/72 and soon after got another as a gift. To spread the joy, I gifted one to a friend. He mailed it back! To be fully honest, the upper hull is not bad, and casting quality is very good. The suspension and tracks are very poor. I do not believe that this resin model kit is produced anymore but can likely be found in collections and eBay type sites, so if you wish to buy my extra kit please contact me.

Kit purchased by the reviewer.


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Article Last Updated: 08 December 2020

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