Sturmgeschütz IV
Kit # 03101 Review by Rob Haelterman


Note: this kit was also released under the Matchbox label as N° 40180 1/72 or PK-180


1. Parts used in the construction of the model

•  Extratech EXV 72008 StuG IV (photo-etch)

•  Part P72-068 Pz Kpfw IV Track (photo-etch)

•  Esci 8023 Panzer IV H

•  Heavy Steel / Schatton Modellbau: 16 späte Laufrollen und 8 Stahlstützrollen

•  MicroRealistixx 72102 7.5 cm KWK L/48 (Pz IV)

•  MR 7220 Tools & accessories for German Tanks


2. History

I am not going to give a complete history of the StuG IV. Interested readers can find them in [1,2,5,11], but I'll just give a very brief summary of what is an early or late StuG IV. This is already quite complicated as the superstructure evolved with the StuG III and the chassis with the Pz.KpfW. IV.

Early (= December 1943):

Built on an Ausf. H chassis (mid version):

•  steel return rollers (apparently no StuG IVs were built with the rubber return rollers)

•  a very small number with the early wheel hubs for the road-wheels

•  horizontal exhaust

•  welded idler

•  MG with a foldable shield

•  forward/backward opening hatches for the loader

•  Zimmerit


Late ( = June 1944):

Built on an Ausf. J chassis (mid version):

•  Added frontal armour. Field mods were bolted, others welded.

•  June ‘44: Slightly different position of driver's periscopes

•  July '44 (partially): travel lock for the gun

•  August '44 (partially): vertical exhaust (Flammentöter)

•  August '44 (partially): hinged, sloped armour over frontal plate, concrete armour over driver's position.

•  September '44 (partially): Thoma Schürzen (wire mesh)

•  September '44 : no Zimmerit

•  November '44: rain guard for periscopes

•  December '44: extended hull sides with integral tow holes.

•  December '44 (partially): Three return rollers

•  Some vehicles had a firing mechanism for S-Minen on the superstructure

•  MG with integral armour

•  Laterally opening hatches for the loader.

•  Very late models had a coaxial MG

•  Pilzen


3.  The kit

This kit was originally released under the Matchbox label, but – strangely for this brand – in 1/72. It is now in the Revell catalogue, but unfortunately it could frighten a first time buyer away from their Pz.Kpfw. IV kits which are new tooling (and lovely). One could easily say that it is the worst kit that Revell has to offer on 1/72. (I've heard the same remarks about their Sherman , however.)

It represents an early vehicle with 4 return rollers, horizontal muffler and old loader's hatches.

According to [11] it scales out to 1/70.2 in length and width, but the superstructure is far too low.


•  A StuG IV is a low vehicle, but not this low ! It is almost impossible to rectify, unless you graft a better StuG III superstructure on to it. I left it as such.

•  The barrel is far too fat. I replaced it with MicroRealistixx 72102 7.5 cm KWK L/48 (Pz IV). Still, it has to be shortened by 4.5mm if you use the Topfblende (Saukopf if you wish) in the kit. The easiest is to push the barrel deeper in.

•  The Topfblende had a very prominent gap between it and the fighting compartment. (how would it move otherwise ?) This is not the case in the kit, so a 2.5mm spacer has to be provided. To make it easier on myself, a (rarely seen) canvas cover was later added from putty.

•  According to [17] the Topfblende is too long, as it should not have any overhang with respect to the glacis; according to [4] it is correct.

•  Both [4] and [17] show that the front end of the driver's compartment (incl. added armor) should not overlap the glacis plate; in the kit it does.

•  The gunner's periscope is built from scratch, as is the hinge next to it.

•  The concrete deflector in front of the commander's copula was raised with putty and a hinge added to the small sub-hatch.

•  At the rear of the fighting compartment 2 antenna-bases were added (I wanted a command vehicle), and the cover plate for the ventilation unit.

•  The rack for the spare wheels comes from Eduard, but needs to be positioned farther to the rear than in the manual. One road-wheel and jerry-can (from Esci) were put into it, and a transversal bar (sprue) added.

•  The tools are moulded integrally with the fenders, but are not too bad. C-hooks from MR were added to the right fender, together with an aluminium strip to hold them in place. The fire extinguisher and jack came from the Esci kit.

•  On top of the glacis the attachments for spare tracks were added from the Extratech set, but the tracks themselves were not fitted.

•  On the driver's roof, you find a rail. Some vehicles had them (but apparently sloping the other way). I cut it away.

•  The driver's periscopes come from Extratech.

•  The Bosch headlight was replaced with a smaller one from Esci and an electrical wire added. Alternatively you could simply shorten the support to make its size less apparent.

•  The bar to hold the spare tracks on the bow plate is missing. Again I raided the Esci kit.

•  On the rear plate there is a wooden jack block. I haven't found this in pictures, so I cut it away. Perhaps Matchbox got confused with the muffler of the auxiliary engine in the PzIV ?

•  The exhaust is not mentioned in the manual, but is in the kit. The supports, however are not.

•  The engine compartment is quite nice. The armoured shutters are moulded onto the fenders. I left them this way.

•  A small inspection hatch and two plates with a small pin (?) need to be added to the rear plate.

•  The rear (movable) fenders were detailed with an extra triangular plate at the inside and a spring from sprue.

•  A taillight and convoy light were added to the rear as well (scratch).

•  I did not place the Schürzen that Eduard provided, only their attachments. That, in itself, is not for the faint of heart, as they come into 3 pieces that have to be bent and glued to medical precision. I did not manage to fit the PE rail, so I recovered the part from Matchbox. The teeth were thinned down and a small peg added to the front. The small PE hooks were added to the fenders. These fenders were thinned down at their edges. If you really want, PE sets exist for them.



•  The tracks are hard plastic. Not too bad on the outside, but no detail on the inside. They were replaced with Part P72-068 Pz Kpfw IV Track (photo-etch).

•  The road-wheels are horrible. They are double-wide wheels, without a groove for the (non-existent) track horns. On top, they look vaguely like steel wheels, which the StuG didn't carry. I first replaced them with road-wheels (again) from the old Esci Pz IV, only to notice later on that the StuG IV very, very rarely had the old style hubs. Ultimately they were replaced by Heavy Steel / Schatton Modellbau: 16 späte Laufrollen und 8 Stahlstützrollen

•  The drive sprocket is 0.8mm too high, giving it a “Panther look”. Cut off and positioned lower.

•  There is no groove in the return rollers. Well, then again, the tracks have no teeth ! Replaced with the Heavy Steel / Schatton Modellbau parts

•  The rearmost return roller should be positioned slightly lower.

•  The fuel filler caps need to be added to the left side of the hull. I took them from my derelict Esci PzIV. I only noticed it very late in the build. That's why picture 4 shows a nearly completed model, where I added the first cap.

•  Matchbox gives a drive wheel with 14 teeth (Esci 16 and the Revell kits 17) In reality there were 20. It took me a couple of hours to recrufy. I am not very happy with the result.

•  Behind the idler there should be a tow hook, which I duly forgot.



•  The fit between the lower hull and the superstructure is so-so.

•  There is no interior. I added some from scratch

•  The hatches are too thick and lack detail, but can be opened. Hatch handles from brass wire were added and some other detail from plastic sheet.

•  The decals are way out of register and don't even adhere to the surface.

•  As almost all early StuG IV carried Zimmerit, I had no choice but to add it. Luckily the pattern for this vehicle is quite simple to engrave.

Strangely enough a number of these points are correctly shown in the manual, which is quite clear. On the drawing based on the kit manual you see what was replaced, added or altered to the model.

4.  Conclusion

Well into the construction of this model, Modell Trans came out with their conversion set. This was not very encouraging for this project. Worse, while writing this article, Dragon released their kits, which caused a very loud “D'oh !”. These kits are not only better, but also a lot cheaper, looking at the cost of all the parts I added to this model and the psycho-therapist I had to pay afterwards.

Still, my suffering was rewarded with a silver medal at the 2004 Belgian Nationals, showing that a resonable purse can be made out of this pig's ear.

In summary, this kit is highly recommended for the masochistic modeller !


Note with respect to the picture of the finished model.

As you can tell, the antennas are not very realistic, and they were changed to a slightly thicker length of stretched sprue after these pictures were taken. I have switched to clear styrene sprue for this (from aircraft kits, you don't find these often in AFV kits), as these tend to be more rigid, and do not bend over time. The good old piano wire will do as well of course.


5.  References

[1] Sturmgeschütz III & IV 1942-45 , New Vanguard 37, H Doyle et al. , Osprey

[2] S turmgeschütz & Panzerjäger 1393-45 , New Vanguard 34, B Perrett, Osprey

[3] Pleins feux sur un StuG , Steelmasters N°48, Histoire & Colelcitons

[4] Der Panzerkampfwagen IV und seine Abarten, Militärfahrzeuge 5, W.J. Spielberger, Motorbuch

[5] Sturmgeschütze , Militärfahrzeuge 13, W.J. Spielberger, Motorbuch

[6] PzKpfw IV In Action , Armor N° 12, Bruce Culver, Squadron/Signal Publications

[7] PzKpfw IV , Vanguard 18, Osprey

[8] PzKpfw IV , New Vanguard 28, Osprey

[9] PzKpfw IV Ausf G,H, J, New Vanguard 39, Osprey

[10] Panzerkampfwagen IV , Panzer Tracts 4, Darlington

[11] Sturmgeschutz – s.Pak to Sturmmoerser , Panzer Tracts 8, T.J. Lentz, Darlington

[12] Panzer IV , Modelling Manual 21, Compendium

[13] Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G WalkAround , T. Cockle, Squadron/Signal

[14] Myssing-Lynx website ( ).

[15] On the Way website ( ). For the sprues of this kit:

[16]  Personal conversation with Gert ten Brink (Coelian Models)

[17]  Achtung Panzer 5: Sturmgeschütz III, Stug.IV & SIG.33, Dai Nippon Kaiga


Back to Revell List Back to Home Page
Article Last Updated: 28 January 2010 Back to Reviews page