Sturmgeschütz III 0-Series

Kit #: W-003 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcastl(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

This in-the-box kit review covers a small scale model of the 0-Series Sturmgeschütz III, the prototype or experimental variant of the famous assault guns. From my references I understand there were five produced and being of mild steel were only used for crew training; they did not serve in combat to my knowledge. I find it interesting that this model is just included as an extra with a wargaming reference book; technically it is not sold as a model kit. The book states on the cover "Free collectable model kit inside".

We can tell a lot about a model from the box art: what we should get in the box after assembly. Starting at the top we see several well fed panzer crewmen; this looks to me like photos of war re-enactors photo-shopped onto the painting of the vehicle. The upper hull appears similar to the superstructure of the later StuG III Ausf. A and Ausf. B. On the starboard pannier is a grab handle that we can reproduce with brass wire on our model. On the fender we see the red tail light, fender braces, storage box, and vehicle jack next to the crewman's feet.

We see what looks to be a whip antenna on the port side which I have a problem with. German antennas were reported to be stiff hollow copper rods which matches the reference photos, not whip antennas such as used by the US. I understand that the horizontal wooden antenna trough seen here was not installed on this pre-production model or on the StuG III Ausf. A, but could have been added later in the life of the vehicle.

On the rear plate is a box with smoke candles and below are the two exhaust mufflers. That appears to be a lot of exhaust smoke for a gasoline engine.

The suspension is where things are interesting. This is not the six-roadwheel-with-torsion-bar suspension system we are used to with the StuG III Ausf. A through Ausf. G. This vehicle is built on the chassis of the Panzer III Ausf. B and has the same leaf spring suspension and eight roadwheels. The sprocket drive wheel at the front looks the same as that on the early short gun StuG. The rear idler wheel appears unique and not used on the other StuG variants.

Within the book we have a 4-view color painting of the vehicle showing the recommended color scheme of gray and the markings locations. At lower right is the water-slide decal sheet. The markings consist of two simple white Balkenkreuze for the side panniers, unit markings A and B for the front driver's plate, and another small marking that is supposed to go next to the driver's visor. The Balkenkreuz on the decal sheet differs from that on the painting in not having a black interior. Notice that the decal sheet item code number is IBG-WaW003: another clue that this World at War kit is produced by IBG Models.

I disagree with the portrayal of the roadwheel and return roller tires as black, with weathering and the scale-effect they should be dark gray, not black. Also, my references show the tools mounted on the fenders should not be black but the vehicle color and perhaps with natural wood handles.

This is a good overhead view of the engine deck which looks very different from that on the StuG Ausf. A and later variants. In the front view at the very bottom there is a direct gunsight opening set back behind and over the driver's position. The gunsight opening is modeled closed here, but we could cut it open.

Kit Parts
There is no parts diagram with the instructions. There is only one model per box. I counted 22 gray, injection molded styrene plastic parts on three sprues sealed within a plastic bag. No crew figures, etched brass nor cast resin parts are included. The one-piece lower hull appears slide molded allowing nice detail on the four hull sides. A notation on the box implies that the World at War (WaW) kit is made by IBG Models which would explain the sharp detail and good molding. I've not assembled this or another World At War model kit so cannot comment on the fit of the parts.

In this photo we see assembly similar to the Dragon and Trumpeter Sturmgeschütz models: a separate superstructure (part-S1) that is placed atop the upper hull (S7). At top center is the rod antenna (part S4) which is a little thick. At far right center is the front driver's armor plate (part S10) with the visor and two view holes, the same as we find on the later StuG variants. The driver's visor is modeled open. On the upper hull the tools are molded onto the fenders. Below is a small sprue with the vehicle jack and several small headlights (parts G1).

All the crew and gunsight hatches on the superstructure are molded closed but with careful work may be cut open and open hatches made with thin styrene card. The tools are molded to the fenders. We can see a small sinkhole dimple on the gun barrel (part S9).

Each of the two tracks and suspension pieces (parts J8 and J9) are molded as one piece with resulting lack of detail to the track and the road, idler and sprocket wheels. The wheels should be pairs with an open space between them for the track guide teeth. but they are molded as just single really thick wheels. What I would have preferred is if they molded just one half of the wheels to the track and mold the outer wheels separate so they can look more like separate wheels with a separation for the track guide teeth. The part quality looks very crisp and with no significant flash or sinkholes so these tracks are keeping the model from being a potential great display model. At upper right are the two exhaust mufflers (J6 and J7).

I like to compare things. The scan below compares the 1/72 StuG III Ausf. A upper hull made by Dragon at far left, the WaW 0-Series in center, and the Trumpeter StuG Ausf. B at far right.

Similarities in the upper hull and superstructure of the Ausf. A and the 0-Series include the same basic shape, similar layout of the roof hatches, panniers, placement of the tools on the fenders. The biggest differences are the longer hull for the WaW hull and a very different engine deck. The hatches and area in front of the WaW driver's position and the engine deck are longer accounting for the longer hull and suspension, and the brake access hatches are significantly larger in size as well. From my references this larger front deck matches the photos and vehicle plans but unfortunately I have not found any reliable measurements. In Doyle's vehicle plans the StuG 0-Series appears about 36 cm longer than the StuG Ausf.A.

Around the gun mount opening we see the lack of the vertical armor plate sticking up next to the driver's compartment. The driver's roof lacks the small stepped armor roof evident on the Ausf. A and Ausf. B; these steps deflected bullets from entering the gunsight opening. The weld seams for the armor plates should be scribed in. The WaW engine deck has open ventilation grates not present on production variants of the Sturmgeschütz.

At far right of this scan is the one-piece track and wheels compared to the one-piece track and roadwheel parts from the Dragon StuG III Ausf. A kit. Modell Trans Modelbau produces a replacement set in resin discussed at the end of this review.

On page 16 of the accompanying book, the kit instructions are the exploded view style with clear parts numbers. Both the gun barrel muzzle and the exhaust pipes are slide-molded open, so there is no need to drill them. With a sharp blade we should be able to open up one or two of the rectangular hatches, but then we will be stuck with building some interior fixtures.

Above is a page out of the history book showing one of the quality historical photos and the English and German narrative covering vehicle development and use. Looking at the photo we see the circular hatches on the bow plate which allowed maintenance of the brakes or transmission. On the hull mounting of the sprocket are three triangular braces and the tow attachments and headlights. Notice the small grab handles on the armored headlight covers. These are not the same headlights as included in this model kit.

Up on the driver's plate we see the armored driver's visor characteristic of the StuG, Pz III and the Pz IV. Above the visor are the two episcope holes for the driver when the armored visor is closed. In the center is the short 7.5-cm StuK 37 gun characteristic of the StuG Ausf. A through the Ausf. E. A noticeable difference between this prototype vehicle is the sloped driver's roof going up to the gunsight window left (our right) of the gun; on production StuGs this armored roof area had many steps that acted to deflect bullets from entering the gunsight opening.

This model is the only small scale model of this particular rare vehicle I have found, so it is a must for someone collecting small scale Sturmgeschütz models. The model is well done for what appears to be one geared toward the wargaming market. The one-piece wheels-track sets is a big weakness for the display modeler, but a plus for the wargamer.

Model Trans produces an aftermarket resin track set (MT72472) to replace the kit suspension that looks very nice. This set is for the World at War Pz. III Ausf.B and the StuG III 0-Serie kits. This track set could kick this model up to a great display model. My track set is still on order so I cannot comment further on it.


This model was purchased by the reviewer. No animals were hurt in the writing of this model review. This model and review is dairy, nut and gluten free.


Panzer Tracts No. 8 Sturmgeschuetz, Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle, (1999)

The World At War Book 3, Sturmgeschütz III 0 Serie, (2018)



World at War kits can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

Back to World at War Kit List  

Article Last Updated:
28 February 2020

Back to Home Page