I have gotta admit – this has been a VERY long term project. Like all others, it started with some enthusiasm, but after some early progress, interest waned and the whole tray of StuGs sat on the shelf gathering dust.
Assembly and painting began back in April 2013 (Yes – over 7 years ago), but the three boxes of PSC StuGs as well as six Battlefront plastic StuG sprues which had been sitting on my shelf for about two years prior to this.
It was a project that I was really not looking forward to. I am not an “Army Painter”, I work much better with smaller units and build up an army over time.
Up to this stage, my Flames of War miniatures also were just about exclusively Battlefront Miniatures white metal and resin kits. I was not looking forward to painting & basing 21 StuGs in one go.
What also had me concerned about this project was assembling the PSC kits – the tracks in particular had me concerned having read kit reviews and the nightmares that you guys have had putting these ill-fitting little PSC tracks together. I was less daugnted by the thought of putting together the much simpler Battlefront plastic StuGs which had the one piece track parts
I took my time while watching Braveheart and butchering a bottle of Jamesons I assembled 15 StuGs worth of the PSC tracks assemblies (not the whole StuG – just the tracks) and I will have to say that I was pleasently surprised with the PSC product.
Aside from mixing up the drive sprocket & ideler wheel on one set of tracks (which wasn’t too noticeable once the side skirts are on) – I was reasonably pleased with how easily / quickly they went together with a minimum of fiddly work to get the tracks correctly oriented.
Tracks lined up nicely without any gaps. No major work was required to trim to tidy up the tracks – in fact in most cases I was able to just cut the pieces off the sprue with a side cutter and no other work was needed before assembly.
The poor little PSC StuG sprues sat waiting on the back door step for me for another two weeks before I found a spare couple of minutes to tackle the project again. My plan was to tackle the assembly in stages – putting together the tracks, assembling the hulls, put together the little fiddly modules like the gun & cupola assemblies and finally bring each module together.
To prepare for this I clipped all the parts of both the PSC and Battlefront StuG sprues, cleaned up the mold lines & warts and put them in tidy little piles. All in all it took about 20min to do. Then I started the production line.
Once again, I was very impressed by how easily and quickly these little kits – both the Battlefront & PSC StuGs – go together. It took me about the same time to assemble the all of StuGs as it did to clip all the parts of the sprues & clean the parts of mold lines.
The PSC StuGs take a little longer to assemble than the plastic Battlefront StuG (predominately because the BF tracks are a single piece mold) but the result looks a hell of a lot nicer.
So instead of a pile of plastic StuG sprues sitting on my back porch, had 21 StuGs (15 PSC + 6 BF), undercoated black ready for a paint job.
Side by side with the Battlefront Open Fire plastic StuG the extra detail of the PSC Stugs was obvious. The BF StuG has much fewer pieces was quicker to assemble – but it makes sacrifices in detail to enable it to be injection molded (most notably in the Battlefront kit having one piece tracks & side skirts and the machine gun shield – both of these were very “chunky” and noticable in close comparison to the PSC kits). That being said, there were some details where Battlefront had the advantage. The PSC Tank crew look a little blobbish and there is little in the way of stowage gubbins to add a gypsy caravan look tto the platoon. I ended up using some of the spare stowage “gubbins” from the Battlefront kits on my PSC StuGs to help differentiate between platoons. Also the panel lines on side skirts of the PSC StuGs I believe would have looked better and been more representative if they were all vertical panels rather than two vertical & two horizontal panels.
The PSC kits also have the advantage in that it is possible to assemble different variants of the StuGs. I chose to assemble four of the kits as Mid War StuG III Ausf F, four kits as Stu48 Sturmhaubitze 42 Assult Guns and the remaining PSC and Battlefront Kits as StuG Ausf G.
I should also add that the extra parts and StuG version options of the PSC kit are useful. The BF StuG doesn’t have an option for an open cupola – I tried drilling it out & gluing a small plastic disc. (Looked crap). Ended up using a razor saw to remove the BF StuG cupola & using one of the spare PSC StuG cupolas
All the StuGs recieved a black spray undercoat before some rough dry brush coats of Dunkeleb desert yellow followed by a lighter sand color.
Then a rust brown and green camouflage was applied. These have all been done with the dry pigment powders. A lot cheaper and a hell of a lot more forgiving than air brushing. (Dry pigments are a poor man’s air brush!)
I think that you will get a better result if you can master an airbrush, but this works for me. Hell even my 9 year old daughter gets good results using this method.
I have been using the back2basix ageing powders, but there are better ones on the market (such as MiG)
I can highly recommend that you treat yourself to a couple of colours and have an experiment.
I did finish of the StuG III Ausf F and the Sturmhaubitze 42 Assult Guns. I put the remaining StuG III Ausf G onto a painting tray, put them on the shelf and that is where they remained gathering dust. This was November 2013….
Now – it is August 2020. Melbourne is gripped by the Coronavirus and we are in Stage 4 lock-down. Monday Knights have not had a club meeting in months. I finally worked up the corrage to finish this project that I had started so long ago. These miniatures were stored on an open shelf – I really should have put them away in a closed container. I actually had to “dust” the miniatures before I started work on shading / highlighting / detailing the remaining models.
I had also been given some resin Battlefront StuG’s from the Open Fire kit. (Thanks Wal 🙂 ) It didn’t take long to get them base coated and dry powder camouflage applied to catch up with their older siblings. (For a total of 21 Stug III Ausf G’s!!!)
Black “ageing” powder was used to tone down the bright colours. Details for the guns, tracks, tools and other gubins were painted in. I made a number of mini-diaorama road & ruins bases for the StuGs to be based on. These are also magnetized for storage and transport.
Now that they are all assembled, painted & based – I find that I have to look pretty close to tell the difference between the PSC and plastic Battlefront miniatures. The Battlefront resin STuGs are a little smaller, but again don’t really stand out from the others. Here they are side by side PSC on the left, Battlefield Plastic centre, and Battlefront Resin on the right.
As it turned out, the big problem was not that PSC and Battlefront miniatures wouldn’t look cohesive together in the same force. As STuGs don’t have any unit markings, the big problem would be how to tell which tank belongs in which platoon. Unit commanders were easy – each platoon HQ tank got a tank commander figure sticking his head out from the top hatch. The Battlefront STuGs came with a couple of “gubbins” which I used on each of the three platoons. 1st platoon got Air Recognition + Ammo Box + Jerry Can Gubbins, 2nd Platoon got ammo boxes and jerry cans and 3rd platoon got extra tracks on the rear of the tank.