The 18 Sturmtigers produced were based on rebuilt Early/Mid production vehicles with the inclusion of steel road wheels to better carry the extra weight of the Sturmtiger. Most retained the early 700mm idler with a few using the later 600mm idler and there was also a mix of early and later type track as well as most but not all having zimmerit applied to the hull sides below the superstructure and on the front and rear hull.
This CMK set is designed for the Tamiya Tiger I Early production (kit #32504) and consists of 50 parts in light cream resin plus another 41 etched parts and the quality of the resin casting is excellent without any blemishes such as air holes or the like to contend just the usual casting blocks to be removed and the etched parts are also well done with clean details included.
The resin parts give you the large superstructure with separate shell loading hatches, barrel and mantlet, a separate driver's vision port, roof top periscope and the four lifting hooks on either corner of the superstructure. There is also a new front hull plate with separate splash guard, two 38cm projectiles with separate base plates for added detail and hull machine gun barrel. The large shell loading crane is also provided as well as the many large rivet heads for the hull sides and also included are with 18 outer steel road wheels and two 600mm idler wheels to update the running gear.
The etched parts are well done and give you a set of engine deck screens, side and front fenders, detail parts for the crane and a round disc for the front of the barrel for the row of small gas holes plus some small attachments on the superstructure sides and add some nice detail definition to the conversion.
The main part is the huge superstructure with openings for the top loading hatch and mortar but there was some damage on my part which will require a bit to fix. Along either side of the superstructure is a channel designed to fit over the sides of the Tamiya hull and attached to this is a large casting strip which has broken off in transit taking part of the hull side with it which will have to be repaired before proceeding. The other problem is the huge casting block on the front of the superstructure which is not at all clear where this has to be cut off as the upper and lower edges don't line up. Also the front of the superstructure is straight once you remove the casting block but was not straight on the real superstructure as there were indentations outside of the hull line above the tracks and these will have to be added, of course care will be needed not to remove too much resin in the process. Care is also required when removing the casting strip from the superstructure sides as the outer lip is not parallel with the inside resin wall so it is easy to remove too much off the side thinking these should line up and will require a rebuild which can be a little frustrating.
To fit the superstructure to the Tamiya hull requires the top hull part (F2) has to be cut in half leaving just the engine deck for the Strumtiger conversion, this cut is 36.5mm from the back of the hull to about 1.5mm in front of the engine grates and leaving the rearmost curve of the turret ring intact.
Having repaired the superstructure damage I test fitted the superstructure to Tamiya's metal hull and found it a little narrow and if forcing it would break off the thin lower sides of the superstructure. The best solution is filing the top of the hull sides to fit the superstructure. Fitting the front hull plate will require some test fitting and trimming to get the best fit, but the fun doesn't stop there.
Turning to fitting the ball mounted gun and mantlet there were more fit problems as you have to trim the insides of the gun opening to get the ball mount to sit correctly, this is indicated in the instructions but it's left to you to work out where to trim. After much trimming and test fitting I was unable to get the gun to sit in the neutral position and moving the ball mounting further up in the hull cut-out would have left to top section way too thin. The only solution here I can see is to reduce the size of the ball mount so it can fit higher in the mounting allowing the gun to sit level. The other problem with the original position is the lower tip of the mantlet hits against the lower ring further preventing the gun for sitting level.
The mortar barrel is hollow but has no rifling which is very prominent even in this scale but the inclusion of the etched ring with the gas holes adds good detail to the end of the barrel. Despite the box top image showing the large counter weight for the barrel it is not included but only the four small ‘square' attachment points for the counter weight so you have to scratch the counter weight yourself if you wish to use this.
The barrel/locating stub on the ball mount is cast solid and as the barrel is so big you can see this inside I therefore completely drilled a hole through the ball mounting to give more depth to the barrel, you will also have to add some thin card around the locating lug as the fit is a bit loose in the mantlet.
Moving to the rear engine deck the larger etched screens fit the Tamiya grills okay but the smaller screens don't have the square cut-out for the around the latches and you will have to cut this section out of the screen yourself for them to fit.
You are supplied with a set of outer steel road wheels with separate extended hubs for the alternate wheels and these are designed to be attached to the inner rubber tyred road wheels from the Tamiya kit which will look decidedly strange. Also the inner steel wheels are ever so slightly larger in diameter than the Tamiya wheels while the outer wheels are the same diameter. And more the separate extended hubs will need extreme care when removing for the casting block to ensure you do not remove too much resin leaving too little space between the road wheels, and the hub fit through the resin road wheel is quite sloppy and you have to ensure you locate this centrally when gluing the wheels together.
The detail on the resin road wheels is also a little soft and not as well defined as on the steel road wheels in the Skybow Tiger I late kit.
You are also supplied with two 600mm idler wheels cast in one piece with well defined details but the casting block extends between the inner and outer wheel disc meaning you have quite a cleanup job on your hands to remove this without damaging the wheel. But as the majority of Sturmtigers used the older 700mm idler you may not have to worry about this unless modelling the specific vehicle with the 600mm idler.
The large shell crane is quite nicely detailed with resin and etched parts and providing you take care during assembly there shouldn't be any problems and there are two 38cm projectiles with separate base plates to either add to the crane or use as required and add a nice touch. The etched side and front fenders can be used as required as a lot of pictures of Sturmtigers show these either missing or quite damaged and being etched will make adding damage very easy.
The instructions are a series of exploded view drawings showing the construction sequences and I found these to be quite clear and easy to follow in most instances but as with any resin conversion set regular test fitting will be in order.
Thankfully there are quite a few good reference books available for the Strumtiger and since there were only 18 produced must be one of the best covered of the Tiger variants. The best available are listed below and will be of great assistance while assembling this kit.
Suffice to say this set is not for the inexperienced or fainthearted as there are more than a few fit problems and while the damaged parts won't affect everyone can be a pain. The use of the new steel road wheels with the old rubber wheels is quite bazaar and will make for an interesting look and while the resin quality is good there is a lot of work needed to get a result with this set.
Recommended for those no afraid of a challenge.
Tank Power 16
Extensive coverage of the Sturmtiger with history, photos and 1:35 plans
Available from AirConnection Canada.
Tiger I and Sturmtiger in Detail
Detailed photo coverage of the Sturmtiger
Elefant - Jagdtiger - Sturmtiger
Good general reference for the Sturmtiger.
Modeler's Guide to the Tiger Tank
Usefull for hull and suspension details as used on the Sturmtiger.
Page created October 1, 2005