German 12.8cm Selbstfahrlafette L/61
"Sturer Emil"

Trumpeter Kit No. 00350

1/35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

Trumpeter again has shown they are not afraid to produce a kit of a subject you wouldn’t normally find in the catalogues of major kit manufacturers and this kit of “Sturer Emil” where just two real vehicles were produced is one if these subjects.

The vehicle was produced by Henschel and mounted the huge 12.8cm K L/61 flak gun in an attempt to quickly get a vehicle capable of dealing with the new generation of Russian T-34, KV series tanks.

In the event just two prototypes were produced, the first had a second dummy driver’s compartment on the right of the hull while the second had just the true driver’s compartment on the left side. Both prototypes were used in Russia by 521st sPA and the 2nd Panzer Division which was destroyed in action and the other was captured intact at Stalingrad after claiming 22 kills.

There were a number of problems due to slow speed and lack of commonality with other equipment but they could engage targets at ranges only dreamed of by the Russians who faced the two “Sturer Emils”.

The kit consists of 278 parts in light grey plastic plus a set of full length vinyl tracks as well as a small decal sheet and the instructions and provides the option of building either of the two trial vehicles.

The parts are cleanly moulded with virtually no pin marks in places they can be seen and the detail is excellent with subtle cast texture on some parts and nice bolt head and weld seam detail on the hull and wheels.

Lower Hull:
The lower hull tub has the two sides, front and real hull plates in the one moulding and has excellent offset torsion bar/axle mounts, bump stops as well as the upper hull/fender fillets included with all other components as separate parts for good definition.

The separate parts include all the axle arms, final drive housings with inside plates with bolts details, return roller mountings and two separate side hull escape hatches while on the inside are a couple of plastic bulkheads to ensure the tub remains perfectly square which it is.

At the rear is two part exhaust with separate mountings and exhaust pipe that fits the rear hull plate.

Running Gear:
The road wheels are very well detailed with bolt head and weld seam details on applicable wheels while the road wheels are in two halves each to allow for good detail definition on both sides of the wheels and while this gives a small join seam around the wheel ‘rubber’ section is is a minor consideration for the nicely detailed wheels. The Idler wheel also has the inner wheel in two halves to again allow the detail on both sides and the spokes on the outer wheel are well defined.

Details on the drive sprocket are equally well done and match those in available photos quite well with all wheels being designed to be glued in place.

The three double return rollers are also provided and again have nice details on the hubs and fit into the separate hull mounting brackets to build a nicely detailed lower hull and suspension.

The tracks provided are full length vinyl and include details on both sides as well as end pin details and most noteworthy is the inclusion of open guide horns on all links which are cleanly moulded without any residue to clean up and is most impressive for this type of track.


Upper Hull:
The upper hull panel is simple ‘flat’ plate with forward hull top panels with nice bolt head details and includes the driver’s compartment which also has subtle weld seams on the joins. This compartment has separate front visor and visor cover and side vision port as well as separate top hatch again for good detail definition. There is also a separate dummy driver’s compartment to add if you wish to build the first trials vehicle but this part doesn’t have the weld seam details included on the true driver’s compartment.
The full side fenders are also included with fine tread plate and fender supports included and mounting holes for the tools etc.

Added items include the head and tail lights, NOTEK light and all pioneer tools with moulded on clips which will benefit with etched tool clip replacements plus two wooden jack blocks with subtle wood grain effect included.

The fit of the upper and lower parts is very good and when first fitting together there is a large gap down either rear side into which the superstructure will fit later and due to no side skirts you can choose to fit the tracks at any time.

The main superstructure is a large single moulding with nice bolt head and weld seams details on the outside and also interior details of panel flange joins and periscope mounting under the forward top panel. Fine raised lines indicate the location of much of the personal equipment carried inside the rear walls such as MP40s and ammo pouches, water bottles, gas mask containers, stick grenades which are all provided as separate items with good details.

There are also multi-part ammo racks and cartridge containers for the side walls with the open racks having separate shell mounting brackets as well as groups of 12.8cm rounds and four separate rounds which also have separate shell casings with hollowed out ends with the use of slide moulds and the two parts will fit together to form fully ready rounds.

Other details include additional separate internal panel flange joins and radio plus a separate rear hatch and two spare track racks on the front panel.

12.8cm Cannon:
This assembly is noteworthy as it is made up of 34 parts and gives you a very detailed and complete gun and breech assembly with separate breech block plus the hand wheels and other details for a very busy assembly and this mounts into a gun mount panel which included two crew seats and side extensions that have bolt head and flange details on both sides and when fitted to the hull allow the lower details to be seen between the fender / hull gap as previously mentioned as well as providing excellent details around the lower superstructure mounting.

The gun mantlet is made up of three pieces with the 12.8cm gun in the usual two halves with the large muzzle brake included and only requires to removal of the small join seam before fitting and looks impressive due to its size.

On the interior of the rear fighting compartment is a floor section with separate engine compartment and grill work panels as well as the crew ladder that extends out under the rear door.

Final assembly:
The competed superstructure fits snugly into the lower hull and test fitting showed a good fit but some minor trimming may be needed depending on the fitting of the parts during assembly.

The small decal sheet gives you alternate markings for the second trials vehicle used by the 3rd Company 521st sPA with alternate balkenkreuz in black/white and just white outline as well as unit insignia, barrel kill markings and a series of very small numbers that go on the doors of the internal ammo boxes.

A separate colour sheet shows the overall Panzer Grey paint finish used as well as the location of the larger decals


As mentioned it is good to see mainstream kits of lesser know vehicles with this kit having nicely detailed parts with details on both sides of major parts reminiscent of the detail in Trumpeter’s Karl with very well detailed main gun and should build into an impressive model.

Highly recommended

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Close new window to return to review

See the "Emil" Subjects listings for reviews of additional detail sets available for this kit.

Thanks to the Australian Trumpeter distributors J.B.Wholesalers for the review kit.

Page created 26 May 2005

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Vehicle Reviews / Trumpeter