Thursday, 2 February 2017

Armourfast Stug II - Part 2

Errata: I said in my previous post on this project that Armourfast kit that I had was an earlier version of the Stug, without side-armour 'skirts' ('Schürzen'). Well, I lied!

The box instructions make no mention of the inclusion of side-armour plates, but, in actual fact, they are included on the sprue (I just over-looked them). So you can make a later war (mid-1943 onwards) Stugs with the extra armour, though be aware Armourfast supply you with early 'Schürzen', the design evolved and I suggest you pop over to this website for a detailed explanation: ( Sturmgeschütze vor!

Right that out the way...
Er, I have another confession. I also suggested that I will be keeping this build simple so I could concentrate on the painting (which was the purpose of this project). I fibbed again.

Having discovered that I now had the chance to add the side-armour, it seemed fitting just to add a few other later model Stug furnishings. I mean, it would be rude not to...

My Stug with it's skirts on! I'm also in the process of adding a few bits of bling.
However, I'm not doing masses of research (which will lead me onto tinkering even further with my Armourfast 'Easy Build' kit) and everything I'm doing is suitably simplified in keeping with the kit's theme.

The Great 'MG Shield - Up or Down' Controversy
And here's where I accidently stumbled into a piece of essoteric war game modeller's controversy. :)

The Stug's roof mounted MG, operated by the Loader from atop his hatch.
The 'G' variant Stug III (onwards) was given a roof mounted machine-gun. Initially, this was simply a metal sheild with a MG34 (but sometimes a MG42)mounted in it, but later in the war it was fitted with a 'remote' fired MG34 so that the crew could safely fire the machine-gun from inside the Stug.

But, here's the problem...The early shield mounted MG was not a 'fixed' solution (like the shield protected .50 cal on Allied tanks), instead the MG34/42 was carried inside the Stug and only fitted in place on the shield when needed. This, admittedly inconvienient, arrangement was due to a badly thought through design by someone who obviously never actually had to use a roof mounted machine-gun under fire!

A terric view of the Stug's MG in action! You can clearly see how the Loader's
roof hatch is proping up the MG-shield. Without this support the shield would
just flop about and is normally stored foded forward, flat.
Now, this arangement - of shield 'up' when in use, shield 'down' when not - causes modellers who don't do thier research properly a lot of problems. Quite a few model thier Stug's with both the shield up and teh Loader's hatch closed (what would hold the shielf up, then).

But, in wargaming, it causes additional bamboozelment. Gamers may wish to have the Stug's MG on display - to indicate it has a secondary armament - but might not want to model a Loader figure poking out the roof of their Stug...So, basically, they 'cheat' and model the shield up as if it were a fixed accessory, as in this lovely example of a 28mm 'Bolt Action' Stug by Aodhan Bunny Burrows and featured on the Bolt Action Facebook Group...

Loader's hatch closed, but MG & shield up! Cool looking, but not accurate.
OK, this may be one of those modeller's 'mountain out of a molehill' issues, but things like that matter and I really can see some people being as pedantic enough to take issue with this inaccuracy during a game (tongue in cheek maybe). This is because, with the shield proped open only by the MG - as in the above example - the Loader could not open his hatch (easily) so how could he man the gun? Hmmm...

My solution to this rivet-counter's conundrum was to mount a shield on my Stug BUT to have it attached in the 'down' (folded) position. In a game, it would be my contention that the MG is available for use as - were it needed - the hypothetical Loader would hypothetically deploy the MG34 in it it's shield which could be - hypothetically - rased into place!

My Stug with it's MG shield folded forward, but ready for deployment if needed!
Welcome to the world of war gaming! :D

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