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Takom 1/35 scale Ersatz M7 (StuG III) plastic model kit review

A quick build but look out for a couple of snags along the way
Kit:8007 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$49.95
Takom (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Good detail and parts breakdown; straightforward build
Small instruction book; poor fit of the superstructure; warped hull top
Injection-molded plastic (gray); 534 parts (13 photo-etched metal, metal cable); decals
Built on the StuG III, the Ersatz M7 was designed to mimic the American M7 Priest, although the effectiveness is dubious at best. I think of it as the StuG III Fastback.

Takom’s 2-in-1 kit allows the vehicle to be built with either the completely enclosed humpback over the engine deck and the typical muzzle brake or a partial humpback and threaded barrel end. Other features include posable hatches and link-and-length tracks. The only decals are American stars.

After choosing which option to build, I started on the lower hull and running gear. The former comes as a single part with suspension parts molded on. The swing arms and shocks are well detailed and slip into place easily. Before gluing each pair together, I had to remove mold seams from the road wheels. I found the wheel to be a tad snug on the axles, so I bored them out for a better fit. Attaching the exhausts, deflectors, and the photo-etched metal grille for the air exchange finished the lower hull. I painted the hull and road wheels with Tamiya Dark Green lacquer (No. LP-26).

After spraying the tracks with Tamiya Dark Iron (No. XF-84) and dry-brushing them with Tamiya Silver (No. X-11), I assembled the runs on the wheels. The one-piece lower run (Part B3) appears to be one link short, so I added a link to each from the extras. A little mud made the tracks, road wheels, and drive sprocket look properly used.

The hull top was warped in my kit, so I glued the front and let it set completely before gluing the rear deck. Sanding off molded deck details helped the humpback fit before I glued all the tools and tow cables onto the fenders. I suggest refining the length of the tow cable because the indicated 122mm is too long.

I had no difficulty assembling the multipart main gun and easily fit it into the hull. The casemate's back and sides are one piece to which the front armor is attached. The locating ridge interfered with the position of the superstructure and once installed, it sat high in the front. I filled the resulting gap. I assembled and painted the commander’s hatch and the roof separately. I was surprised by how well the Schürzen held up to handling after they were glued to the hull.

I spent a fast 20 hours on Takom’s Ersatz M7, and it would make a terrific addition to a Battle of the Bulge diorama.
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