by: Steve Brodie [ ]
Originally published on:
Background and History
Sturmtiger (German: "Assault Tiger") was a World War II German assault gun built on the Tiger I chassis and armed with a 380mm rocket-propelled round. The official German designation was Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61. Its primary task was to provide heavy fire support for infantry units fighting in urban areas. The few vehicles produced fought in the Warsaw Uprising, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Reichswald. The fighting vehicle is also known under a large number of informal names, among which the Sturmtiger became the most popular.
One of the most famous accounts of the tank in action was during the battle for the bridge at Remagen, German forces mobilized Sturmmörserkompanie 1000 and 1001 (a total of 7 units), and attached them to the 6th SS-Panzer Armee to take part in the battle. The Sturmtigers were originally tasked with using their howitzers against the bridge itself, though it was discovered that they lacked the accuracy needed to effectively hit the bridge. During this action, one of the Sturmtigers in Sturmmörserkompanie 1001 near Düren and Euskirchen hit a group of stationary Sherman’s tanks in a village with a 380mm round, resulting in nearly all the Shermans being put out of action, and their crews killed or wounded.
The kit comes in a standard Tamiya offering, stiff cardboard with separate opening lid, enhanced with a painting of this very imposing beast, with a crew member standing nearby, to give some scale to how large these ‘tigers’ were. The box is quite large when you compare it to the finished item.
Opening the box, you are greeted with yellow coloured Sprues, all individually bagged, individually bagged bottom hull, four steel weights, a decal sheet, a printed black and white instruction manual and a separate colour guide, although this is also in black and white.
Building the Sturmtiger
Step 1 sees the start of the build, with the addition of the metal ingots, now I am not sure about the value of these, they don’t add anything to the model except some weight, and as most will end up on shelves or dioramas, they are not going to get blown over in the wind, if the ingots were not present. Don’t get me wrong they do add some weight to the model and as I got further on in the build, they do make the model easier to hold.
Step 2 and you build the 8 drive, 2 road and 2 idler wheels. They are all two piece items, with the drive and idler wheels also sandwiching poly-caps.
Step 3 Sees the addition of the wheels, built in step 2, been added to the lower hull. I found it best to add all the inner wheels (parts A9) and then add the previously built road wheels to the chassis, looks more complicated than it actually is.
Step 4 and you then add on the other half of the road wheels using parts A8. With the addition of the drive housing plates (parts C42 & 43) the wheel assembly is complete and the result is a very fine representation of the real thing.
Step 5 and we now move on to the building of the tracks, been link and length, these are also quite straight forward. For the links (part’s A3) that bend around the drive sprocket and idler, I found it best to build these flat on the work surface, joining them together with Tamiya extra thin cement, leaving them to set for about 10-15 minutes, then add them to the drive or idler wheel and build the rest of the run, following the build sequence as given by Tamiya in this step. No issue’s here, all went as planned.
Step 6 sees the start of the construction of the upper hull and casemate. In this step you add the sidewalls/casemate sides to the upper hull single piece along with the rear of the tank. At this point I did deviate from the instructions and dry fitted the casemate front plate (part B12) along with the roof (part BXX) and casemate rear panel, this was to ensure good alignment of the parts, and to try and reduce any gaps that may present themselves. I decided at this stage, after looking ahead in the instructions, to glue the rear of the casemate into position.
Step 7 and we build the huge, in reality, RW61 mortar; this is constructed of two barrel halves, a polycap and the two halves of the ball turret. Again the fit of the parts is excellent and only needs a quick wipe of a sanding stick followed by a quick polish and looks it then looks like one piece.
Step 8 you then add the Mortar to the gun mantlet, again this is constructed from two halves and I followed the same procedure as in step 7. One interesting thing, the instructions clearly show rifling inside the mantlet, but try as hard as I could, I just couldn’t see any present, not to say its not there, just I couldn’t see it, in fact I went back through previous stages to see if I had missed a step to add in the rifling. You can then add on the counterweight, if so desired. On this occasion I did. To add a bit more definition to the gas exhaust/vent holes, I drilled them out with a fine drill. I do think that they look better once this little addition has been carried out. The mortar is added with the aid of two pivot points on the inside face of the front plate this allows vertical and slight horizontal movement of the whole mortar/mantlet assembly.
Step 9 Here the roof of the casemate is added to the previously built casemate sides and rear. I did note a small gap down the right hand side of the roof line joint, a couple of passes with Tamiya extra thin solved the problem. The Torch cut marks, although present are very faint, so I applied some Tamiya extra thin and waited a few minutes before scoring a rough pattern into the now soft plastic, simple step but adds a lot more definition to this area.
Step10 Simple step, you just need to add the blanking plates for underneath the track guards.
Step 11 Sees the attachment of two ‘fillets’ to the casemate sides.
Step 12 Add you add the front mud guards along with both the left and right track guards, and the pioneer tools.
Step 13 You create the two exhaust stacks, the actual exhausts are made from 3 parts, and if you read the instructions and study the images, they build up very nicely. I thinned down the lips on parts A22 and in hindsight shouldn’t have bothered as once the shrouds are fitted you cannot actually see them.
Step 14 Adds in the rear hinges for the engine deck and tow shackles, along with the rear mud guards and exhaust shrouds. The shrouds were thinned down around the lip to give them a better scale appearance. Two hangers (C1) are also added to the rear of the casemate.
Step 15 Gets you to build the jack from 4 individual parts and it looks convincing once built, this is then added to the rear of the tank. 2 Tow shackles are also added and that completes the build of the rear.
Step 16 and time to construct the rather flimsy looking crane, The actual crane must have had taken some strain to winch up the large 38cm calibre shells from the ground. The little crane is built from 4 pieces, to add a bit more realism to this item, I drilled out very small some holes to feed through some 5lb 0.25mm fishing line and then I made a cradle from a piece of scrap etch. The crane was painted dark iron / steel to give a bit of contrast to the 3 tone camouflage scheme. The cradle was painted leather and attached to the ‘steel’ cable. I also added one of the excellent eureka tow cables to the side of the casemate as is regularly seen in world war II photos.
Step 17 Installs the two ‘hangers’ on the casemate right side.
Step 18 same again with the ‘hangers’ but this time on the left side, along with the optional, although this isn’t actually stated in the instructions, gun counter weight. The final two small items to add are the front tow shackles.
During the build I also used the optional zimmerit set produced by Tamiya (item no. 12672), this is basically a one piece sticker with printed on cutting lines. None of the panels are pre scored or cut, so you need a steady hand to remove these from the main sheet. The straight lines are easy enough; the pain is the circular cut-outs within the zimmerit panels. I used a micro drill to punch out the centres and cleaned up once stuck to the tank body. The sticker’s adhered very well to the tank chassis, in fact once on you cannot move them, as I found out to my annoyance on the front glacis plate, going to need to find a way to hid the small gap, maybe some mud will do it, on the plus side thevery fine details are still visible under a few light coats of sprayed paint.
Step 19 Painting
I followed my usual practice of giving the whole model a base coat of Tamiya XF-66 black and left the model to dry for about 40 Minutes. Once dry I then proceeded to lay down the base yellow (XF-60), this was misted on in light passes to try and keep some of the previous black showing through. This was then left to dry overnight. Next day I added the two camouflage colours of Red Brown (XF-72) and Dark Green (XF-61) trying to follow the Black and White sheet as best I could, To be fair a few places just seem to merge into one and this is where it’s a shame Tamiya didn’t include a colour sheet. The whole model was then left to dry for 24hrs. The camouflage was a bit stark, so to tone things down and tie the colours together a coat of Wilders Filter was applied all over the tank (3 passes, each dried by a hairdryer), this again was given 24hrs to settle, before the chipping and dust and rust washes were applied. Finally it was all sealed with a coat of Testors Dullcoate and then that was model was finished.