~ Sturmgeschütz E-100 ~
~ Series code: 89005 ~
~ Limited production ~
Among Panzerstahl's exclusive 1:72 models, the Sturmgeschütz E-100 surely stands out; particularly for its massive size and fearsome appeareance, along with the undeniable charme typical of German armoured vehicles.
~ Some History ~
So, what's to say about the Panzerstahl Sturmgeschütz E-100? Sure, it does look good, intimidating and a natural evolution of the WWII German sturmgeschütz - meaning "assault gun" - design; but it does have one major flaw, historically speaking: it's fake. At least in regard to the vehicle design itself.
Despite the fact that the Sturmgeschütz E-100 did exist, at least in concept, the Panzerstahl design represents what came to be called the Jagdpanzer E-100 Krokodil: the author of this unhistorical vehicle design wasn't a German engineer, but a modeller, specifically, working for the Trumpeter company.
Furthermore, Hilary Doyle, one of the most famous German tanks experts, maintained that such a design would have been unfeasible anyway because of several different reasons, namely the weight distribution and the excessive strain forced on the suspension system.
So, what about the historically accurate Sturmgeschütz E-100?
On July 10th, 1944, Hitler himself ordered the development of super-heavy AFVs to be halted, facing the critical situation on the Eastern and Western Fronts. The orders were followed, partially: changes were still made to the Maus designed by Porsche and work on the E-100 still secretly continued at a very low priority, as Adlerwerke could only spare three men.
The interesting part is that permission for developing the E-100 was given based on its potential use as a tank destroyer with either a 15 cm StuK L/63 or 17 cm StuK L/53 gun: the Maus was not suitable as a chassis, as its hull was too tall. This was the purpose for which the chassis was being built, but Kniepkamp and Krupp retained hope that they could still push their tank through to replace the Maus.
Regardless, what matters to us is that the E-100 was indeed selected as basis for a new super-heavy tank destroyer, which would be subsequently designated Sturmgeschütz E-100. The suggested design would have most likely been as follows, with a rear-mounted casemate and fighting compartment to help distribute the vehicle's impressive weight of about 150t:
This is further confirmed by a memo for Adolf Hitler dated 7th August 1944, which was intercepted - and translated - by Soviet intelligence. The document was published by Yuri Pasholok. The relevant part being:
"Inspector-General of the tank armies requested following improvements of armored vehicles:
a) superheavy anti-tank gun 15cm L/63 and 17cm L/53 (penetration 200mm at 4000m, shell weight 72kg for 17cm, 45kg for 15cm)."
So that's the story of the historical Sturmgeschütz E-100; what about the model then? As just explained, the design Panzerstahl used for their Sturmgeschütz E-100 was never conceived by German engineers; however, it does retain several historically accurate elements, particularly the gun mount; the main armament, i.e. the fearsome 17,4cm StuK L/53 gun; some elements of the fire-control system, namely the rangefinder - which can be clearly seen also on the Schmalturm design, intended for upgraded Panzerkampfwagen IV variants and the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf.F; and finally, and obviously enough, the E-100 hull.
Taking all these elements into account, and considering the appeal of the design Panzerstahl chose for their Sturmgeschütz E-100, I can totally live with this and still depicting it advancing on the Russian steppes crushing anything standing before it.
I guess points to Panzerstahl for psychology!
~ Model Review ~
The model itself is made of resin, which is typical for many Panzerstahl models; the quality of the details is extremely nice, particularly concerning the hatches on the top of the casemate, the engine deck and the road wheels.
The model is painted to a good standard with a simple three-tone disruptive camouflage patterns arranged in stripes.
Being a fictional AFV, the model doesn't feature the emblematic Three Digit System typically used on German armoured vehicles for easier identification, but just a simple, white Balkenkreuz.
No particular weathering seems to have been applied; however, some details have been highlighted to greatly improve the model's appearance, namely the armour plating's welds.While the model itself is indeed already assembled and ready for exposition, it is not mentioned - or at least, not explicitly - that the metal barrel - props to Panzerstahl for sticking to high-quality materials for their models - is not fitted to the model; be aware of this: you will need to do it yourself.
Alongside the model itself, you will get a nice standard display case, similar to the ones that come with Dragon Armor's, but much bigger and specifically made for this kind of models - which is nice, considering the remarkable dimensions -; a card with the model's serial number - it's a limited edition; and a standard cardbox box, once again very similar to Dragon Armor's.
Model's dimensions are as follows:
•18,0cm x 6,2cm x 4,5cm (w/o display case).
•23,0cm x 10,5cm x 8,0 cm (w/display case).
~ Final Thoughts ~
The model is, overall, in my own personal opinion, a very good one; and surely a must-have for anyone interested in rare WWII AFVs, being them historical or (partially) fictional.
The details are great and stand out compared to the standard; the models uses high-quality materials, particularly the metal barrel for the massive 17,4cm gun; and Panzerstahl provides you with a very solid and nice display case.
The only minor complaint was the fact that the barrel wasn't fitted to the model yet; most likely in order to avoid damage to the gun mount or the barrel itself during shipping, but, still, that should have been made clear by Panzerstahl: it was no big deal to me, as I do also build model kits, but I do realize that it might have been bad news for someone else.
Also, a minor personal disappointment was the fact that, despite the model's commander cupola featuring the typical AA MG mount, there is no MG-42 to be fitted; unlike on several Dragon Armor models. But that's just minor complaint concerning only the fact such a small detail could have greatly improved the model's appeareance: it's such a shame; also considering that you will need glue anyway to actually fully assemble the model.
Accessories (display case et cetera):
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