Sturmi - A Finnish Stug

This section is to 'show and tell' about any customizing or re-vamping you have done (or are doing) to a Heng Long tank.

Postby Estnische » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:42 am

Herman’s Krieg Schwein and 43Rd RecceReg’s Asiatam Stug IV got me interested in a Stug build. TankArmy had a bit of a run-out sale on them and so Santa lobbed one in my Xmas stocking.

Sturmgeschutz_III-3.JPG


Normally I’d consider a Stug as interesting as a ham sandwich. But I knew the Finnish army put them to good use in their struggle against the Russians, and the Finns are good friends of Estonians, so I gained some interest. A Finnish Stug, or ‘Sturmi’ as they tagged them, would make a straightforward but rare build based on a Heng Long. I could only find two other Sturmii conversions, one done by Buckeye back in 2012, which was excellent, but there was no build story.

I did a little digging into Sturmi history and found a comprehensive collation of info and photos on Andreas Lärka’s Finnish armour website. After the Winter War against the invading Red Army in 1940, the Finns received little or no support from the ineffectual League of Nations. They had to cede more than 10% of their country to achieve a ceasefire. With no other countries offering help, they went to Germany to purchase fighting equipment. Although Finland was not part of the Axis powers, Hitler was willing to supply them as it meant that the Russians would be busy on another front. Stugs were utilitarian and comparatively cheap and the Finns bought 30 ausf Gs in 1943 and another 29 in 1944. Based on their experience against the Russians, and realizing that they would have to be self-sufficient, they modified the Sturmis to suit themselves. The fact that the Finns didn’t lose, meant that plenty survived in Finnish service long after the war, and are still around as ‘gate guards’ with plenty of good quality reference photos and details on Andreas’s website. These do have to be used with some caution, as the Finns made several changes to their Sturmis in post-war service, including removal of the concrete add-on armour.

This clean photo of Ps531-22 is a rare period photo from 1944, showing no zimmerit. Interestingly from my point of view, the Finns donated it to an Estonian military museum in 2008:

Sturmi Ps531-22.jpg
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Typical Finnish mods included:

• Bullet splash shield around the mantlet
• Driver’s visor shield
• Use of captured Russian Degtyaryov ‘DT’ machine guns
• Modified loader’s shield to suit mounting the DT
• Relocating the spare road wheels from the rear deck to the upper hull sides
• Storage box where the spare wheels used to be
• Deletion of ‘schurzen’ side armour and grenade launchers
• Armour plates bolted between the return rollers
• Use of frontal concrete armour
• Deflection armour around the commander’s cupola
• Relocation of some tools
• Centrally mounted front Notek light only
• Finnish camouflage

First batch features included:
• Square gun mantlet
• Smooth drive sprocket caps
• Rubber track return rollers
• North-south split of the loader’s hatch

Second batch features differed with:
• Saukopf gun mantlet
• Bolted drive sprocket caps
• Steel track return rollers
• East-west split of loader’s hatch

What will really make this happen are some of the aftermarket bits available for Heng Long Stugs, especially the Atak concrete armour kits, and a DT machine gun made by Diorama Freak.

A Sturmi build is in the making…

By the way, I just love this photo. It shows a Finnish crew (commander Börje Brotell, gunner Olli Soimala, driver Sulo Kauppi and loader Armas Launikko) and their Sturmi Ps531-10 sitting in the summer sunshine in a brief moment of happiness. Its worth clicking on just for the rare clarity of a wartime image.

Finnish Sturmi Crew.JPG
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:00 am

One of my most favorite AFV's...............

I'm following on Mr E, can't wait.
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Postby Marco Peter » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:12 pm

Kriegschwein made by Herman? Oh my!

I 'stole' that name for my StuG, never knew haha!

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Postby Soeren » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:05 pm

Great thread, following along.
By the way, is there a review of the HL Stug and how accurate it is out of the box?

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Postby Marco Peter » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:41 pm

You B&W picture looks just like the Finnish StuG in Bovington.
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Postby 43rdRecceReg » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:44 pm

Ahhh...well, I shall be watching this one with great interest. :D I wonder how you will tackle the elevation issue, Estniche, and what form of gun it will sport? Clearly, a BB type is out, and I assume it must be slated for some sort of IR system installation, I hope, performed by some sort of
6in high red-coloured manic mechanic. Servos and a bespoke controller, perhaps, would be the likely choice? :thumbup:
I think I can modify the barrel and saukopf to accept part of the Tiger 1 mantlet, in partnership with the Taigen flash and recoil system I've bought, on my Jagdpanzer... This will mean altering the primitive Asiatam gun support platform, and pivots that came with the kit.
I'll leave you to install the fancy radio, and choice white interior on yours! :thumbup:
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Postby PainlessWolf » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:12 pm

Good morning,
"I did not choose the StuG Life, it chose me." Telling words indeed! ;o) I love a good StuG build and rare ones even more so. Following along.
regards,
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Postby Estnische » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:04 am

Soeren wrote:Great thread, following along.
By the way, is there a review of the HL Stug and how accurate it is out of the box?


An interesting question. I couldn't find any criticism of the HL Stug, apart from the airboxes. If you go to the What To Fix On Your New Tank section there is little for the Stug, unlike the Tiger I. As a representation of an Early Ausf G, I think its pretty good.

Here is all I can find:

W00-01.JPG

Like the real thing, Heng Long uses the PzIII lower hull. It is not surprising as they are identical apart from the side escape hatch that apparently only 30 or so early Stugs had and not the Ausf F or Ausf G. (Edit: just read in Panzerwrecks 7, that 170 Stugs were built with side escape hatches in 1944) Also, there is a slot that appears to be for the old style receiver switch, which needs to be filled.

W00-02.JPG

This is a second batch Sturmi, fully restored, but featuring post-war modifications. Notice how the track dips slightly after the rearmost return roller. On the Heng Long the track stays level. Its only slight, and doesn't bother me enough to relocate the return rollers higher.

W00-03.JPG

Just for the rivet counters, there is a bolt missing behind the central Notek.

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In a real Stug there should be enough room to squeeze a standard German radio under the casemate roof. It doesn't look like it on the Heng Long.

W00-05.jpg
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The airboxes should be open on top with screening mesh. Apparently the Heng Longs have always been closed. The first ones had a sticker to imitate the mesh, and they were later changed to have a moulded mesh. Some of the aftermarket bits include open airboxes from Asiatam and photo etch mesh.

W00-06.JPG

Most of the tools on the upper hull are moulded in, which is not impossible to fix, just painful. And lastly, the airboxes are correctly tapered from front to rear, but my Stug is blessed with a right-hand airbox on the left-hand side. The glue monkey must have known it was wrong, as the right-hand side fits neatly. I guess he ran out of stock.
Last edited by Estnische on Sun May 13, 2018 6:25 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Estnische » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:11 am

43rdRecceReg wrote: I wonder how you will tackle the elevation issue, Estniche, and what form of gun it will sport? Clearly, a BB type is out, and I assume it must be slated for some sort of IR system installation, I hope, performed by some sort of
6in high red-coloured manic mechanic. Servos and a bespoke controller, perhaps, would be the likely choice? :thumbup:

I'll leave you to install the fancy radio, and choice white interior on yours! :thumbup:


Hey Roy,

This is an older stock 27MHz jobbie with IR, not BB. I plan on leaving the electrics alone apart from adding an RC5HL to convert to 2.4Ghz. There is precious little room in a PzIII chassis, and any I gain I hope to use for a bit of detail inside the loader's hatch, such as the model radio.

As for the manic mechanic, perhaps Loki might be a more appropriate Nordic replacement?
loki.jpg
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Postby Raminator » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:43 am

Looking forward to seeing how you go with this, mate. I've got a mate planning on converting his HL Stug into a Finnish one, hopefully I can use your build to inspire him to get off his arse. ;)

I took some photos of Bovington's Sturmi that might be of use to you. I can dig them up if you like, I think they cover stuff like the concrete and log armour, waffle-pattern zimmerit and steel return rollers.
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Postby Estnische » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:10 am

Thanks for the offer Dan. I've been researching for a while, as the Panther paint stages were curing. I'm going for the early G version. I'm going to skip the logs too, it smacks a bit of the Tamiya Sturmi in 1:35.

I actually think the hardest bit of this project will be getting the decals and doing the hard-edged camo. Everything else you can pretty much buy off the shelf.
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Postby rolling-thunder » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:37 am

Does the Finnish Stug have a travel lock for the barrel?
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Postby Estnische » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:59 am

From what I understand, they didn't fit them until after the war.
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Postby rolling-thunder » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:35 am

Estnische wrote:From what I understand, they didn't fit them until after the war.

Who, the Finns didn't fit them or they weren't fitted to the Stugs? The Germans did fit them to their Stugs.
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Postby Estnische » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:20 pm

This is what Andreas Lärka’s Finnish armour website says. I can only take it at face value:

"The 1943 -batch StuG's were early production (but not the initial) G models with the square gun-mantlet..."

"The 1944 (second) batch StuG's were "late middle / early late" production G models with the Topfblende / "Saukopf" gun-mantle, all-steel return rollers (Alkett and MIAG), drive-sprockets with the wheel-bolts showing, loaders hatches opening to the sides, deflecting armour for the commander's cupola, solid (non-rotating) periscope-ring on the commander's cupola, late type fendersupports, typical German rear deck stovage-racks and Zimmerit."

"In the early 1950's ... some StuG's got gun travel-locks like the ones featured on some of the 1944 batch StuG's."

"From the 1944 batch of StuG's none probably ever fired their guns in anger. Most of them arrived too late to see any real action, as the first of the 1944 batch StuG's that arrived were used as reserves and for securing the rear areas. "

Which probably explains why none of the wartime photos I could find show a Sturmi with a travel-lock. The last photo is interesting as it appears to be a 1944-batch StuG.

(I acknowledge SA-Kuva as a source of some of these photos)

TL1 -44.jpg


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TL3.jpg


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Postby Estnische » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:29 am

Ah, Roy. Check this Stug interior out! Even the radio dial appears to glow.

T'is but a flight of fancy though. Recoil and elevation can't happen without the mechanisms. He's gutted a dead Heng Long and made it into a stationary model.

This talented Kiwi upscaled everything from a 1:35 kit. You can see the whole build here:

http://kiwimodeller.com/~kmodel/index.php/forum/58-the-stug-club/30889-heng-long-1-16-stug-iii-makeover?limitstart=0

kiwi00.jpg

kiwi01.jpg

kiwi02.jpg

kiwi03.jpg

He did a similar job on a Tiger.
kiwi04.jpg
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Postby C.Ellis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:03 am

I was thinking about doing one of these as well. I really like the concrete armour look, makes the Stug look beefier. After you've finnished :lolno: this build you'll need a BT-42 to go with it.

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Postby Estnische » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:21 am

Oh! I see what you did there.

Were you thinking of doing a Sturmi or a Stug?

The Atak resin bits make concrete armour easy. Or you can do it yourself, as Herman did.
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Postby 43rdRecceReg » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:34 pm

Estnische wrote:Ah, Roy. Check this Stug interior out! Even the radio dial appears to glow.

T'is but a flight of fancy though. Recoil and elevation can't happen without the mechanisms. He's gutted a dead Heng Long and made it into a stationary model.

This talented Kiwi upscaled everything from a 1:35 kit. You can see the whole build here:

http://kiwimodeller.com/~kmodel/index.php/forum/58-the-stug-club/30889-heng-long-1-16-stug-iii-makeover?limitstart=0

The attachment kiwi00.jpg is no longer available

The attachment kiwi00.jpg is no longer available

The attachment kiwi00.jpg is no longer available

The attachment kiwi00.jpg is no longer available

He did a similar job on a Tiger.
The attachment kiwi00.jpg is no longer available


Very impressive. I guess it would be possible to have an open topped Stug 3, displaying all the wee internal treasures, which can still clank along under its RC power. That would be half display model, half RC.
I saw some absolutely brilliant models in the Swiss Military Museum at Full, a few years ago. So far as I can tell, they were made from scratch, and had no Trumpeter or other basis.
Whilst trawling the net for good illustrations of recoil, and elevation arrangements, for the StuG IV (none found.. :thumbdown: ), I came across this interesting build in German, but on a Dutch forum. I thought it would mentioning because the upper hull/casemate has been reworked from a StuG 111, and displays some really neat ideas.
http://www.battletanksnederland.nl/phpB ... f=9&t=7179
stugp4-17.jpg
StuG IV on StuG 111 casemate
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Postby Estnische » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:48 am

One of the things that will push this build along are the large number of aftermarket Mato parts available and very cheaply, for PzIII and Stug builders. Like a kid in the lolly shop, it was all I could do to stop myself saying "I’ll have one of everything!". Although I haven’t seen many of them built in the last two years, the range of extras indicates they must have been popular at some point in the past. I’ve only been around the hobby for the last two years.

The first thing I want to do is look at the lower hull. There is a significant difference on the Sturmi and that is that the Finns dispensed with the intricacies of schurzen, and instead went for plate armour bolted between the return rollers. This photo also shows a mounting bar for spare track link between the second and third rollers, but that was a post-war modification.

W01-01.jpg


As I detailed a few posts ago, the original Heng Long lower has the side hatches which would need to be removed prior to fitting the plates. But handily, they are omitted on the metal reinforced Taigen version.

W01-02.jpg


My last build was the Panther with which I vowed to stick with the plastic lower hull rather than convert to a Taigen metal reinforced version. This time though, the Taigen lower has so many advantages and extra metal bits attached that I am going with it. When I saw that Dave at Forgebear had them on special with 5.1 gearboxes included in the deal, I couldn’t go past it.

W01-03.jpg


Some plasticard panels will do for the plate armour and I was contemplating using some fine detail miniature nuts. Then as I was looking around my leftover bits and saw there are 24 bolts on each of my leftover old Panther wheels. A bit of gentle cutting had them off neatly and then I superglued them on. There is a hole drilled behind them that allowed the glue to go right through so hopefully that's enough to make them stay in place. Happy Days!

W01-04.jpg
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