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Tide of Iron: Stalingrad is a very decent expansion, introducing a compelling setting, interesting new mechanics and new level of campaign play. The one thing it provides little of is new models. The only really new addition in this respect is a grand total of four T-70 Soviet light tanks. All other models were present in previous sets – Soviet Infantry (in Fury of the Bear), T-34 tanks (likewise), StuG IIIs (Next Wave core set and Normandy) and Panzer IIIs (Days of the Fox)*. The set even provides rules for an additional vehicle type – the sIG 33B – but no model for it.
Now, the rules state that you use the StuG III models as proxies but this throws up two issues:
- you cannot use both in the same scenario (and one of the scenarios from the 1A website, the Longest Ridge, calls for that),
- the Stug III looked rather different than the sIG 33B, despite using the same hull.
With this in mind I decided to make my own models to represent the sIG 33B which would be visually distinctive from the StuG III. The solution I went for has two advantages:
- is quick and easy to make,
- requires no parts from outside of the ToI range (you need a Panther and a StuG III).
Historical accuracy disclaimer. I do realise that the end result still does not look exactly like the sIG 33B did. But it is a lot closer to that and as a gaming piece serves its purpose very well.
Now, I didn’t think to take any pictures while making the models so I can only show the finished result:
Always be careful when using modelling tools and cut away from your fingers!
1. Remove a turret from a Panther tank. You will need a thin, tough piece of metal (like a penknife blade or a sturdy file) to leverage the turret upwards. This will require some pressure but is relatively easy to accomplish since the peg holding the turret in place is rather short.
2. Cut away the gun barrel (including the mounting) and file down any rough area this may create.
3. Remove the gun from a StuG III. This is the most difficult step as the guns are attached firmly and it is very easy to damage and/or scratch the hull in the process. I used a pair of fine clippers and still managed to mess up the hull pretty badly.
4. Once the gun is removed, cut away the thin part. File down the other end (the one by which it was previously attached to the StuG) to obtain a smooth surface.
5. Glue what remained of the StuG gun (the thick part you just filed) to the Panther turret where its previous gun used to be.
6. File the top of the StuG flat. You only need to flatten the area in the centre of the hull, leave the hatches/valves at the rear of the hull in place. This requires some effort since the plastic is rather soft and ‘rubbery’. You may want to begin by cutting away the larger bits (such as the hatch) with a pair of clippers.
7. Finally, glue the modified Panther turret to the area jus just filed down and you’re done!
I hope this short guide helps you customise your set and perhaps inspires you to make your own mods. The one advantage of the fact that ToI expansions keep giving you the same models over and over is that you start to have more kicking around than you’ll ever need, so you can experiment using the spares.
Thanks for reading,
*Thankfully, there were no Panther tanks in Stalingrad, making it unique among the other expansions.