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Monday, April 24, 2017

Bolt Action: DAK converted Panzer III SPG

15 cm sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H

The 15 cm sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H is a very interesting and unique vehicle. As far as I have been able to find there was only ever one of these frankensteins ever built. The conversion was done in the field by some resourceful German soldiers during the fighting in North Africa. The DAK's need for mobile artillery was never really met by what it was sent from Germany, as such many diffrent ways were tried in order to make up this shortfall. The  sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H was one such desperate measure, one of Rommels ”funnies”. It is believed that it was used by the German Afrika Korps Schützen-Regiment.200 (90 leichte Infanterie-Division) attached to the s.I.G Kompanie (Sfl.)708 between 1942-1943 and first saw action in September 1942.

What follows is a rough step by step guide on how I made my own sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H. It can also be a good idea to search around on the internet since there are a lot of good guides and hobby material already out there. My main reference, apart from the historical photos, was an amazing forum post I found here.

1) As a basis for the conversion I used a plastic Panzer III kit from Warlord Games. Using clippers and a hobby knife I made a square hole in the upper part of the panzer III hull.

2) I then assembled the tracks following the instructions that came with the original kit, removed the bow machine gun and added a millimeter thick piece of plasticard to the front.
3) I also added some ”guides” to the lower part of the hull for the new interior panels I was going to add in the next step.
4) And so the panels were also added! The boxes in the bottom are simply there to work as spacers for the floor in the new crew compartment.
 5) Floor added.
6) Next in line was the new ”armored” sides of the crew compartment. Note the areas marked with red. These are places where I cut slats in the plasticard to allow it to sit in place over the original plastic kits structure.
 7) I then finished of the crew compartment with two smaller front panels.
8) I also built a box and an axe to fit to the sides of the crew compartment. The box was made by cutting up three pieces of square plasticard rod to the correct length and then gluing them together one atop the other. Once that was done I covered the sides with thin plasticard and made the ”lid” by cutting some 90 degree angled plasticard down to size.
9) I then built the gunshield. Now I must apologize here for the lack of images, unfortunately I got a little caught up in the hobby part and forgot to take pictures along the way. Hopefully anyone inclined to replicate my work will still be able to follow along. I made three pieces of plasticard. I first drew and then cut out the shape for the gun. I then cut the other two pieces of plasticard down to form the outer parts and sides of the gunshield. The angular curving was achieved by making two straight and shallow cuts in the plasticard (marked in red below) and then bending to shape. Be carefull not to snap off the plasticard. Finally I glued all the pieces together and mounted the gunshield.
10) I also re-enforced these bends on the backside of the gunshield.
11) The last big step was the addition of the ”cage” to hold the stowage collected on the rear deck of the vehicle. This was constructed using an asortment of square plasticard rod and 90 degree plasticard cut into four small pieces
12) The gun and it's mount was then modified to fit into the vehicle. The wheel axels and the rearmost part was cut away as marked in red in the picture.

13) Tools and box mounted to the sides of the crew compartment. As well as some stowage made by Rubicon models added.
And so the build was completed!

Using it in Bolt Action

I will use this one as a proxy for a German Hummel. In other words a heavy howitzer on a open topped light tank chassis. It's not hard to figure out that the big gun can wreck some stuff and that the hull really isn't capable of taking much punishment in return. As such it's a vehicle which should be kept out of harms way and if in danger offence is it's best and probably only defense. The enemy can't hurt you if you've already turned them into a smoking hole in the ground. 

Once this beast has been painted and weathered. I will post some more pictures of it over at BAA so keep on the look out for that and happy hobbying till next time!

- Jakob

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