By Rob Morgan
British WWII wargamers will for the next weeks have the chance of a 20mm German AFV of exceptional rarity and at a very decent price. The magazine Military Vehicles Issue Number 12 is available from most large newsagents, I found my copy in W.H. Smiths.
The model this month is that astonishing Sturmpanzer VI Sturmtiger, a 380mm (15”) rocket mortar on a well-armoured Tiger chassis, with a six-inch thick front armoured plate! The mortar was a German naval type, and developed originally for U-boats. The technical detail I’ve uncovered gives the capability of firing a 760 lb. shell over a maximum range of about 6,000 yards! The projectiles were to say the least big, and about a dozen could be carried into action; the hull top had a small crane for loading purposes. It wasn’t until late 1943 that the Sturmtiger was accepted for service, and only 18 of them were built in total.
So, to find one anywhere in action on the table top would be a rare delight. The model is exactly what you’d need, for a one-off. At a mere £5.99 a snip, you’d pay almost that for a plastic kit of a Tiger these days.
The model is dark sand and has dark brown and dark green patches; arguably suitable for the Ostfront, Italy or Normandy, where examples saw service, in very limited numbers, naturally. It’s nearer to 1/76th than 1/72nd, but of course my preference for the larger tanks ( JSII’s, King Tigers, etc) in my Ostfront set-up is the slightly larger scale, with the Pz IV’s, T-34’s the smaller tanks in 1/76th — it looks right.
Back in November 1966, in my collection there was a Sturmtiger conversion in that month’s Airfix Magazine, by Hilary Doyle: I made one, using a hefty block of wood, plasticard and a biro tube … the new all-metal addition to my set up’s much better!
Buy it while it’s around.
On the same track, again if you’re a British war gamer, The Works, that excellent discount bookshop has a small range of 1/72nd AFVs available in clear plastic boxes at £3.99 each, fully painted and well presented in metal. I found three locally, a French ( or German or Italian ) Somua, with vivid roundel markings; an Israeli Merkava and one of the new German tanks. The Somua’s particularly attractive, but three Merkava’s’for under £ 12 pounds is excellent value.