The AFV Club Sturmtiger was the the latest 35th kit of this famous tank which was previously done by Tamiya and Italeri some time ago.
A quick comparison between these manufacturers can be found here (courtesy of PMMS):
Okay I have to confess that I am a nut for model kits that have interiors/engines in them. If it’s an aircraft I’ll love to open up the doors/panels to show the engines and interior areas, and it’s the same in tanks I like to show the fighting compartments and the engine bay as much as possible. So when AFV Club announced that they are going to release a separate Interior kit for their Sturmtiger I was so excited! But how did they fare up?
IMO the AFV Stumtiger #35103 generally is a well done kit. Details are good with no apparent flash visible. The hull comes in boxy one-piece part but the roof is separate so you can leave it off to show the interior. All the engine hatches at the rear deck can be left open or closed, but unlike the DML Tigers, AFV doesn’t include the radiators and fuel tanks which should be visible under the engine deck PE screens. The best part of the kit is the 380mm mortar which includes a highly-detailed breech, made up of nearly 20 parts, including a PE rifling sheet to be rolled inside the barrel. The rubber-band tracks are nice but I prefer indy tracks for better sag detail.
However I was a bit disappointed with AFV’s Interior set #35S40. The kit includes 1) PE for the torsion bar brackets, 2) a large clear styrene part for the upper hull, and 3) a nice resin set for transmission/driver’s compartment. IMO the first 2 items are useless: the torsion bar brackets can’t be seen when you put the floor plate of the fighting compartment on them , while item 2 is just plain gimmicky as it totally lack any detail. Item 3 is ok but it’s a tight fit once you try installing the glacis plate on it. In the end I have to shave off the bottom part of the transmission just to fit it in.
On the other hand, the styrene parts of the interior are quite handy and nicely detailed, though some of the bits are really tiny including some details on the driver’s vision slits. However the parts that make the difference are the loading tray and storage racks (for the 380mm shells) which are very well represented.
That said, there are also two serious omissions in the interior kit. Firstly there is no firewall between the fighting compartment and the empty engine bay so you’ll get the VERY obvious gap if you want to show the interior. Secondly what’s the use of an interior kit if you don’t include the shells? Come on, even styrene shells will do! In the end I managed to get a set of tamiya’s (excellent) aluminum shells. Bad move on AFV Club’s part.
In a summary, the sturmtiger kit is higly recommended - very good and nicely detailed though it could be improved by using PE fenders and indy tracks. However, unless you managed to find some 380mm shells and do some scratchbuilding on the firewall, better give the separate Interior kit a miss.
Some W-I-P shots:
Driver’s compartment is assembled/unpainted but not yet glued to hull floor. You can see the loading tray (in the middle) and storage racks attached to the inner hull wall plates. All these items can be found only in the Interior set. (notice the gap where the firewall is supposed to be)
Upper rear view. The boxy top hull (from the original kit) is dry-fitted onto the interior wall plates. Notice the highly detailed mortar breech (also from the original kit). Fit is generally good.
Upper front view. The PE rifling has not yet been inserted into the barrel.
More progress pics coming later, thanks for viewing.