A few days ago, I posted a poll here to decide what my next tank review would be. A lot of you guys voted for the STB-1, so here we go! I love to write these reviews, and I hope it helps you out!
"What makes me qualified to write this review?" you might be asking. I believe that I am most certainly not the best player around, but I am free to play and do decently in every tank I play in. If you would like to view my stat card, here it is:
I'll do this review in sections: Gun, Armor, Mobility, Miscellaneous, My setup, Grind, Comparison and Competitiveness, Conclusion
Gun: The gun is one of the best things about the STB-1. Sporting 360 alpha damage, penetration of 258 with standard rounds and 330 with premium rounds, a base rate of fire of 8.81 rounds per minute, and module damage greater than the 100mm guns found on the soviet mediums with a similar rate of fire, this gun is absolutely splendid. When using the 14 degrees of gun depression you can obtain when using the hydropneumatic suspension in conjunction with the 8 degrees of gun depression provided by the turret, this gun becomes a flexible and deadly beast. While the gun handling certainly is not the best, with vertical stabilizers and brothers in arms, it becomes manageable. The aim time of 1.92 seconds helps reel in whatever "blooming" takes place. Plus, with such a fast rate of fire and splendid DPM, missing a shot is not the end of the world. I would say that the worst aspect of the gun on the STB is the shell velocity. The AP rounds have a shell velocity of 1185 m/s, quite low for a tier 10 medium. The HEAT shells have a shell velocity of 950, which is also very slow. This makes hitting targets at range difficult, but once you get used to it, it becomes much easier. Overall, the gun is very good, with the second-best DPM among all tier 10 mediums, decent gun handling, and decent pen.
Armor: The armor on the STB-1 is a mixed bag. When facing the STB from the front, the bottom part of the frontal plate can be easily penetrated by 258mm of pen, as shown in the visual below. The upper frontal plate in an autobounce, but the driver's hatch on the right can be easily penned by all guns you will face, The turret is immune to penetrations except for the cupola on the top. When not using gun depression, the STB-1 has a good armor profile, but not as great as other mediums. Another thing worth noting is that the STB-1 has 35mm of side armor, sufficient to ricochet 105mm guns and lower. However, any gun larger in caliber will overmatch easily. The STB-1 also has weak roof armor, making it very susceptible to artillery hits and pens.
When using the 14 degrees of gun depression, the STB becomes unstoppable. The turret remains a hard target to pen, ad the whole upper plate becomes an autobounce. Note that the picture below shows only 8 degrees of gun depression, however, because the hydropneumatic suspension tilts the whole tank forwards and backward, it simulates 14 degrees of gun depression.
In summary, the armor of the STB is good, but certainly not the best, View it as something to help you use the 14 degrees of gun depression, not as something to be relied on. And if you start taking artillery fire, run!
Mobility: Quite nice. The top speed of 50 km/h is not the best but is most definitely serviceable. Also, the power-to-weight ratio of 25.4 allows the tank to accelerate quickly and keep speed over rough terrain. Note that the hydropneumatic suspension does not activate until you drop below 10km/h. It takes some getting used to, but it is not hard to master. Overall, the mobility is nice but not great, while the acceleration is splendid.
Miscellaneous: 400 meters of view range is below average, but still serviceable. The camo is good, but not great. Turret traverse and tank traverse are good. See what I'm getting at here? The STB-1 is average in every respect other than speed, turret armor, and gun performance, so you have to use these three traits to their maximum effect if you want to win. Note that the commander is also the radio operator, which makes getting both situ aware and recon difficult.
My Setup: I am completely free to play, but I decided to fully pimp this tank out just to see what I could get from it. I have a four-skill crew with BiA, Camo, Recon, Situational awareness, Snap shot, and smooth ride. I use upgraded bounty rammer, stabilizer, and bond vents as equipment, also using a rammer directive. I also use food. This results in me losing credit every battle, but I can grind 3 battles worth of credit loss in one good game in my T26E5 patriot, which I bought with bonds. Here is a snapshot of my tank, fully kitted out but without the rammer directive. With the directive, the DPM would be 4133. Over 4k DPM??!! Crazy!
Grind: Not half bad. Only 40% bad. Because tiers 6 and 7 are bad, while the others are good. The tier 6 Chi-to is not the best tank in the world, but it does have a good gun. The tier 7 is not the best tank in the world, but it has a three-round autoloader. When grinding these two tanks, I just like to think about the 4k DPM I'll have at tier 10. It makes everything bearable. Tier 8 is where things start to get spicy. The stock grind is horrid, but the second gun is actually ok. Fully upgraded, the tank has good DPM and camo, but is in general much worse than the Progetto 46. But I'm not surprised tbh, every tier 8 medium is worse. The tier 9's stock grind is horrible once again. You need to get the tracks before mounting any equipment or upgraded modules, and the stock turret is just bad. Once you get the tracks and the top turret, however, things improve drastically. You can now use the stock gun with 3003 base dpm to whittle down your opponents blisteringly quickly. This carries you through to the top gun, which is quite nice. The grind to the STB-1 is pretty easy from here, and this is further aided by the fact that Japanese blueprints and crew books are located on the sixth level of Holiday Ops, making getting 20 blueprints and 100k crew XP very EZ.
Comparison and Competitiveness: Compared to other tier 10 mediums, the STB-1 has a great gun and good turret armor, with great acceleration and good gun depression. However, the STB-1 falls behind in raw hull armoring, top speed, view range, and in some cases, camo. This is not a problem, however, as all of these can be mitigated by proper play. Rush to a hull-down position and dominate. Avoid brawls that expose your hull, but if forced to engage, use your DPM to shoot your way out. Run if arty targets you. I would feel comfortable playing this tank in ranked, as it is consistent and works on almost every map, much more than the Super Conq, for example. Clan wars may also use this tank for its raw damage output and decent turret armor against gold.
Conclusion: A good tank, great gun, turret, and acceleration. Compares well with other mediums, one of the best in the game. Provides a novel playstyle and is probably not going to be nerfed soon. Would definitely recommend it. If you have read this far, thank you so much! Have a noice day!