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Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III Ausf.M (03316) 1:72


Mike
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Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III Ausf.M (03316)

1:72 Revell

 

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Unlike the original Marder, the Marder II was based upon the chassis of the Panzer II. The German engineers mounted a 75 mm Pak 40 anti-tank gun (131) or captured Russian Pak 36(r) (132) onto a new upper hull, with a large angular shroud installed around the sides and rear of the gun and its crew. It was small and slightly out of proportion like its forebear, with the later Sd.Kfz.131 that sported the German gun having a lower silhouette and wider fighting compartment, but still with poor protection that was to plague it throughout its service life, as would the open-topped casemate that was bitingly cold in the winter months on the Eastern front, which is where the majority of them were sent.

 

Later on it was replaced by a Marder III that was built on the Czech designed Panzer 38(T) chassis that was a little better and more suited to the role.  The Ausf.M was the last of the variants of the type to see service, having the engine in the centre of the hull that gave it a lower profile and kept the crew a little safer.  Due to the shortages of gasoline toward the end of the war, Marders and other German vehicles were sometimes converted to use “wood gas”, which was a common petrol substitute during the war, necessitating the carriage of bottles of compressed gas on the superstructure.  That must have made a very tempting target indeed!

 

The Kit

This kit shares a few sprues with the Grille that we reviewed recently, so it’s safe to say that it is a reboxing of a Toxco kit from the 2010s.  Like its stable-mate, it is well-detailed and has a high part count that should result in a good model for the scale.  Inside the end-opening box are five sprues of grey styrene, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages.

 

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Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up from individual panels with two internal bulkheads that support the sides of the vehicle, plus a tread-plated floor, all of which is painted dark yellow as it forms the crew compartment.  The road wheels are each individual parts with moulded-in tyres, while the drive sprockets and idler wheels are each two parts.  They are applied to the sides of the hull after adding the two leaf-springed bogies and a solitary return roller to per side.  The hull roof then gets glued in place with a separate driver’s hatch surround fitted around the aperture, and the two ¾ length fenders on the hull sides plus the previously mentioned tread-plated crew floor.

 

Like its stable-mate it has styrene tracks that are full length, and wrap around the wheels after bending to shape, then they are glued into a continuous run.  A little heat might assist with the bending of the tracks around the end of the runs, if they prove tricky.  Even a sunny windowsill or steam off a kettle might assist.  Additional track lengths are applied to the lower glacis plate on a bracket alongside the headlights, convoy light, travel-lock for the barrel, and a plate to the side of the driver’s compartment.  The two gas cylinders with their bases and moulded-in straps are fixed to the plate in the top-down fashion, which must have been such a comfort to the driver in the next box over.  Pioneer tools are placed all over the front of the hull, including axe, shovel, jack block, rods and other stowage, then the crew compartment sides are prepared with inner steps and stacks of ammunition on each wall, a couple of jump-seats and the MG42 machine gun that replaced the earlier coax and some radio gear.

 

The 75mm gun is based on the Pak40, with a slide-moulded hollow muzzle and the basics of the breech, which is augmented by additional parts, then joined by the cradle, and the trunnions with elevation mechanism and sighting gear, plus a conical inner shield.  The subassembly can then be inserted into the front of the fighting compartment and is enclosed by the sidewall assemblies and the castellated aft bulkhead that overhangs the rear of the hull.  A fold-down step, exhaust muffler, towing hooks and rear lights are added around the back, and a C-shaped cross-brace keeps the sides steady, while also banging the heads of the taller crew members.  The exhaust pipe exits the middle of the hull and snakes around to the muffler at the rear, an aerial mast and two upstands are fixed to the compartment sides, then the final two parts are the short upstanding armour panels with vision ports that allow the crew to see forward without putting their heads over the shield and into danger.

 

 

Markings

There are two decal options on the sheet, both on a base of dark yellow (dunkelgelb), the first with a random pattern of green stripes oversprayed, the second camouflaged with clouds of grey and green over the surface.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III, unknown unit & location, 1944
  • Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III, unknown unit, Ostfront, 1945

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Decals are by Zanetti, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

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Conclusion

Another well-detailed small-scale model of this less well-known tank destroyer that saw hard service throughout the war, especially in the later days on the Eastern front.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Currently, Revell are unable to ship to the UK from their online shop due to recent changes in import regulations, but there are many shops stocking their products where you can pick up the kits either in the flesh or online.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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