Tamiya 1/48 Marder III ausf M
KIT #: 32568
PRICE: $34.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Jonathan Prestidge


From the kit instructions: “During WWII, Germany produced many open-topped tank destroyers using the chassis of obsolete tanks. Among these was the Marder III series, which was based on the 38(t) tank made by the Czech company CKD (later BMM) and developed to counter Russian T-34 and KV-1 tanks. Initial variants were armed with the PaK 36(r), a modified Russian 7.62cm anti-tank gun, and served well in Russia and North Africa. The German military then ordered BMM to develop a tank destroyer based on the 38(t) tank that would be armed with the new PaK 40/3 7.5cm gun, resulting in the Marder III Ausf.H in autumn of 1942. The series then culminated in the Ausf.M, which differed from the earlier Ausf.H by having its engine moved to the center (“Mitte” in German, hence the M designation) and its fighting compartment relocated to the rear. This design not only improved ease of production and operation, but it also allowed the lower profile fighting compartment to be surrounded by armor plates, thereby enhancing crew protection. The PaK 40/3 could fire either armor-piercing or high-explosive shells, and 27 rounds were carried. Between May 1943 and May 1944, a total of 942 Ausf.M were produced and they were the mainstay of tank destroyer units on all fronts. Late-production versions built from the end of 1943 featured a welded steel driver’s hood rather than a cast metal one, as well as different side engine intake cover and exhaust layouts.”


Tamiya’s 1/48th Marder III Ausf.M is kit No. 68 in their Military Miniatures series. The instructions are well printed and easy to follow. The engineering of the Tamiya Marder III is superb. This kit is has more petite detail parts than some of the other kits in this line.  The kit is crisply molded in tan plastic and there is almost no flash on the kit parts. A well molded, five piece commander figure is included. The kit decals are thin, in register, and provide markings for three European tank destroyers. There are metal chassis weights and nice link and length tracks with the longer portions pre-formed, minimizing assembly time. Also included are eight rounds of ammo for the main gun – four spent and four unspent.


The open nature of this tank destroyer meant that I had to carefully plan my painting, weathering and construction. Since I had to paint and weather the interior prior to assembly, I deviated quite a bit from the kit’s instruction sequence. I built the kit in sub-assemblies: the chassis decking, the gun, and the armored sides of the superstructure. I left the wheels and tracks off until after painting for ease of weathering. The excellent fit of the parts, minimal cleanup, and excellent engineering really made for a rewarding build. After about seven hours of building, test fitting, and planning I had most of the parts cleaned up and ready for paint.


 Rather than decide upon one of the kit Marders, I chose to model a Marder III Ausf.M on the Eastern front that I had a picture of. Because it had few markings, I was able to use the kit decals for my Marder. First, everything was airbrushed with Model Master Acryl Sandgelb RLM 79 thinned with Future. Thinning with Future helped the paints spray better and the satin finish was better suited to washes/filters. Detail painting of the interior, wheels, gun, tools, etc. was then finished.

 I started the weathering process by applying a thin, black, soapy water filter/wash. I went section by section, using a Q-tip to remove some of the wash and to streak it unevenly. I then dry-brushed some thinned RLM 79 to accent detail and further vary tone.

 At this time I assembled the chassis, wheels, and crew compartment. I made sure to install the 75mm gun prior to installing the armor plate on either side. I had no fit issues at all with this kit. It fit so well in fact, I was able to assemble the entire chassis and gun without glue while dry-fitting. I buffed the areas where the few decals were located and applied them without my usual Future base. They behaved perfectly with no silvering and settled nicely with a bit of MicroSol.  

 The unassembled tracks were brush-painted dark gray next. They were dry-brushed with Testors oil-based silver prior to installation and weathering. Once the tracks were installed they were given a wash. Then the tracks and chassis were strategically dry-brushed with Italian Hazel Tan paint to approximate the dusty conditions in the photo I had. A good picture of the Marder that I was modeling proved invaluable during the weathering process.

 I then air-brushed Poly Scale Flat Clear mixed with a few drops of Hazel Tan over the entire tank. I used pastels to further dirty the Marder. I added a stretched sprue antennae, tarp posts, roll bar, and other details at this time. Finally, I assembled and painted the figure and shells.


 I love the way Tamiya’s Marder III Ausf.M turned out! It compares nicely with photos of the original (looks like the real thing). The finished model was a step above the level of detail found in some other Tamiya 1/48th armor kits. Consequently, construction of the Marder III demanded a higher level of patience, planning, and finesse than other kits in this line. Once again, Tamiya’s smart engineering, terrific fit, and beautiful moldings resulted in a great looking finished product. My only gripe was that there was no way to display the shells in their holders – they don’t fit. Also, there was no reference to the shells in the assembly sequence other than a painting guide. Regardless, I really enjoyed Tamiya’s small scale Marder III. Highly recommended for those with a few armor kits under their belt!  

 Jonathan Prestidge

May 2014

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page