Dragon 1/35 Marder II (mid-production)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
During the very first days of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans were shocked to encounter Soviet T-34 medium tanks and KV heavy tanks. Although the Wehrmacht succeeded in most operations due to superior tactics, morale, and supply, it had few anti-tank weapons capable of successfully engaging these vehicles at normal ranges. An urgent need arose for a more mobile and powerful anti-tank weapon than the existing towed anti-tank guns or tank destroyers like the Panzerjäger I.
Among a series of solutions, it was decided to use light tanks like the Panzer II and captured vehicles like the Lorraine Schlepper as the basis for makeshift tank destroyers. The result was the Marder series, which were armed with either the new 7.5 cm Pak 40 anti-tank guns or captured Soviet 7.62 cm F-22 Model 1936 field guns, large numbers of which had been acquired early in the war.
The Marder II came in two major versions. The first version Marder II (Sd.Kfz. 132) was based on the light Panzer II Ausf. D/E andFlammpanzer II chassis with Christie suspension. It was armed with captured Soviet 7.62 cm guns, re-chambered to accept German 7.5 cm Pak 40 ammunition, which improved its penetrative capabilities. These early Marder IIs had a very high silhouette (2.60 m high), thin armor of only 30 mm (front) and 10 to 15 mm (sides). There was no armour on the top or rear, leaving the crew with very little protection. Alkett and Wegmann produced 201 Marder II (Sd. Kfz. 132) from early 1942 to early 1943.
The second version Marder II (Sd.Kfz. 131) was based on Panzer II Ausf. A to C removed from active service but later also newly produced Ausf. F chassis were used. This Marder II had a redesigned (widened) fighting compartment and used the German 75 mm Pak 40 anti-tank gun. The silhouette was lowered by about 40 cm to 2.20 m, but the armor was thin and the compartment was open to the top and rear, as in Sd. Kfz. 132. FAMO, MAN and Daimler-Benz produced 576 Marder II (Sd.Kfz. 131) conversions from June 1942 to Mid 1943. 75 more were converted (probably by FAMO only) from mid 1943 to early 1944 when the last Panzer IIs were taken out of active service.
The various Marder IIs fought on all fronts of the war, mainly at the Eastern Front.
The Marder IIs were used by the Panzerjäger Abteilungen of the Panzer divisions of both the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, as well as several Luftwaffe units.
The Marder's weaknesses were mainly related to survivability. The combination of a high silhouette and open-top fighting compartment made them vulnerable to indirect artillery fire, shrapnel, and grenades. The armor was also quite thin, making them vulnerable to enemy tanks or infantry.
The Marders were not assault vehicles or tank substitutes; the open top meant that operations in urban areas or other close-combat situations were very risky. They were best employed in defensive or overwatch roles. Despite their weaknesses they were much more effective than the towed antitank guns they replaced.
This particular kit is the PaK 40 armed version. Dragon has used this chassis for a considerable number of vehicles and this one adds to that growing list. Since this is a Smart Kit, you get individual track links, which make up a goodly portion of the 650 parts in this one. I like that the right and left side links are different shades of grey. Helps when building them up. As usual, there are some bits not used and the set comes with three nicely done photo etch frets. You also get ammo cases and ammunition to go along with the vehicle. Below is a full list of features courtesy of Dragon.
- Newly tooled stowage box included
- Fighting-compartment side armor reproduced
- OVM arrangement for Marder II Mid Production
- Accurate upper hull w/fenders and engine deck in full detail
- Fully detailed hull bottom
- Fighting-compartment interior arrangement for Mader II
- Ammunition boxes w/bolt detail specific to Mid Production
- Driver's hatch can be assembled open or closed
- Photo-etched muffler guard
- Gun travel lock for Marder II Mid Production
- Suspension system unique to Mid Production
- Fighting-compartment periscopes can be assembled in raised or lowered positions
- Driver's vision port w/interior detail
- Driver's controls recreated in fine detail
- Double-layer ultra-thin gun shield w/rivets
- Driver's vision can be assembled open or closed
- Slide-molded "armor spacers"
- Recoil guard for PaK40 included
- Detailed breech can be assembled open or closed
- Authentic ZF SSG46 Aphon transmission components w/transmission housing
- Instrument panel included
- Road wheels finely detailed
- Two types of fully detailed drive sprockets
- Three types of detailed idler wheels
- Two types of plastic ammunition, shell, casings, ammo tubes (open/closed) and wooden ammo cases w/stencil decals
- Detailed injection-molded on-vehicle tools w/brackets
- Additional on-vehicle tools without brackets
- Three kinds of slide-molded muzzle brakes
- Aluminum gun barrel
- Magic Tracks reproduced with crisp detail
Markings, such as they are, are provided for four vehicles. First is with 3/PzJgAbt 561 in Russia during 1943 with the green splotches. In fact, they are all eastern front vehicles. The all tan one and the one with green and brown splotches are from unidentified units. The overall panzer grey one is from 543 Panzerjaeger Abt/3 Panzer Division in 1942. The decal sheet is nicely printed and the box art vehicle has some artwork on it, which is a nice touch.
Those wanting to do a mid-production Marder II now no longer have to resort to aftermarket as Dragon has provided all you need in one box. It is sure to make into a very nicely done model.
February 2013 Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the peview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the peview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page