Dragon 1/35 Marder III ausf M (initial production)

KIT: Dragon 1/35 Marder III ausf M (initial production)
KIT #: 6464
DECALS: Seven options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Even in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht already felt the need for a more mobile and more powerful anti-tank solution than the existing towed anti-tank guns or tank destroyers like the Panzerjäger I. This need became urgent in late 1941, with the appearance of the new Soviet tanks like the T-34 and Kliment Voroshilov.

As an interim solution, it was decided to use both obsolete tanks like the Panzer II and captured vehicles like the Lorraine as the base for makeshift tank destroyers. The result was the Marder series, which were armed with either the 75 mm PaK 40 anti-tank guns or the Russian 76.2mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field gun, of which large numbers had been captured.

While the Panzer 38(t) had largely become obsolete as a tank in early 1942, it was still an excellent platform for adaptation into a tank destroyer, among other roles. Since the Soviet 76.2 mm field gun was captured in large quantities, the decision was made to mate this gun to the Panzer 38(t).

To do so, the turret and upper superstructure of the Panzer 38 were removed and a new superstructure was bolted on to the chassis. The upper part, which housed the gun, was open at the top and back and only lightly armoured. Armour protection overall ranged from 10 to 50 mm. A major disadvantage of this variant was its high silhouette, which made it more vulnerable to enemy fire.

The now-called 7.62 cm PaK 36(r) was rechambered to be able to use standard German 75 mm ammunition, of which 30 rounds could be carried inside the vehicle. Apart from the main gun, there was a 7.92 mm machine gun mounted in the hull.

This tank destroyer was put into production as the Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm PaK 36(r), Sd.Kfz. 139. A total of 363 of this Marder III variant were built from April 1942 to 1943.

Marder III Ausf.M, Sd.Kfz. 138, the subject of this kit:

The last Marder III variant was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. M (with Ausf. M standing for Mittelmotor (middle engine)), again armed with the 75 mm PaK 40 anti-tank gun. In this variant, the gun and fighting compartment were located at the rear. Unlike in the previous two Marder IIIs, this compartment was closed at the rear, though still open-topped. It could only carry 27 rounds of ammunition. The Ausf. M did not carry a machinegun in its hull, instead a MG 34 or MG 42 was carried by the crew.

The Ausf. M was the variant which was produced in the largest numbers, some 975 vehicles being manufactured in 1943 and early 1944. Its full name was the Panzerjäger 38(t) mit 7.5 cm PaK 40/3 Ausf.M, Sd.Kfz. 138.



This is another of Dragon's superlative 'Smart Kit' offerings that includes everything you need to make a quality reproduction right from the box. As usual, there are sprues from a number of different kits as well as those designed specifically for this one included in a very full box. Allow me to pinch the specifics from Dragon to describe what you get:

Fighting Compartment:
- Injection armor plates in "Ultra Slim" thickness
- Roof of fighting compartment comes with/different bolt details
- Full interior detail for fighting compartment Shell racks finely made
- Option of showing ammunition rounds in rack
- Periscope made from clear parts
- Handrail accurately reproduced
- Detailed radio unit
- Weather tarp support with the fine detail reproduced


- Workable breech
- Gun travel lock reproduced w/crisp detail
- New gun shield and recoil guards for PaK40 that traverses and elevates
- Gun shield is produced by 3-directional slide molds

Upper Hull:

- Delicate detailed lower mount for PaK 40/3
- Perforated storage box finely made from individual parts
- Upper hull rendered with delicate detail
- Engine deck cover can be assembled open/closed

Lower Hull, Suspension & Wheels:

- New mud flap represented by photo-etched parts

- Slide-molded one-piece chassis with delicate details
- The mud flap and rear panel can be assembled optional
- New external exhaust pipe w/photo-etched
exhaust cover
- Engine compartment rear panel is sharply detailed
- Lower-hull frontal armor has crisp detail
- Engine exhibits delicate details thanks to separate parts
- Two optional types of sprocket
- Sprocket and idler wheels accurately tooled
- Road wheels and suspension with crisp detail


- Bonus perforated storage box made from photo-etched parts

- Two types of plastic ammunition shell cases, ammo
- cases with decal marking
- Magic tracks w/casting-number details embossed on every link
- New Cartograf decal

As you can see a lot of detail as properly befits a kit with over 600 parts. Markings are supplied for seven vehicles in a variety of markings schemes. The two whitewashed tanks are from Italy in 1943 and Jg.Abt 113 in Russia during 1944. A captured version in British markings  is provided as well as one from 12 PzDiv in France during 1944. The others are from the popular 'unidentified unit', most from Russia in 1943/44.


Another great kit from the increasing Dragon stable of finely detailed armor models.

July 2008

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can get yours today from your local shop or order direct from the above link.

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

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