Tamiya 1/48 Marder III ausf M
|PRICE:||$31.00 MSRP ($23.95 at www.greatmodels.com)|
|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.
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.
Tamiya wants to ensure that you gets your parts with minimal scratches so bags all separate sprues in their own bags. Any duplicated sprues are together. Deciding on not providing a cast metal hull, Tamiya has included six weights that are to be screwed to the interior bottom of the hull to provide that weight.
The tan plastic is as superbly molded as we have come to expect from Tamiya. The tracks are link and run type with slight sag already molded into the upper run. I was impressed by the detail provided for the gun area. The shell racks are all drilled out and while not as thin as photo etch, are still quite well done. A most complete PaK 40/3 anti-tank gun is provided and is very nicely detailed. Tamiya also provides a figure to pose with the completed model.
Instructions are quite well done and continue the irritating habit of only providing Tamiya paint references. There are 19 construction steps with smaller detail drawings to help with installing some of the bits. Markings are provided for two vehicles. One is a Panzer Yellow tank from Belgium in 1944 while the second is in a blotch green/brown camouflage pattern also from Belgium in 1944. The box art tank in a variegated pattern of green and brown was operated in the Netherlands in 1945.
Another superb addition to a growing line of nice and increasingly expensive smallish scale armor kits. However, when one wants something from one of the best, one should expect to pony up for it.
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.
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