|KIT:||RPM 1/35 SdKfz 135/1|
|PRICE:||$37.98 (33.96 at Squadron)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Marder 1 Sd.kfz.135, was conceived for a number of very practical reasons. The first was due to the large numbers of captured AFV that had fallen into German hands by the end of the battle for France. Many of these vehicles were mechanically sound, and the high command looked for possible uses for them.
The second reason lay in the Eastern Front, where by the end of 41 the German army saw the need for faster and larger anti-tank guns that could keep pace with the Panzer corps' across difficult terrain and terrible weather conditions. Russia at this time relied heavily on train and horse, with only a small road network. Trucks designed for European war quickly broke or bogged down, engines froze and cracked in the plunging temperatures, which could reach a numbing -50c and worse. European horses simply froze and died in these conditions. The third reason lay in the large numbers of soviet 76.2mm AT guns that had fallen to the Werhmacht in the initial Russian assault.
A solution to all these conditions was the Marder series of vehicles, beginning with the Marder 1, though in fact Marder 1s',2s', and 3s' were produced at about the same times ( the different designations came more from the vehicles used than from any distinct time line).
The Marder 1 therefore was based on captured French vehicles; Soma's, Hotchkiss and a number of others. All these vehicles were armed with various types of the German 75mm Pak 40. The basic method was to remove the turret and replace it with a lightly armored box to house the gun. Some 200 such vehicles were built in 1942.
The box was of little use against any thing but small arms fire, but these vehicles did supply mobile firepower and although only intended as a stop gap, many Marders remained in service until the end of the war.
History found using Google
RPM has made a number of very interesting armor kits and this certainly adds to that list. Molded in medium and light grey plastic with quite good detailing, the kit is free of flash. There are the usual situations with ejector pin marks and sink areas, the latter being more than I'd like to see, with most of the thicker parts showing some degree or another of 'sinkage'. However, it is nothing that any competent builder couldn't take care of during normal construction.
Detail is quite good without it being excessively fiddly. The tracks provided are the usual vinyl material which some prefer to separate links. Those wanting more detail in this area will undoubtedly opt for an aftermarket set.
Instructions are quite good, though entirely in Polish. There are some notes in there about a few parts, but I'm not sure if they are wanting them painted or removed. There is no color guide provided so the modeler is pretty well left to his own devices and experience to determine that information. The box art should provide sufficient information. Decals are provided for three vehicles; one from the 155 Panzer Artillery Regiment, 21 Panzer Division in Normandy during 1944; another from the 125 Panzer Artillery Regiment of the same division at the same time; and finally one from the 192 Panzer Artillery Regiment, again, same division, same time. The decals are a bit unusual in that they covered by a single carrier. However, they are well printed and the instructions do show where they go.
Overall it looks like a very nice kit that will make into a most interesting model. For sure it will be something a bit different from the usual run of the mill armor kit.
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