Monday, May 17, 2010

Project: 1/48 Marder IIIM

The Marder series of armored vehicles were a German effort to self-propel their anti-tank artillery. The very first vehicle in the series, the Marder I, mounted a Czech 47mm anti-tank gun on a Panzer I chassis, and would set the stage for the shape these vehicles would take. The Marder II series mounted the captured 76.2mm (rebored for 75mm) Soviet field gun, while the Marder III series mounted the reliable 75mm PAK 40 anti-tank gun. A variety of chassis were used for both the Marder II and III, but mostly consisting of the Panzer II and the Panzer 38(t). The "M" variant was the final form these vehicles would take, with the engine mounted in the middle of the vehicle, and the fighting compartment moved to the rear. This allowed for a much larger fighting compartment and thus better "fightability."

Tamiya's model depicts the Marder IIIM, the final type of this vehicle series. Overall the kit moldings are nothing short of spectacular, with a great amount of detail. More importantly, however, is the hull. Gone are the clunky cast metal hull tubs, and instead this area is depicted in multi-part plastic instead, with a commensurate increase in detail. There are metal weights supplied to give the model "heft," but in my opinion this feature is absolutely useless and adds nothing to the kit (an artifact of the "collectibles" market were "heft" is perceived as having better quality, despite the fact this has no basis in reality).

Also of note is the very nice PAK 40 75mm L/46. This also has loads of detail, and would make a nice basis for towed PAK 40 (which would only need a carriage -- hint to Tamiya). Finally, the kit includes a single figure, which like many Tamiya figures is a bit on the small side. I will most likely assemble it, but depending on final measurements I may or may not actually use it.

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