Tamiya 1/35 Marder III
During the Second World War, the Wehrmacht was quick to solve problems by combining various resources. One such problem was killing Russian armor from a safe distance and still be able to dash across the battlefield into the next optimum ambush position. One such solution was the Marder II, taking the proven 75mm PAK 40/2 gun and mounting it on a Panzer II chassis. Unfortunately, the Marder II was not very effective against the T-34.
As resources grew fewer and needs grew quickly, the Wehrmacht was also quick to recycle captured equipment. One of those solutions combined the Czechoslovakian-produced 38(t) tank chassis with modified 76.2mm cannons captured from the Russians. This new weapon would be used as a stop-gap until the upgraded German tanks could roll off the assembly lines and onto the front. And so the Marder III was born.
The Marder III kit is molded in finely detailed desert tan styrene. The kit contains five trees loaded with parts (only four trees are illustrated - there is a duplicate tree with the tank wheels and suspension). There are a few ejector pin marks on the larger pieces, but these appear to be on surfaces that won't be visible after assembly. The parts are absolutely clear of any flash.
One of the first things you should notice is the complete absence of any holes on the bottom of the hull. This is obviously a completely new tooling and there are no left-over holes that are found on older Tamiya armor kits (for motorization). The hull bottom is actually six parts. Detailed suspension parts are added to the hull assembly, followed by fenders and road wheels. It is evident that a some great engineering went into the design of this kit.
One interesting lapse - the kit would have you install the pioneering tools, boxes, barrel cleaning rods, etc., early in the process. You'll probably want to set these aside until final assembly.
In the assembly of the upper hull and side armor, Tamiya has nicely captured the ammunition storage on the vehicle - the Germans stowed a shell in just about every free nook and cranny on the vehicle.
The gun in a completely separate model that just happens to ride on top of the previously completed hull. The gun mechanism, breech, elevation and traverse mechanisms, armor plating, plumbing and even periscopes are all captured here. Once complete, the gun assembly drops into position on the hull and the gun barrel can be locked into the travel lock.
Two crew figures are also provided, though in a rather interesting pose. One is holding a round and looking back at whatever the other chap is pointing at.
Markings are provided for five examples:
7th Panzer Division, 42nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Russia 1944
19th Panzer Division, 19th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Russia 1942 (winter)
15th Panzer Division, 33rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, North Africa 1942
7th Panzer Division, 42nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Russia 1942
2nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Russia 1942
This kit is going to be another big hit for Tamiya. The level of detail in this kit will attract armor builders and even draw some new recruits once they lay eyes on it. I can easily recommend this kit to anyone.