ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Marder II Mid Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 642 3; Sd.Kfz. 131 Panzerjaeger II fur Pak 40/2 ?Marder II? Mid Production;
797 parts (489 in grey styrene, 208 ?Magic Track? links, 96 etched bra ss, 3 clear styrene); pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: slightly reworked and improved 2006 kit; very complete interior and also open racks in the fighting compartment
Disadvantages: may have some accuracy issues
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German armor fans
    As I noted when the first kit came out in 2006, the Pzkw. II was a superio r vehicle to the Pzkw. I, but when introduced into combat was found to be o nly marginally better that that vehicle as a combat system. This was someth ing of a shame, for it was a fairly reliable chassis and quite handy. As a result, the Germans turned to using it for a chassis for self-propelled gun s, and it excelled in two of those variants ? the Marder II SP 7.5 cm ant itank gun and the Wespe SP 10.5 cm howitzer.
    The Marder II (Marder is the German name for the pine marten, which is a w easel on steroids ? five feet long from nose to tip of tail!), now design ated as the 7.5 cm Pak 40/2 auf Fahrgestelle Pzkw. II (Sf) or Sd.Kfz. 131, entered production in June 1942 and remained there until July 1943 when pro duction terminated in favor of the even more useful 10.5 cm Wespe SP howitz er. 576 Marder II guns were produced new and another 75 converted from Pzkw . II chassis. While new guns were on the late-model Ausf. F chassis, the co nversions used Ausf. c, A, B, C or F tank chassis.
    This kit is the DML version of the same version of the Marder II that Tami ya released over 30 years ago and also comes with the same markings for one of its options - ?Kohlenklau? (coal snatcher). This kit is portrayed a s a ?mid production? version but it would seem to simply make some mino r changes to the fighting compartment and adopt the later Ausf. F suspensio n components.
    As noted in 2006 Dragon was somewhat coy with all sprues for the Marder II labeled as such, but all of the running gear ones (D, E, F and G) unlabele d as they later showed up in their Ausf. F kit.
    What you get in the box are the same unmodified B, C and D sprues from the Pak 40 kit (no carriage) plus the Panzer II components and the unique Mard er II ones - a single new sprue of 12 parts covers the primary changes to t he vehicle. Sprue A covers the upper hull and fenders, B the interior and r acks, C the interior of the engine and driver?s compartments and other el ements of the hull, and the aforementioned D to G the running gear less tra cks; H is the new casemate sides and related detail parts.          Tracks are provided as ?Magic Track? with again, as with the Pzkw. IV kits, ?left? and ?right? tracks based on their pin and connector po sitions (dark grey left, light grey right). Three generic ?J? tool spru es are included as well as standard German weapons sprue WB (two MP-40, one MP-44 and one Gewehr 43) as well as the MG-34 part of the WC sprue.
    The Pak 40 comes with three choices of muzzle brakes and two choices of re coil mechanism covers, optional position breech, and also two ammo cases, 1 0 tubed rounds, three cases and eight open rounds. Decals are provided for stenciling all of them. There is some comment on the Internet that the cove rs do not correctly represent the armored covers for the housing but I do n ot have sufficient information on PaK 40s to tell which is which.
    This kit provides fewer options but does have the 26 tooth driver (which i s now noted as fitting the Magic Track links by those in the know) as well as the earlier one, three different idler wheel styles (separate rim and bo dy), three-piece suspension units and springs, shocks, bump stops, and a fi ve-part muffler with etched brass wrapper. Tool tie-downs consist of etched brass assemblies for the very fastidious.
    There is no engine, but the engine and driver?s compartment comes with t he basics for the driver ? seat, levers, and pedals ? as well as the co mplete engine transmission, clutch and brake/final drive assembly. There is no engine but separate access flaps are provided for those who pick up the inevitable after-market one.
    The new casemate sections (H21 and H22) provides what I take to be spaced armor arrays on each side of the fighting compartment, not a bad innovation for 1942 (and common in all main battle tanks today). Periscopes with clea r styrene bodies are also provided as well as all of the tools and parts on e would expect to find in the vehicle. A large crate mounts on the front ri ght fender.
    Four different finishing schemes are provided as follows: 3./Pz.Jg.Abt. 56 1, Russia 1943 (sand with brown spots, ?Kohlenklau?); tricolor); Uniden tified unit, Eastern Front 1944 (tricolor, large crosses, black 111); Unide ntified unit, Eastern Front 1943(sand, white markings, ?Frieda?); 543 P z.Jg.Abt 543, 3rd Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1942 (grey, red 18). The C artograf decal sheet is ?targeted? for these vehicles.
    Overall, this fits in with periodic updates of older kits by DML and corre cts some of the flaws in the earlier one.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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