ARM: Review - DML 1/35 Scale Marder III - Smart Kit

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.
6331; Sd.Kfz. 138 Panzerjaeger 39 fuer 7.5 cm Pak 40/3 Ausf. H Marder
III H - Smart Kit; 731 parts (398 in grey styrene, 240 "Magic
Track" links, 82 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 1 turned aluminum
barrel); estimated price US $41-45
Advantages: First kit of this new subject to get to market; very nicely
done and appears easier to assemble than competing kit
Disadvantages: may be compromised by shared parts with later Pzkw.
38(t) kits
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all THNP series fans and German modelers
After years of rather underserved neglect, in the past year model
companies have turned to the Praga TNHP-S series tanks and their German
derivatives with a vengeance. Last year Tristar released two kits of
the Pzkw. 38(T) Ausf E/F and Ausf. G, and this year they are following
it with a Marder III conversion. DML is also putting its hat into the
ring with a series of Pzkw. 38(t) kits, and this one, the Marder III,
is their first entry.
There has been a lot of speculation on the internet about this kit,
and having finally seen it, most of it turns out to be specious. Only
one problem brought up by the "boo birds" seems to be correct: the
base Pzkw. 38(t) chassis had a "kink" in the fenders about halfway
along their length with the front section angling up about 3 degrees
from the rear section. The fenders on this kit are dead straight, so it
does not replicate that feature. However, many checks of photos with a
straight edge show most of the vehicles in service either are hard to
tell if this feature is present, or the fenders are so bend up along
their edges that it is impossible to tell if it is kinked or not. While
the kit comes with styrene fenders, a set of cyber-hobby.com etched
brass ones now seems inevitable.
The kit is nicely done, but unlike past "Smart Kits" - designed so
that etched brass is either kept to a minimum or not required - this
kit has a good amount of brass with it and it must be used to construct
the model. Some parts are obvious, such as the various grilles and the
"basket" at the rear of the deck extending out from the fighting
compartment (which is nicely pre-formed and packed separately.) Others
include the frame for the radio set and the ammunition rack mounts.
Generally the kit follows the same formula as the Sd.Kfz. 251/22, the
Sd.Kfz. 234/4 and Marder II kits in that it is a base vehicle with
additional parts and two sprues from DML's towed Pak 40 kit.
The directions are typical DML and start out being obtuse. For
example, it shows the ammo cases being assembled and sealed with the
rounds INSIDE the cases - only a small wording of "open/close"
and some two-way arrows indicate it can be shown either way, with no
drawing of what "open" is. The suspension is similar to that of the
Tristar kits with each bogie assembly consisting of nine parts. A
"doormat" type matting is provided for the floor of the fighting
compartment. The rear plate comes with optional covers (D29) over the
track tensioning mounts (D28) but in this case, unlike Tristar's
first kits, it shows them as either/or rather than both at the same
time.
The driveline and interior are mostly styrene parts, such as the
transmission/clutch assembly, steering controls, driveshaft and shield.
DML's machine gun is similar to the Tristar one, but is not moveable
once installed. It consists of a single piece element with a "slide
molded" hollow flash hider. It comes with a mesh grille (MA-20) with
working cover (MA-1, MA-12) over the rear air exhaust grille.
The ammo racks are all molded as groups of tubes and dummy half rounds
are provided to simulate a loaded tube. There is one small radio and it
mounts on the right side of the casemate. Each periscope in the
fighting compartment is all stryene (clear prism component, grey
mounts) and may be positioned as folded or erected.
Four different finishing options are provided along with two Cartograf
decal sheets (a targeted one for the vehicle, and a generic one for the
7.5 cm ammo shipping containers.) The vehicles are for Pz.Jg.Abt. 171,
17th Infantry Division, Italy 1943 (three tone camo); 2nd Company
Pz.Jg.Abt. 39, 21st Panzer Division, Tunisia 1943 (two color camo);
23rd Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1944 (Panzerbraun); and
unidentified unit, Italy 1944 (three color camo.)
Assistance on this kit is credited to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Overall, this is a nice kit and a vast improvement over the 30+ year
old Italeri one. It appears to be well laid out and with the
(relatively) minimal amount of brass easy to assemble.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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