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Tamiya 1/35 scale Marder IIIM

Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, 800-826-4922
Kit: No. 35248
Scale: 1/35
Price: $40
Comments: Injection-molded, 241 parts (10 vinyl), decals
Pros:Accurate, excellent fit, good detail, good gun, two animated crew figures, bonus figure painting instructions
Cons: Smoke box has no back or bottom, seat backs molded with brackets
Shortly after the Germans invaded Russia in 1941 and encountered the Soviet T-34 tank, they realized they needed to field larger guns than their Panzer IIIs and IVs carried. The Marder III was a marriage of the Czech-built Skoda 38(t) chassis and a captured Russian 7.62cm antitank cannon rebored for German ammunition. It packed a punch, and more than 300 were produced.

Tamiya surprised the modeling world recently by releasing a new Marder III kit. Molded in Tamiya's usual German-tan plastic, the kit features excellent detail.

Unlike most other Tamiya armor kits, the hull is molded in several pieces, allowing more detail in the hull castings. The well-printed decal sheet provides markings for five different vehicles. Two crew figures are provided.

The one-piece vinyl tracks feature good detail and can be glued together with regular model cement. The main road wheels feature the accurate dished inside surface and rivets.

Tamiya's 16-page instruction booklet has excellent diagrams and features basic instructions on painting the figures, including wash and dry-brush techniques.

Any fears I had over the fit problems with the multi-part hull quickly vanished as I started assembly. The hull top fit perfectly with a little wiggle and a click. I left off the running gear so I would be able to paint the hull.

I was disappointed by the smoke-shell case for the rear of the vehicle; Tamiya gives only four sides to the six-sided box. While this is not noticeable from the top, a peek from below reveals that it has no bottom or back.

Tamiya also simplified the seat-back mounts. The seats on the actual Marder are designed to be folded out of the way when the gun is manned. The seat backs slide into tubular sockets on the seats or the rear basket, depending on their configuration. Tamiya molded the sockets onto the seat backs, which means no matter where one poses them, the alternate sockets will be missing. I replicated a set from thin brass tubing. I built one seat folded and one unfolded.

I usually try to assemble as much of the kit as I can before painting, but that is a lot trickier with an open-top vehicle. I wound up building the whole hull, leaving off only the tools, extra tracks, seats, forward hatches, side ammo boxes, and rear basket to make painting easier.

The PaK 36 gun is a beautiful model in itself. Fit again was excellent, and it mounts to the chassis with a vinyl grommet so it can be traversed. I left the gun off until painting was complete. Even with the gun mounted and hatches closed, you can see unpainted plastic inside the hull, so spray the interior flat black before assembly.

It was a bit difficult to get paint in all the exterior nooks and crannies. Decals were added over a brush coat of Future. Solvaset works very well - but very quickly - on Tamiya's decals. Don't touch the decals while the Solvaset is working; they stay gooey until they are dry. A coat of Polly Scale clear flat made the decal film invisible.

Tamiya gives only eight shell bottom plates to fill the empty ammo storage bins. I sprayed mine with SnJ gold and installed them randomly in the bins. Then I added the rear basket and the seats. Finally, I installed the gun and secured it in the travel locks.

The finished model perfectly matched the dimensions in the Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two by Chamberlain and Doyle. It took me only 16 hours to build. Modelers experienced with handling small parts should have no trouble building this kit.


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