In-Box Review
Marder III M SdKfz 138

by: Tim Loungeway [ TANKSHACK ]

The Marder III M has been at the top of my kit "wish list" for a really long time. With this recent release from Tamiya, my "wish" has been granted, and yours has too! The kit is everything that we have come to expect and Mr. T. is not "Fooling" this time.The kit has been out long enough now to have appeared in all the major model magazines. I have personally read reviews or articles in "MMiR", "AFVModeler" and "Tamiya Model Magazine International". The thing that has struck me in every article is just how far the "art" of scale model making has come. The overall quality of this kit raises the bar even higher for the competition. Well let's get to work.


What do/not you get?
What do you get?
The artwork on the box top is of a vehicle from an "Infantry Div., Tank Destroyer Btln., (detail unknown) Belgium, Spring 1944. The three color camouflage scheme is relatively complex and would be a challenge to recreate on the kit.
The box holds a total of four bags of sprues, a photoetch fret, decals, single piece vinyl tracks, and an unexpectedly thick instruction booklet. The sprues are broken into the following parts -
Sprue A - We get two of this one. It contains the road wheels, suspension and common hull components. (These sprues are from the earlier Panzerjaeger III kit)
Sprue E - Most of the parts for the hull are on this sprue. These are all new for this kit.
Sprue F - The top of the hull and basic parts for the fighting compartment.
Sprue G - The crew figure, interior details, exhaust. ammo racks and tools.
Sprue H - The new PaK 40 and the gun shield.
The photoetch fret has a single piece for the exhaust guard. Of course this is not the first time that Tamiya has included little extras like this. The Dragon Wagon kit for example had many little extras. The kit even includes a short piece of copper wire to hold the exhaust guard in place. The tracks are provided in the normal Tamiya rubber which is easy to glue with normal plastic cement.
One of the highlights of the kit is the screw details on the main gun shield. It's simply amazing to see individual screw heads and the slots are NOT all at the same angle. This is truly amazing stuff.
What donít you get?
The first thing I noticed was there is no tow cable included. The next thing was the fact there is no hint of detail in the driver's compartment. The hatch is molded separately, so it will be easy to open up the driver's compartment to add some detail. Come on Mr. T.... if the "other Mr. t" can give us complete interiors and engine compartments in their latest kits... you can do it too.


What do/don't they tell you?
What do they tell you?
It is sort of generally agreed and accepted that Tamiya instructions are the best in the business. This instruction booklet is no different. The booklet starts with a picture of the completed kit finished in the scheme from the box top art. And, it ends with a set of three view drawings showing no less than FIVE paint schemes. The schemes are all different and based on photos of real vehicles.
What don't they tell you?
With the instructions so good, you won't need much help with the research. However, you might find some missing details. And, since this kit represents the later model "Welded Drivers Hood", you will need to check the references to be sure that you model matches the real thing. Maybe one of the aftermarket companies will give us a conversion.The most readily available references for the Marder III M are the Zimmerit Press book, the old Schiffer paper back on the Marder series and the MBI Marder III and Grille. There is also a Kagero Photosniper book on the Marder III and an old Squadron "Panzerjaegers In Action".


What will you need to finish this?
Some glue, sandpaper, putty and your favorite hobby knife.The tracks are the typical Tamiya, black vinyl. So, maybe you'll need some tracks. I really like the ModelKasten tracks for this one. However, the Friulmodel tracks would also be nice. And possibly some basic photoetch details. Aber, Eduard and Blast Models have already released detail sets for this kit.There's also a very large tarp that covers the fighting compartment. You can even get one from Mig Productions. This last item is a must if your model is depicted in a winter scene. Final Notes It's the latest and greatest panzer from good old, Mr. T. And I "Pity the Fool" that doesn't get one! You should be able to find this kit at your local hobby shop or favorite on-line retailer.


Editorial Comment
Tim has made a great review of a great kit and he has giving it a perfect score of 10.Although this is Timís personal view and we respect this we feel it necessary to ad a little editorial comment to this.As mentioned this is a great kit, but it is not without faults, the lack of tow-cables is one, secondly the tracks are vinyl one-piece tracks (Tamiya style) and although the detail is not bad, but there are better solutions available, the figure is typical Tamiya style (not good, not bad) and also there is (to my knowledge) no model kit that is 100% perfect in any account (historically, measurements, rivet-counting, Ö.)
Therefore I would give you also my score for this fine kit: 8

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Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35255
  PUBLISHED: Apr 02, 2003
  NATIONALITY: United States

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