by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionThe Marder II released by Dragon earlier this year was highly praised by most of the Armour modelling community. As with all kits from the big injection moulding companies however, it contained parts that could be better represented by using photo etched parts, and this was true even if the extra upgrade set was purchased from Dragon's sister company, Cyber Hobby.
the setThis set from Eduard is fairly extensive........ contained as it is, on three fair-sized frets. Some indication of this is also given, in that the instructions run to five sides. Concerning the instructions, Eduard have for some reason, printed these two to a side when compared with their normal instruction sheets. Now I'm not short-sighted, but since it only actually saves one piece of paper, could we have them the normal size please? I like to put them on a stand at the rear of my workbench when I'm working, and these small ones just don't do it for me!
If you're at all familiar with the Marder II, then everything you would expect to be replaced in this set is included. Initially, it looks like Eduard have taken notice of what is actually included in a kit, since they have tried not to offer in this set what's included in the Cyber Hobby update set. For example, the fighting compartment sidewalls are not included, since they're in the Cyber Hobby set.
So what do we actually get? Firstly we're offered improvements for the fighting compartment. A new drivers dash is supplied, made up of two layers, with a printed insert laminated between the two. A small improvement, but this area is quite visible once the vehicle is built, it being an open fighting compartment vehicle. New foot pedals are also supplied. Also inside we're given some small improvements for the transmission which is supplied by Dragon, and also new hinges and hasps for the ammunition stowage bins. Various other small fittings and brackets are replaced inside the fighting compartment, including new MP40 brackets, and a new radio rack with radio fascia. Now this is supplied in the Cyber Hobby set, but having used it, I think I can understand why Eduard have included it, since the Cyber Hobby one is extremely difficult to build and this one is much easier and looks just as good! Not sure I would use their radio fascias though, since they always look a little 'flat' to me, although of course they can be 'dressed-up' with some styrene rod. We're also given new ends for the ammunition.
On the outside of the vehicle we have new front mudguards, with new hinges of course, which look great, new brackets for all the on-vehicle tools, as you would expect, even though these are in the original kit, the Eduard ones are much easier to construct being made up of just one piece, and in my opinion they look just as good. The two triangular strengthening plates on the inside of each drive housing are supplied, and as far I can remember these are absent from the kit, although they are shown on the instructions? Although since they're almost underneath the vehicle, they would be difficult to spot. New brackets for the exhaust are supplied, along with a new mesh for it, again, something which is already supplied in the original Dragon kit?
For the rear there are also two new rear mudguards supplied, which can be made to work with the hinges supplied by Eduard and the addition of a small length of fine wire. New brackets for the periscopes, which means you'll now have two sets, since they're supplied by Cyber Hobby too. Lastly, we're given something that is neither in the original kit nor the Cyber Hobby update set, at least not in metal, and that's a new double-shield for the PaK 40 gun, including upgrades for all of it's attached furniture and brackets, including a strip to fit inside the slide to completely hide the join between it's two halves. The only difficulty I foresee is making your own spacers for between the two shields. The Eduard instructions have the correct spacing achieved by four photo etched strips folded over and placed between the two shields. The original spaced bolts are quite visible though, and this just doesn't look right? So while we're supplied with the shields, we're really left to our own devices on how to space them correctly, and although small pieces of styrene rod would look better, making this many exactly the same length might be a major problem.
conclusionA good set from Eduard, although I have reservations, and only really worthwhile if you haven't got the Cyber Hobby update set. It really depends on how much you want a photo etched shield and an easier to construct radio rack?