1/35 Tamiya Sd.Kfz. 138 Marder III Ausf. M
by Mark Dice


During the summer of 1941 the appearance of new Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1 came as a surprise to the Germans, whose tanks were clearly outgunned and out armored. Development and production of new medium and heavy tanks to combat the Soviet tanks would take some time.

An interim measure was the development of the Marder series of self-propelled anti-tank guns. These would use the combination of proven chassis of obsolete tanks and either captured Soviet 76.2mm divisional field guns, which had been captured in large numbers early on during the invasion of the Soviet Union, which had been rechambered to accept the German 75mm armor piercing round or the German 75mm Pak 40 series anti-tank guns. Both types of guns could penetrate just over 100 mm of armor at 1000 meters.

This design was based on the idea of using equipment currently available and quickly modifying it for immediate use. They were lightly armored and simpler to operate than a tank. Their mission was to destroy enemy tanks at long range and through ambush.

While the earlier versions of the Marder were based on captured French and obsolete German tanks, the Marder III version was based on the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) light tank, a Czechoslovakian design that the Germans liked and continued to produce and use after their takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938/39. The Ausf. M (Mitte or mid engine) was the final version of the Marder series with a lower silhouette, improved armor and fighting compartment, and the engine relocated to the middle of the vehicle. 975 were produced from April 1943 - May 1944. It fought on all fronts and 350 were still in use at the end of the war.

The Kit
This is one of Tamiya's more recent offerings and I think an excellent one!! The detail is excellent and the fit is excellent. I built mine out-of-box but next time I'll use aftermarket tracks, although the kits aren't to bad. There are also several aftermarket detail sets for this kit too, again maybe next time…

Contents of the kit are several trees of tan colored parts, the one piece tracks, some poly caps, a small photo etch part for the muffler with some fine brass wire to secure it, and finally a small decal sheet. The instructions are easy to understand and provide you with 5 marking options.

Construction was not difficult as long as I took my time. Fit was great. The hull is built as a unit, the gun is built as a unit, and then the two are put together.

Painting was done with Tamiya acrylics. A black undercoat followed by the three colors of the camouflage scheme. I need practice here on this part, to achieve the proper method to allow the preshading to show through here, as it should. Next time, I'll paint the darker colors first and the yellow last so I can hopefully apply less of the yellow and keep the kit with some more depth and not too bright. Details were painted by brush.

Decals… The only ones I used were the national markings on the sides and rear end, with a minimal Future floor wax spot to provide a smooth area. I flat coated those spots with Testors Dullcoat.

Weathering was done with Alphacolor earth tone soft pastels that I got from Bronto Models. These are excellent and give great results. I weathered mine lightly. It's a shelf sitter… when I do a diorama, I'll be heavier on the weathering.

I highly recommend this kit!! It's great OOB and with some aftermarket it could be sensational! Hats off to Mr. Tamiya!!