Tamiya 1/35th Marder III M

 reviewed by Neville Lord 

Kit Summary

Plastic Quality: A
Decal Quality: A-
Instructions Quality: A

Originally developed as a stopgap solution, the Marder series became the backbone of German tank destroyer units for most of the last world war. After encountering the potent Soviet T-34 and KV series in 1941, the Germans realised the need to quickly develop a self-propelled tank destroyer (Panzerjager) capable of tackling the Russian tanks.

The most numerous of these Panzerjager, was the Marder III, which was based on the proven Panzer 38(t) chassis. The first two series of the Marder III were built by mounting an anti-tank gun and a basic armoured superstructure to a largely unmodified Panzer 38(t) hull. The final Marder series, the Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III M, had the engine relocated to the centre of the chassis (the M stands for Mitte which is German for middle). This change and the extended side armor, provided the crew with a protected rear fighting compartment in which to operate the gun.

Most Marder III M were deployed on the Eastern Front, although several PanzerJager units used them on the Western Front in 1944. The Marder III M was allocated to the PanzerJager units of Panzer, Panzer Grenadier (mechanized infantry) and infantry divisions.

Based on my experiences with other recent releases from Tamiya, I had high expectations of this model, and was not disappointed. This kit is well presented with crisp parts, clear instructions, a good choice of decals, one figure, and a small fret of etched metal.

Most of the sprues in this kit are all new reflecting the fact that this Marder had a different gun and upper body than the first Marder III series (which Tamiya released in 2002). As expected the suspension, one-piece track and road wheels are carried over from the earlier release. The sprues are molded in the dark yellow, that Tamiya uses for many of their WWII German kits.

The kit is generally designed to allow for easy construction and so far I have found assembly to be straightforward with the parts fitting together positively. The gun sub-assembly (which fits into one of the black poly caps Tamiya often use for road wheels) is designed for easy removal, thus making it easy to paint the gun separately.

The major components of this kit are:
- An upper hull made from a one large top piece that incorporates the glacis, driver's compartment and the base for the gun mounting; as well as two large side plates (picture 1).
The driver's compartment is of the later welded type (earlier models had a cast design). Most of the injection marks on the inside of the fighting compartment will be hidden by the radio rack and ammunition bins.

- A lower hull that is made from a separate base plate, two side panels and a rear plate, with an internal bulkhead (picture 2).

- A 75mm Pak40, which is all new tooling. Hopefully this sprue (picture 3) will be used as the basis for a new release of the towed Pak 40 anti-tank gun.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

- The tracks are one-piece plastic type designed for easy fitting using standard modelling glues. While lacking the small indentations of the real links they are well done and will please most modellers. The rear idler and drive sprockets both have their respective later simplified designs. (pictures 4 & 5)

- Crisply moulded tools, radio, lighting, shells (4 full rounds and 4 half rounds), periscopes and other interior & exterior fittings. The items included appear accurate against wartime photos. (picture 6)

- An etched metal outer sheaf for the muffler, which is fastened using two pieces of metal wire (which is included).(See picture 1 again)

Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6


Being in production from 1943 to early 1944, all Marder III M would have left the factory with a base coat of dark yellow and any camouflage markings of dark green and/or red-brown applied by the troops. War-time photos show considerable variety in the camouflage schemes applied to Marder III Ms. Photos also indicate that some Marder III M received a coat of whitewash during the winter.

The water slide decal sheet provides markings for five vehicles from the following units:

" 346th Infantry Division, 346th PanzerJager Abteilung, 1st Company, Holland 1945
" 348th Infantry Div., 348th PanzerJager Abteilung, 1st Company, Belgium 1944
" Unknown unit, Belgium 1944 (markings limited to Balkan Cross)
" 561st Independent PanzerJager Abteilung, 3rd Company, Russia 1944
" 616th Independent PanzerJager Abteilung Russia 1944 (Balkan Cross only).

Larger image not available
Click on picture to see larger image

Tamiya's Marder III M, has everything that I look for when reviewing a kit: it is accurate, has good fit of parts, clear instructions and several decal options, plus as bonus it represents a popular subject that wasn't previously available in injection plastic. This kit presents a very pleasing model when built straight out of the box, but with the open fighting compartment also has ample scope for super detailing. Highly recommended.

C. Kliment and V. Francev's book "Marder III and Grille" from MBI Publications provides comprehensive coverage of the Marder III, Grille and variants including line drawings, color plates and technical history.

Related Items

AB35125 Aber general photo etch detail set for Marder IIIM

AB35126 Aber photo etch Fenders doe Marder IIIM

MBI010 Marder III and Grille by C. Kliment and V. Francev from MBI Publications

TM35258 Tamiya Marder III 7.5cm Projectiles. This contains an assorted collection of turned metal shells to fill the Marder's ammunition racks.

FRUATL13 Fruil Model Pz.38t metal track set with drive sprockets


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