Tamiya 1/35 Sd. Kfz. 139 Marder III

Model, Text and Photos by: Nick Cortese

 

History

Production started in 1941. The Marder III Sd.Kfz.139 used the obsolete Czech LT38 chassis as its basis. The actual gun was a captured Russian 7.62cm Pak 36 mounted on the Czech made chassis. Close to 350 were finally built of this particular model, serving the Werhmacht as one of it’s most feared Tank Hunters.

The Kit

The kit is comprised of 5 light tan styrene sprues, which have to be the most impressive “state of the art” injection molding I’ve ever seen. Over 200 crisp parts, 2 figures, one–piece tracks, poly-caps and markings for five vehicles. A 16 page instructional booklet, which also gives you tips for figure painting and weathering rounds out the kit. Aftermarket Details included Fruilmodel Tracks, Marder III Fruilmodel Drive sprockets and Eduard Express Masks.

 

 

Construction

Lower Hull: As per instructions, I started with the lower hull, which consists of 6 parts. Twin suspension and side fenders went on without a problem. I then added all equipment accessories. Wheels were lightly scuffed with a Dremel to give a slight worn appearance. Friulmodel tracks and drive sprockets replaced the kit’s offerings, although they are quite nice representation. Once these were assembled and measured they were put aside for painting. At this point the entire lower hull is done and put aside.
Upper Hull: The upper hull is one piece and just falls into place. I would advise that you paint the inside of the lower hull and front of the upper hull (driver’s gas mask cases) before assembly. Even with the hatches closed you can still see the interior color. Before attaching the armor side plates, I filled in a number of very small ejector knockout marks located on the inner sides of these plates. Once the armor plates were assembled, shell racks and exhausts were placed along with travel lock and front hatches and any smaller parts. I assembled and cleaned up the basket with an Xacto Knife, removing tiny mold seams, then put it aside for painting. Both seats were assembled then put aside.
Gun: The impressive Soviet 7.62cm gun barrel, breech and cradle went together smoothly, although the cradle is in 2 parts and needed a small amount of putty. The carriage assembly was attached along with equilibrator and various smaller parts. Once again, the front armor plate has small ejector marks and needed filling. Take extra care when attaching the side armor to the front. Both sides should line up perfectly with the cruciform support (part# D29) and snuggly fit into the poly cap encased lower hull. The fighting compartment is excellent.

Painting

For painting, I wanted to tackle a “winterwash” scheme of a vehicle that was somewhere on the Russian front, complete with mud and dust. All sub-assemblies were carefully washed with soapy water and were prepped for painting. To simulate the muddy underside and road wheels, a simple yet effective technique was used. Black pastel chalk was mixed with Tamiya thinner and dabbed onto the areas representing mud. I use black chalk because it blends right into the pre-shading technique… I started with the pre-shading method of flat black (XF 1) throughout the undersides, wheels and in areas that would cast a shadow only. Once again Tamiya acrylics were used throughout. A heavily thinned Dark Grey (XF 63) was airbrushed throughout, leaving the black pre-shade just barely visible I try to keep it very subtle here. Smaller parts such as the tools , seats ,etc.,….where carefully picked out with humbrol enamels. The recoil slide and breech got a coat of Humbrol “Metal Cote” to give it a realistic metallic look. The actual “white wash” is a slightly darkened mixture of Flat White (XF 2) , which was lightly sprayed on., carefully letting the underlying Gray peek through in corners and edges. For markings, I decided to use Eduards excellent Painting masks….If you haven’t tried these, I would most certainly recommend these to all. Easy to use and no pre-gloss coating. After the markings are applied I went back and applied a light coat of “whitewash” around the markings giving a dusty worn appearance. After clean and prepped, I applied a quick coat of Tamiya primer to the Fruilmodel Tracks, giving a good base for the paint and pastels to adhere to. Tracks were painted German Grey (XF 63), then heavily weathered with pastels. The dust coat, which is a very thinned overcoat of Buff (XF57 ), starts with completely covering the underside, slowly and very carefully creeping up the panels and sides, and on the markings wheels , giving the impression of dust and dirt. This works extremely well, but subtlety and control is the key to achieving proper results. I decided not to use an oil wash for this kit, rather, figured this scheme would be a good basis to try James Blackwell’s “Post shading” technique. Those interested in learning more about his incredible technique can read about it here at Missing-Lynx. A custom mixture of Black (XF1) and Red Brown ( XF64 ) was used to apply the “post shading” technique, just carefully spray anywhere where oils washes would normally go, basically enhancing with paint rather than with oils…this “softens” the visual impact of the paint, giving it an almost “grimy” look to it …a good airbrush is an absolute must to achieve this, along with patience… I ended with a quick drybrushing with oils of the interior, side panels and the road wheels, trying to keep it subtle. All subassemblies are carefully attached and awaiting pastel weathering. Although the “post-shading” has done most of the work for me, I did use pastels and kept them down to a minimum.

Conclusion

Another fantastic kit from Tamiya!!! I would like to thank Bob Oehler of Tamiya America, who graciously supplied this kit for review!!

 


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