Sd.Kfz.138 Marder III Ausf. M
Revell Kit #: 3316
by Stephen 'Tank
Edited by Rob Haelterman
Looking at the box art we see that this is the late Marder Panzerjäger using the Czech Panzer 38(t) Ausf. M chassis and the engine compartment in the middle and the gun compartment in the rear. The long 7.5-cm Pak 40 protrudes out over the engine and driver’s area up front. The driver’s compartment hood is the angular welded type. To the left, our right, of the driver is a single cylinder of Triebgas. There are no crew figures in the kit, but the ones depicted here at least give an idea of the vehicle size. The extended sides at the bow with tow eyelets and the lack of rivets on the lower superstructure indicate this is a late Marder 38 Ausf. M that is partially welded. The artwork portrays a hard edge 3-color camouflage with vehicle number, no cross marking.
the first time I cannot say that this appears to be a reliable portrayal
of the model. According to Jentz & Doyle two cylinders are used
though I see no proof that one, or three cylinders, were not used
on occasion. The kit includes two gas cylinders but the boxart and
the photo below of the built model only portray one cylinder. More
important, Jentz & Doyle states that this gas system was used
for test driving the completed vehicles (acceptance trials) at the
factory and thereby save on gasoline, so we should not see a Marder
38 in combat that is fueled like this. Okay, hypothetically this
could be a factory vehicle rushed into combat outside the factory
at the war’s end? Revell’s painting & marking guide
describes their markings as “unknown unit and location”.
A photo of the completed Revell model shows the overall great detail such as the great detail in the tracks. The brace between the gun barrel (parts-F1 & F7) and the cradle (part-F11 & F12) below should be all the way forward in the cradle implying this gun is in partial recoil; not realistic unless we are modeling a damaged vehicle. In the photo below we can see that the gun barrel and muzzle brake should be further forward over the nose of the vehicle.
From Nielsen’s and from Jentz & Doyle’s books these are photos of the installed Triebgas cylinders, valves and piping on a factory fresh Marder 38 Ausf. M to help correctly detail the Revell model. Triebgas is reported to be propane or similar flammable gas, like that used to power modern forklift trucks, something not good to have mounted on the front of your vehicle in combat. We can see that this is an early Marder by the cast driver’s hood and the lack of side extension and towing eye at the front, and cast driver’s hood with rounded edges.
Sprue-A here holding hull parts and spare track links is common with Revell’s new Grille kit 3315.
Below are Sprues E and F. At upper left of sprue-E are the 7.5-cm ammunition racks parts E27 thru E30 which are empty of shells making it difficult to depict this model in a combat diorama. The empty ammunition racks and the position of the gun in recoil gives me the impression that the engineer/artist who developed model did not know enough about the vehicle and needs of a modeler. Otherwise, this is a superb model kit. The shells are stored nose down and we will need to make 24 of them out of plastic rod. The empty shell racks and the Triebgas cylinders would be appropriate for a vehicle at the factory.
the bottom left on sprue-F is the Pak40 barrel (part F1) with muzzle
brake and muzzle open so no drilling needed.
The two Sprue-B are also common with the Revell Grille kit 3315, complete with the 15-cm shells, and holds the Pz.38(t) wheels leaf spring suspension and long band track that is supposed to bend around the suspension so no fidgeting with individual links around the sprocket and idler wheels. I found the exceptional Revell sprocket wheel and track detail only surpassed by the OKB aftermarket resin parts. I am wary of bending hard plastic around the wheels (one length broke) so I tried warming the track in hot water before bending. The hot water did not make the styrene plastic track much more flexible like it did with my OKB resin track. The 16 15-cm artillery shells for the Grille model are extras and go in the spare parts box.
OKB Grigorov offers aftermarket cast-resin track and sprocket wheels which will offer a little improvement over the very good Revell parts. The Revell and OKB sprockets here are a later type seen on the Panzerjäger 38 Marder and this Panzerjäger 38 Hetzer which replaced the Marder tank destroyers. The OKB resin sprockets appear to be a millimeter or two larger in diameter than the Revell sprocket wheel. I hope that be not a problem. Revell’s pale-gray plastic tracks are among the most realistic in smallscale only surpassed by the darker gray OKB resin track.
driver’s visor (part A24) shown in Step-6 can be modeled open
with work to open up the viewport.
Steps 21 thru 24 cover the assembly of the Pak40 gun. Of all the smallscale Pak40 antitank guns on the market (ESCI, Airfix, Matchbox, Dragon, Italeri, UM, Zvezda, Roden, etc.) this one looks like one of the best in detail, and delicacy. The muzzle is open thanks to slide-molding, so no drilling.
looks wrong with the gun assembly in Step-24: the breach looks too
far back on the cradle like it is in recoil. The old ESCI Pak40
kit suffers this same design and assembly error as this model manufacturer.
Steps 9 thru 11 show assembly of the two Triebgas (LP) cylinders but does not show the fuel lines and valves. Steps 33 and 34 have 5-view paintings with camouflage and markings for two Marder 38 of unknown units in 1944 and 1945. Again, I have never seen a combat photo of a German vehicle with these flammable gas cylinders mounted and I think it likely that these would be seen at the factory only, but it is still a unique model that is important, at least a little important, to history. Overall, this is a very good smallscale model of the Marder IIIM and up to typical Revell Models quality.