Sd.Kfz. 131 Panzerjaeger II fur Pak 40/2 “Marder II” Mid Production
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6423; Sd.Kfz. 131 Panzerjaeger II fur Pak 40/2 “Marder II” Mid Production|
|Media and Contents:||797 parts (489 in grey styrene, 208 “Magic Track” links, 96 etched brass, 3 clear styrene)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Slightly reworked and improved 2006 kit; very complete interior and also open racks in the fighting compartment|
|Disadvantages:||May have some accuracy issues|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German fans|
As I noted when the first kit came out in 2006, the Pzkw. II was a superior vehicle to the Pzkw. I, but when introduced into combat was found to be only marginally better that that vehicle as a combat system. This was something of a shame, for it was a fairly reliable chassis and quite handy. As a result, the Germans turned to using it for a chassis for self-propelled guns, and it excelled in two of those variants – the Marder II SP 7.5 cm antitank gun and the Wespe SP 10.5 cm howitzer.
The Marder II (Marder is the German name for the pine marten, which is a weasel on steroids – five feet long from nose to tip of tail!), now designated as the 7.5 cm Pak 40/2 auf Fahrgestelle Pzkw. II (Sf) or Sd.Kfz. 131, entered production in June 1942 and remained there until July 1943 when production terminated in favor of the even more useful 10.5 cm Wespe SP howitzer. 576 Marder II guns were produced new and another 75 converted from Pzkw. II chassis. While new guns were on the late-model Ausf. F chassis, the conversions used Ausf. c, A, B, C or F tank chassis.
This kit is the DML version of the same version of the Marder II that Tamiya released over 30 years ago and also comes with the same markings for one of its options - “Kohlenklau” (coal snatcher). This kit is portrayed as a “mid production” version but it would seem to simply make some minor changes to the fighting compartment and adopt the later Ausf. F suspension components.
As noted in 2006 Dragon was somewhat coy with all sprues for the Marder II labeled as such, but all of the running gear ones (D, E, F and G) unlabeled as they later showed up in their Ausf. F kit.
What you get in the box are the same unmodified B, C and D sprues from the Pak 40 kit (no carriage) plus the Panzer II components and the unique Marder II ones - a single new sprue of 12 parts covers the primary changes to the vehicle. Sprue A covers the upper hull and fenders, B the interior and racks, C the interior of the engine and driver’s compartments and other elements of the hull, and the aforementioned D to G the running gear less tracks; H is the new casemate sides and related detail parts.
Tracks are provided as “Magic Track” with again, as with the Pzkw. IV kits, “left” and “right” tracks based on their pin and connector positions (dark grey left, light grey right). Three generic “J” tool sprues are included as well as standard German weapons sprue WB (two MP-40, one MP-44 and one Gewehr 43) as well as the MG-34 part of the WC sprue.
The Pak 40 comes with three choices of muzzle brakes and two choices of recoil mechanism covers, optional position breech, and also two ammo cases, 10 tubed rounds, three cases and eight open rounds. Decals are provided for stenciling all of them. There is some comment on the Internet that the covers do not correctly represent the armored covers for the housing but I do not have sufficient information on PaK 40s to tell which is which.
This kit provides fewer options but does have the 26 tooth driver (which is now noted as fitting the Magic Track links by those in the know) as well as the earlier one, three different idler wheel styles (separate rim and body), three-piece suspension units and springs, shocks, bump stops, and a five-part muffler with etched brass wrapper. Tool tie-downs consist of etched brass assemblies for the very fastidious.
There is no engine, but the engine and driver’s compartment comes with the basics for the driver – seat, levers, and pedals – as well as the complete engine transmission, clutch and brake/final drive assembly. There is no engine but separate access flaps are provided for those who pick up the inevitable after-market one.
The new casemate sections (H21 and H22) provides what I take to be spaced armor arrays on each side of the fighting compartment, not a bad innovation for 1942 (and common in all main battle tanks today). Periscopes with clear styrene bodies are also provided as well as all of the tools and parts one would expect to find in the vehicle. A large crate mounts on the front right fender.
Four different finishing schemes are provided as follows: 3./Pz.Jg.Abt. 561, Russia 1943 (sand with brown spots, “Kohlenklau”); tricolor); Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1944 (tricolor, large crosses, black 111); Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1943(sand, white markings, “Frieda”); 543 Pz.Jg.Abt 543, 3rd Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1942 (grey, red 18). The Cartograf decal sheet is “targeted” for these vehicles.
Overall, this fits in with periodic updates of older kits by DML and corrects some of the flaws in the earlier one.
A 31 Marder II - upper hull, casemate, floor, details
B 64 Pak 40 - main gun, cradle
B 69 Marder II - ammo racks, interior components, radios
C 31 Pak 40 - ammo crates, rounds, containers
C 113 Marder II - engine, transmission, interior components
D 2 Pak 40- gun shield
D 14x2 Panzer II - road wheels, springs
E 9x2 Panzer II - drivers/idlers
F 14x2 Panzer II - road wheel backing
H 5x2 Panzer II - mounts
H 12 Marder II - casemate sides, details
G 9 Panzer II - final drives
J 18 German Generic - lights
J 11 German Generic - OVM, pioneer tools
J 10 German Generic - OVM, pioneer tools
L 104 Magic Track single links
K 6x2 Panzer II - pads
R 104 Magic Track single links
W 3 Clear styrene
Z 1 hull
MA 8 Etched brass
MB 65 Etched brass
MC 24 Etched brass
WB 18 German weapons 2 x MP-40, MP-44, Gewehr 43
WC 4 MG-34
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.