As the German Army advanced into Russia, the front-line tanks began having problems against the newer Soviet armor they were facing. As the Germans developed newer tanks to address the issue, German planners also realized that their current family of anti-tank guns were also lacked sufficient firepower and took too long to get into position. One quick-fix developed was to mount the new 75mm PaK-40 or the captured Soviet F-22 m1936 76mm guns onto surplus tracked chassis. One such system was the Marder I which employed the Lorraine chassis mounting the PaK-40. The system was really a mobile anti-tank gun as the armored shell surrounding the crew was only good against small arms and shrapnel, and the top was open. Later systems would feature much heavier enclosed armor to become a true tank destroyer.
Here is Panda Hobby’s new 1/35 Marder I kit and out of the box it looks quite nice. The kit is molded in light tan styrene and presented on five parts trees (duplicate trees not shown), plus one fret of photo-etched details. This kit features a fighting compartment interior complete with a fully loaded ammo storage rack and nice details. Among the kit’s features and options:
Detailed suspension/drive train
One-piece track links (see text below)
Detailed interior with ammo stowage
Detailed radio rack
Detailed hull exterior
Photo-etched exhaust shield
Detailed PaK-40 gun
Detailed crew shields
The one-piece track links are an improvement over the multi-piece track links in previous kits, but the links themselves are so small that it will be a challenge to remove them from the sprue trees without damaging them. For track links this small, I’d recommend to Panda to use link and length type tracks where the only individual links you need are the ones that wrap around the drive sprocket or return rollers. It would go a long way to making kits like this easier to build.
Aside from the tracks, the design of the kit involves fewer parts which makes this kit easier to build-up. The design of the suspension is innovative where it retains a lot of detail but builds each side up as one six-wheel unit instead of three pairs of twin-wheel units.
If you examine historical photos of this vehicle online, you’ll see these Marder Is pulling an ammunition trailer like the Sd.Anhanger 51 for additional stowage. If you wish to find something like that for your build, Italeri produced kit 6450 containing two complete ammo trailers.
Since these vehicles were produced and deployed in the middle of 1942, they carried the standard overall RAL 7021 Panzer Gray. In the winter, these vehicles received washable white camouflage paint which was removed again in the spring. Depending on the region assigned, these vehicles many times received improvised camouflage patters (check your references) before the directive was issued in early 1943 to change the base color of German vehicles from Panzer Gray to Dark Yellow RAL 7028. This transition period provides many color options for your Marder I.
If you’re looking for a nice kit of an early mobile anti-tank solution needed to combat the early T-34 and KV tanks, this Marder I kit will build up nicely and provide a nice palette for a variety of camouflage options depending on the season on the eastern front.