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Sd.Kfz.138 Panzerjaeger 38 Marder III H Fgst.38t Ausf.E

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.138 Panzerjaeger 38 Marder III H Fgst.38t Ausf.E - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.138 Panzerjaeger 38 Marder III H Fgst.38t Ausf.E - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6420 Primary Media 790 parts (433 in grey stryene, 240 “Magic Track” single links, 107 etched brass, 10 clear styrene)
Pros First kit of this variant from DML; use of proven kit parts simplifies the assembly of the kit Cons Continuing arguments about the fenders and their proper angles not changed by this kit
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

When DML decided to make a kit of the Marder III, they decided to first do the late models which had been ill-served by the modeling companies. Now, nearly three years on, they have returned to the early or “Ausf. H” version of the vehicle.

Approximately 410 of these vehicles were either built new or converted from existing Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E and F chassis before the late model (Ausf. M) entered production. Basically a TNPH based version of the similar vehicle on the Pzkw. II chassis, it was a lightweight and handy vehicle for antitank needs.

DML has combined a number of bits into one new kit here, mostly sprues from their Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G kits, the 7.5 cm Pak 40, and some new Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F sprues to creat this kit.

As is not surprising to many regular readers of model reviews, many times we reviewers use “cut and paste” to create new reviews based on sprue-swapping from older kits and on occasion we forget which variant we are reviewing! In this kit, apparently DML made the same mistake as the main sprue for the kit which was newly cut – Sprue G – was left labeled for the “Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G”. Nice to know they can make the same goofs we do!

The kit follows the pattern of past DML kits with most of the sprues coming from the Ausf. G kit – engine and interior, suspension, and details – and the gun upper carriage and ammunition details from the Pak 40 kits. All have been gone over several times in the past and on web sites, and the only major ongoing complaint by modelers has to do with the fender angles. The kit comes with straight fenders (and there are several factory photos that show they may have been built that way) but not those noticed in service with a distinctive kink upwards at about midpoint (which may have come from crew weight on the fenders). It is correctable but an ongoing source of argument and complaint.

The kit comes with a good portion of engineering from previous kits, such as the fairly complete interior and the use of the ammunition stowage tubes with four partial projectiles for insertion as loaded rounds. A radio set and racks are provided as well.

As opposed to other “Smart Kit” releases this one has a large amount of etched brass included but most of the parts except for the rear “basket” and engine grille vent cover appear optional.

Once again it comes with the “Magic Track” single link system, which is relatively popular as it is easy to assemble. But with a kit of this size (e.g. “compact”) thought may be given to making one-piece DS Plastic tracks an option or inclusion.

Technical assistance was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Two different finishing options are offered - both for our old friend “Unidentified Unit”: Eastern Front 1943 (grey with black and white crosses) or Eastern Front 1944 (sand brown with black and white crosses). A small Cartograf sheet is provided with details for the ammo crates as well.

Overall this is another gap-filler from DML and one which should be popular with Praga tank fans as well.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 66 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G wheels and suspension
  • B 63 Pak 40 upper carriage and gun
  • B 70 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G fenders and hull components
  • C 31 Pak 40 ammunition and crates
  • E 1 Pzkw. 38 lower hull pan
  • D 58 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G interior and transmission components
  • G 77 “Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G” - Marder III interior, upper hull parts
  • J 4 Clear styrene
  • K 39 Pzkw 38t generic - OVM and extra rivet heads
  • N 5 Cleaning rods and OVM
  • P 17 Pzkw 38t generic - radiator and associated details
  • S 2 Pzkw 38t Ausf E/F - Upper glacis and fender braces
  • T 4 Pzkw. 38t Ausf E/F - mubbler and turret front plate
  • W 3x2 Clear styrene
  • Y 240 “Magic Track” single link tracks
  • Z 1 DS Plastic canvas casemate cover
  • MA 85 Etched brass
  • MB 2 Etched brass
  • MC 19 Etched brass
  • MD 1 Preformed etched brass