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Sd.Kfz.135

Ironside 1/35 Sd.Kfz.135/1 7.5cm PaK auf Gw Lorraine Marder I Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Ironside
Subject Sd.Kfz.135/1 7.5cm PaK auf Gw Lorraine Marder I Scale 1/35
Kit Number IR054 Primary Media Styrene
Detail Media Styrene, photo-etch, aluminum barrel barrel, PE parts and resin transmission
Clear Media N/A
Pros Neat German SP gun tank.Very highly detailed, with turned aluminum Cons No part numbers on trees on in instructions. Extra work by modelers neeed for assemblies. Incorrect tactical mark on decal
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $44.95

First Look

Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135
Sd.Kfz.135

After the conclusion of WWI, having seen the birth of tanks and development of motorized vehicles within armed forces, the French army set up the basis for mechanized infantry units able to fight alongside armored formations in the field. Most of the French manufacturers involved in the car or weapons industry were requested to design products. The company Lorraine, in Luneville, submitted several prototypes.

In the first instance, Lorraine developed a light tracked infantry supply vehicle to comply with the technical requirements of 1937. The Lorraine project featured a tracked chassis with two bogies (four wheels) on each side. The prototype was completed in the record time of 72 hours. This was followed by 24 hours of in-house trials. The prototype was then proposed for evaluation to the French Army Technical Commission one month later. The tests showed performances that were much better than the Renault UE vehicle, but the vehicle was not accepted by the army at this stage.

Afterwards, Lorraine developed an extended version of the prototype with a longer chassis that featured three bogies to serve as and armored unit supply vehicle. After successful testing, the army confirmed an order for 432 vehicles under the designation “Tracteur ravitailleur pour char 1937 L”. From this vehicle, Lorraine developed also the “Vehicule blinde 1938 L pour chasseurs portes” (an APC type) which went through trials in April of 1939.

It could carry a combat team in a raised structure at the rear or light weapons (60 or 81mm mortar) or ammunitions supply. It also could tow a 25mm anti-tank gun. Additionally, in 1939, Lorraine built a prototype with an armored body that covered all of the chassis, but this modern vehicle would not go into production.

After the armistice of June 1940, quantities of the Lorraine TRC 37 L fell into German hands. They put them back into service initially as ammunition carriers, but most of the chassis were transformed as self-propelled gun carriers of several types

  • Panzerjager Marder I, armed with a 7.5cm Pak 40/Sdkfz. 135 (subject of this kit)
  • The 10.5cm LeFH18/40 (sf) auf Ge. Lorraine (f)
  • The 15cm sFH13 auf Ge. Lorraine (f)

There was also a unique model, found on the BP44 armored-train Panzerzug N32, fitted with a Soviet 122mm howitzer Obr.38. Additionally, a few chassis were converted as artillery observation vehicles and fitted with a larger armored body. During the war, the Lorraine factory was transferred to the French free zone in southwest France, and it kept production going. It was officially called a forestry tractor, but armored bodies were secretly produced and during later liberation battles the vehicles were rearmed and put into service with the Free French Forces that were set up from resistance units.

Ironside/Azimut Productions is a model company based in Paris, France.

This kit comes in a very sturdy tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a Marder I in German markings in action with a German half-track and another Marder I in the background, amidst a lot of explosions. It is in overall earth yellow with a camouflage wave pattern of red-brown. It carries the number 322 on the sides of the fighting compartment in red with white outline. This is above a skeletal type balkenkruez. There is a tactical symbol on the nose of it, in black, indicating a tracked SP gun. A side panels shows the color box arts for 4 other kits in the Ironside line: a set of railroad tracks (kit no. IR051), a German light railroad flatcar (kit no. IR055), a German railroad boxcar typ. G10 (kit no. IR039 and a V36 diesel locomotive (kit no. IR056).

Inside the box is a large zip-lock type cello bag that holds 3 medium gray trees of parts, a tan resin transmission part, a fret of brass PE and the decal sheet. There are 2 other medium gray parts trees that are loose and not cello bagged. These are slightly longer than the first 3 parts trees, so they would not fit into the cello with them. There is also a turned aluminum gun barrel floating around loose in the kit. There are no clear parts or crew figures in the kit. The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a sheet that is folded in the center in 4 pages of 8 ¼” x 11 ¾” format. A second sheet printed on both sides is sandwiched into the center of these four pages.

Page 1 of the instructions begins with the history of the Marder I in English, followed by general instructions in French and English and an illustration of the PE fret. There is also 3 international assembly symbol explanations for symbols indicating PE parts, resin parts and to do similar work on 2 sides of an assembly.

Pages 2 thru 4 of the first sheet and the front and back of the single sheet have several exploded drawings to use to assemble the kit. These are numbered 1 to 6. Written instructions accompanying these drawings are in French and English. Two paint schemes are offered. The one on the boxart (already described) for a vehicle on the Western Front 1942, with the colors called out in Humbrol and Tamiya paints. The other is in overall panzer gray with a skeletal type balkenkreuz on the sides, no vehicle number for a panzerjager unit in eastern France 1944. It has the tactical marking for a motorized anti-tank unit. However, the symbol is wheeled and not tracked, so wrong for a SP gun tank.

There are no parts tree illustrations in the instructions. No part numbers are on the trees and even worse…none on the assembly drawings. This means you are faced with trying to find what you need on the 5 trees. This will really be a big chore and totally unneeded in a model kit. Bad move Ironside!!

A lot of extra work is needed to build the kit. In step 1 you have to bend the front of the fenders slightly upwards to fit. In step 2 you are to sand all the details off the side hull parts. The boggies are HANDED, different for each side, so care needs to be taken with them to get them assembled right. In step 3 you have to fabricate some grab handles out of wire and stretch sprue for an antenna.

In step 4 you fabricate more grab handles and assemble a lot of the PE. Ironsides wants you to use a pointed tool that is heated to raise rivet pattern on 4 of the PE plates. Yeah…right…good luck!! A hairy operation, if ever there was one! An easier way to do the rivets would be to buy some Grant Line ones and drill holes in the PE were they should go. Two small PE parts are to be held in place with two pieces of stretched sprue each.

In step 5 you are to sand a flat area onto the raised collar at the rear of the turned aluminum barrel.

In step 6 you have to enlarge the hole in the part that the gun sits on.

So this kit does not fall together and is definitely for the advanced AFV modeler. Novices should avoid it, due to the amount of parts and its complexity.

Readers of this review will have to forgive me, if I dispense with trying to name everything on the trees. I would be an almost impossible task to say the least. I will name only what I can readily identify and you can look at the images yourself.

The 1st tree of parts holds the vehicle’s sides, nose, fenders, front hull top and various panels etc. (20 parts)

There are 2 identical trees that hold: ling and length type treads, an engine air intake screen, bogies, leaf springs, drive sprockets, road wheels, a shovel etc. (80 parts per tree)

The 4th tree holds the vehicles walls, empty ammo racks, gun base plate, gun travel lock parts etc. (41 parts) The side walls and the rear wall are scored. You have to fold these parts on these scores to shape them properly. More work for the modeler!

The 5th tree is long and narrow. It holds: parts for the main gun, another shovel, a jack etc. (38 parts) Next, is the single light tan resin transmission piece.

The brass PE fret holds 15 parts.

The decal sheet, already described above, completes the kit’s contents. There are no crew figures in the kit.

This is one neat model of a captured French Lorraine vehicle that the Germans turned into a SP gun tank. It is definitely not for the novice modeler. Modelers should have experience with other multi-media (dissimilar materials) kits before trying to tackle this one. Especially, with all it’s unlabeled parts that you have to identify by their shapes and the extra tweaking of things. Highly recommended otherwise.

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