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Marder I Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 German 38(H) Artillery Observation Vehicle Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject German 38(H) Artillery Observation Vehicle Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0355 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build Cons Basic markings provided
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

Marder I Kit
Marder I Kit
Marder I Kit
Marder I Kit

The German Army never wasted a potential resource. When they 'acquired' a number of French-built Hotchkiss H-38s, their hulls were converted to serve in a variety of roles. Some of these tanks became 'Grosser Funk' (heavy radio communications vehicles) and 'Befehlspanzer 38H(f) (observation tank).

The observation tank provided German artillery units with a mobile pill box that could get near the action and call corrective fire instructions back to their guns. The use of this hull made the vehicle more or less compatible with the Hotchkiss mounts under the German guns that the observation tank supports.

Here is another interesting adaptation of the Hotchkiss chassis used by the German Wehrmacht during WW2 - an artillery observation vehicle. Molded in tan styrene, the kit is comprised of 140 parts on four trees, plus the upper and lower hull, two sections of track molded in black.

As you can see in the parts tree photos, the layout of the kit is very simple (as was the real combat vehicle). Assembly begins with the lower hull and the twin-wheel bogies. Six of these units are assembled similar to the larger Sherman wheel units. With these and the return rollers added to the lower hull, attention is turned inside the lower hull.

The kit features a nice driver's compartment as well as the engine firewall/radiator assembly.

The upper hull features a fixed forward-firing MG behind a gun shield and a set of observation periscopes to collect bearing and range information.

The kit comes with two standing crew figures, one behind the gun and the artillery officer standing outside the tank (not too smart, eh?).

Generic German crosses are provided for markings. If you're looking to personalize the vehicle to a particular unit and/or crew, then you'll need to obtain your own detailed markings.

This is an interesting variation on the 38(H) chassis, and if you put one next to your mobile artillery units on the 38(H) or 39(H) chassis, you'll have an interesting mid-war artillery battery in the making.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!