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This recent book in the increasingly popular (and thankfully completely revamped) Osprey Modelling series covers an equally popular modeling subject, the German Marder self-propelled gun in its many forms.
The book follows the now-established formula of presenting a section on tools and materials, followed by several construction features which themselves consist of projects requiring various levels of modeler skill. This is followed by a gallery section displaying the related work of various modelers, another section on kits and accessories; a book, web-site and museum bibliography/resource list, an index and finally a page of color chip approximations.
Using 199 color photos, the book takes the reader through five different Marder modeling projects in the popular 1/35th-scale, all of varying degrees of difficulty. They are:
• Sd.Kfz.135 Marder I, based on the Ironside kit.
• Marder II D, based on the Alan kit.
• Sd.Kfz.139 Marder III with Soviet 76.2mm gun, based on the Tamiya kit.
• Marder III Ausf.M, based on the Tamiya kit.
• Marder III Ausf.H, based on the Italeri kit.There are also some guest modelers’ work in the form of an Sd.Kfz.139 Marder III with Soviet 76.2mm gun and Marder III Ausf.M, both by Pat Johnston, plus a Marder I by Gary Edmundson.
Each section depicts the building of the particular model in a step-by-step fashion. A typical section will also show how to add after-market items, how to scratch-build certain items, complete painting and weathering information and in one case how to place the model in context on a scenic base. The models are quite nicely done and well-presented with very helpful and clearly written building details.All of this is complimented by one page of color samples (with descriptions on the back-side of the page), a fairly extensive kit and accessory list, a listing of related vehicles on museum display, a note on relevant web-sites, a bibliography and an index.
So, all of this is good stuff from a modeler’s point of view. But, beware of the historical notes which begin some sections, because the author is a far better modeler than a historian. For example he says the following:
• “Tanks produced by the CKD Werke in Czechoslovakia, the
35(t) and 38(t)…”. That’s incorrect since CKD only produced
the Pz.Kpfw.38(t). The Pz.Kpfw.35(t) was a Skoda product.
• “At the same time the Panzer IIc Ausf.A, B, C and F were being phased out of service, the deadly Pak 40 75mm anti-tank gun was mated to this chassis…” As far as I know, Marder IIs with the PaK40 were only fitted to the Ausf.F chassis with the straight front superstructure plate and the smaller fatter exhaust muffler, which was visually quite different from the other models mentioned.
• The author notes the following in regard to the Sd.Kfz.139 Marder III with Soviet 76.2mm gun: “…its turret and superstructure removed, was fitted with a cruciform gun mount and 10-50mm armor to form a fighting compartment…” A bit misleading, this one. While the original superstructure was armored in this fashion (the driver’s plate was 50mm thick on later versions) it was not “removed”, as any photo will show. Only the superstructure roof was removed. The new plates added during the conversion process were between 8 and 15mm thick, according to Jentz in his panzer Tracts book.
• The Czech-designed ZB.vz.37 heavy machine gun was not an “…MG37(t) Besa machine gun…”, but an original Czech product, which the UK copied as the Besa.
All these minor points aside (which are only mentioned to de-confuse the novice … you know how stuff like this can take on a life of its own), this book shows a fine modeler doing what he does best, and that’s no small thing.
Frank De Sisto