Time to bring in the first vehicle for my Operation Winter Storm project. Not a regular tank though, but rather a mobile anti-tank gun in the form of a Marder III, Sd.Kfz. 139.
Always in search of more powerful ATG:s to counter the new heavier Soviet tanks like the T-34, the Germans began experimenting with converting captured or obsolete tanks to tank destroyers. These became known as the Marder series, and were armed with either captured Soviet 76.2mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field guns, or German 7.5 cm PaK 40 ATG:s for later versions. This gave them the firepower to destroy the majority of Soviet tanks at the time. The Marders were not fully armoured, due to weight and the space constrains of the small chassis, and they were all open topped.
The Marder III was built on the Czech-supplied Panzer 38(t) and at first fitted with captured Soviet 76.2 mm field guns (Sd.Kfz. 139), and later with the PaK 40 anti-tank gun (Ausf. H and Ausf. M).
Because of their thin armour and open tops, combined with their high silhouettes, Marder III:s were very vulnerable to both tank and artillery fire. They were also risky to use in urban areas and in assault or close-combat situations. Instead they were best suited for defensive or overwatch roles.
Due to these weaknesses, the Marder tanks were subsequently phased out in favour of better armoured tank destroyers with lower profiles, such as the Jagdpanzer 38(t) (also based on the Panzer 38(t) chassi) and the StuG III. However, Marder vehicles were used until the end of the war.
This is a Battlefront model and a rather nice one except for the wheels and running gears which have very soft details. The kit went together very well. The only problem was the "lock" for the gun barrel (the triangular thingy pointing out at the front) which has a very small point of contact, thus making it a bit fiddly to glue in place.
I made the decision to go with Panzer grey rather than a winter camo to make this Marder a bit more versatile. I kept the model pretty "clean", with just some extra tracks at the front and some light weathering on the tracks and lower parts of the hull. However, looking at it now I probably should have weathered the transfers a bit more. And I still haven't decided wether to add an antenna or not – it certainly looks good but how practical is it on a wargaming model?
For the rust effect on the exhaust I used the excellent Rust Effect from Modelmates – so simple to use even I get great results!
Thanks for looking – have a great weekend everyone!