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Panda Hobby Marder I (SdKfz 135)

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
Kit:No. PH-35006 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$45.95
Manufacturer:
Panda Hobby
Pros:
Good fits, fine details
Cons:
Fragile and tiny track links; tiny track jig not useful
Comments:
Injection-molded, 402 parts (11 PE), decals
FSMWB0217_Marder_Panda
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_01
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_02
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_04
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_05
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_06
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_07
FSMWB0517_Panda_Marder_08
Seeking a more-potent self-propelled antitank weapon, and having acquired more than 300 French Tracteur Blindé 37L tractor/personnel carriers with the fall of France, the Germans fitted 170 of them with 75mm PaK 40 antitank guns. The new designation was SdKfz 135, the Lorraine Schlepper that some, including kit manufacturer Panda Hobby, call the Marder I.

The kit parts, like the full-size vehicle, are small. The box cover has a good illustration that can help with some of the parts’ placement. The track links are very small; extra care is needed to cut them off because they deform easily and take flight readily.

The kit provides a jig for track assembly, but it’s difficult to use without gluing links to the jig. Instead, I used double-sided tape and glued them together in a long strip. Then I used a blade to shave them off the tape in one long strip. I used 108 links on each side, creating a sag, but with no spares.

Hull parts were nicely molded, with good detail and no visible sink holes; they went together well. Be careful of parts A-21 and A-20; two small tabs at the top of the hull sides can bend or break off easily.

The instructions are straightforward. The only discrepancy was for parts C-11 and C-12, which should be transposed. Before gluing part B-15, test-fit and make sure that the PE muffler shield fits properly after bending on the kit-supplied jig.

The gun comprises many small parts with good detail, and it goes together well. The interior has a full ammo rack and nicely molded ammo, but each piece needs to be fitted before painting. Aligning the barrel and shields is fiddly.

I chose to follow the box art for painting. There are four other choices supplied on a separate sheet. Only two decals were used; they settled well on a coat of Testors clear gloss.

Because of the smaller parts, I recommend this kit for more-experienced builders. It’s a nice-looking vehicle despite its size — remember David and Goliath.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2017 issue.

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