Panzerjäger Marder II Sd.Kfz. 131
(Also known as the 7.5cm Pak 40/2 auf Sfl (Sd.Kfz.131) Marder II)

Kit #: 7208
Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

The year 2011 has to be one of my lucky ones for model releases. We have had releases of not one, but two kits of this Panzerjäger, one of my favorite vehicles. What spurred this, I am convinced, is my scratchbuilt conversion of one of these tank destroyers using the ESCI PzKpfw II kit. If you want a long desired kit to be released, go through the trouble to scratchbuild one so you don’t need the kit after all!

This in-the-box kit review covers Mk72’s’s interpretation in 1/72 scale of a German self-propelled Pak 40 7.5-cm anti-tank gun mounted on a Panzer II chassis. The vehicle was introduced in mid-1942 and produced till mid-1943. It can be modeled in service in Italy, the Northern European front and the Russian Front till the end of the war. I refer you to the references listed below for further information.
The term Marder II commonly used for this vehicle will be used in this review but be aware that according to Thomas Jentz, this was not the common name during WW2. [Terminology and vehicle information in this commentary is largely based on the book Panzer Tracts No.7-2 - Panzerjaeger (7.62 cm F.K.(r) auf gp.Sfl. to Marder 38T), by Thomas Jentz and Hilary Doyle, which I consider the most accurate resource.]

The Box Art, What Do We Have Here?

Mk72 is a relatively new company, as far as I know, and this box art is typical for their other small scale model kits I have seen. The box portrays about the most famous Marder II Panzerjäger as far as modeling and photographs go. On the side of the superstructure is the Fritz cartoon face. The vehicle is finished in just Dunkelgelb color; on the gun barrel are many kill rings of a successful crew, probably the reason why it was so well photographed.
At the front is the long 7.5-cm Pak 40 gun barrel with double-baffle muzzle brake and same shield as the towed Pak 40 antitank gun. The suspension, wheels and tracks are the same as the PzKpfw II tank. There is no false visor to the left of the driver’s visor indicating this is a factory built Marder II and not a conversion of the tank. Three crew members are portrayed but no figures are included in the kit.

The Parts
There are 83 pinkish-yellow color injection molded, styrene plastic parts on two sprues (though the parts diagram shows three sprues). Molding quality and detail look very good, no flash and few significant sink holes.

The above sprue contains the kit upper hull and superstructure parts. At upper left is the floor (part 10) with a nice (though oversize) tread pattern. To its right is a very fine, delicate two part travel support for the gun barrel (parts 43 & 44). The Mk72 upper hull (part 14) compares well with the same part from the ACE kit at far right. Comparing the ACE kit with the Mk72 Marder II we see that they are totally different kits and interpretations of the Marder II. The Mk72 parts are molded very thin; this is definitely not a limited-run plastic kit.

Though this looks like one sprue it is actually two sprues according to the assembly instructions; not important but just to help clarify things.

At far left are the 12 parts for the 7.5-cm Pak 40 gun. The parts are very delicate. Things I particularly like is the two part gun shield (parts 55 & 56), the delicate elevation and traverse handwheels (parts 54), and the barrel molded separate from the carriage so it can be modeled in recoil if we so wish. There is even a nice gun sight (part 53) that many Pak 40 kits leave out. My only concern is that with the gun barrel molded in two halves as it might sometimes happen that the barrel is oval when glued together.

At upper center are four lengths of styrene track lengths (parts 9). The tracks are unique in being only lengths rather than links & lengths. The track lengths are meant to be carefully bent over and around the sprocket and idler wheels. At bottom center are the wheels. The sprocket teeth seem a bit small. At the right side are many small delicate parts. Cut the handtools from the sprue very carefully, parts like this tend to break under the pressure of clippers.

The above scan is a close-up of the Mk72 tracks at far right with the old, dreadful ESCI polyethylene tracks, ACE’s vinyl and ACE’s etched brass Marder II kit track. Mk72’s styrene tracks look good but honestly look too open, lacking detail.

MK72 gives us the standard exploded view type instructions with part numbers matching the parts diagram. In Step 1 we see assembly of the lower hull and the molded-on leaf spring suspension. The ammunition bins on the engine deck are molded closed.

At the bottom is part of a separate sheet with color multi-view drawings of the four choices of markings and paint schemes for three Marders on the Ostfront and one in Tunisia.

On the back of the box is a color depiction of the model kit with a breakdown of its parts and folding the track runs. In the center are the kit decals for four vehicles. At the top is a color and paint guide. This is some nice, modeler friendly information to include.

Modeling Research

  • Panzer Tracts 7-2 - Panzerjaeger (7.62 cm F.K.(r) auf gp.Sfl. to Marder 38T), by Thomas Jentz and Hilary Doyle (2005), Panzer Tracts, P.O.Box 312, Boyds, MD 20841-0334.
  • Panzerjager, by Horst Scheiber, (1998), Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GERMAN TANKS OF WORLD WAR TWO, Peter Chamberlain and Hillary Doyle, (1978), Arms & Armour, and Sterling Publishing.
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Preview Last Updated: 05 May 2012