Bronco Models has released a kit of the Marder IID, so let’s take a look at what's in the box. This was my first Bronco kit, and I was pleased to find the box was completely full. Inside you will find:
- 16 sprues in dark yellow plastic
- 4 track sprues molded in brown plastic
- 1 clear sprue of periscopes
- 1 photoetch fret
- 1 decal sheet with many unit markings
- A 31-page color instruction booklet with 9 marking options, each with a front, rear, and side view in color. Color callouts are for Mr. Hobby, Hobbycolor, Humbrol, and Tamiya paints.
- 1 color poster of the box art on the lid
The steps are pretty self-explanatory in the instruction book and are easy to follow. One thing to note, there are a lot of very small parts and some of the steps are very complicated. There is also a lot of internal detail that won't be seen once the kit is complete. Below, I’ll highlight the steps that require some extra attention.
- Step 2 - Parts H10 (there are four of them) are small and fragile, so be careful and don't break them. They are part of the transmission and gear differential, and although they won’t be visible when the model is complete, it can bother the modeler just knowing.
- Step 4 - Parts B38 are the rubber bumper /shock absorbing pads for the torsion bars on the bottom. Don't lose these parts; though small, they are needed to keep the suspension level. Parts B39 are small pieces attached to the torsion bar arm to help keep the arm locked and on the track. They are difficult to install, but they are also mandatory for getting the suspension aligned correctly. Again, these parts won't be very visible, but they are needed. This is another opportunity for patience.
- Step 5 - Rubber tires, parts B42, are styrene and add a nice touch to the road wheels. There was a slight amount of flash on the road wheels themselves, but it was removed using a quick swipe with a sanding stick.
- Step 8 - Parts J1 and J2 fit on the top of the transmission and are very delicate, so again, go slowly and the assembly will work out well.
- Step 9 - While constructing the right fender and jack, some photoetch, parts P35, are installed on the fender. The photoetch is nice and will be visible later. The headlamp is placed in this step also, but the placement is a little unclear. Check your references, or look ahead to step 10 which has a clearer picture.
- Step 14- In this step, you have the option of leaving the driver’s and radioman's forward hatches open. If you decide to open them, make sure all of the parts in step 8 are assembled nicely as they are very visible.
- Step 16- Care will be needed as photoetch handles, P36, are added to the ammo storage bins.
- Step 19- Track construction was a breeze. They were easy to clean up and even easier to assemble. I used the HobbyTrax Panzer IID tool [a track assembly jig]. Start to finish, assembly took about two hours.
- Step 25 - Two seats and a tarp cover bar are assembled in this step. Again, the parts are wonderfully molded but delicate, so careful removal, cleanup, and handling will provide an excellent result.
- Step 27 - The rear fighting cage compartment is assembled with a lot of photoetch. I didn't own a photoetch bending tool, so I spent $50 to buy one; it was undoubtedly the best money I have spent in a while. The bending tool made this step easy. There are a lot of parts, so take your time and move methodically. You will be rewarded with a great looking assembly for your patience.
- Steps 28-33 - Multiple steps cover the cannon construction. The detail is superb, featuring lots of smaller parts. This is another opportunity to show some patience.
At this point, construction was done for the most part. However, I did leave off the periscopes and pioneer tools. It was a relief to have all the tiny parts installed; I was ready to move on to paint. There are three marking options featuring a dunkelgelb scheme and six in panzer gray. I chose a panzer gray scheme for the 1st SS-LAH. After a few weeks of weathering and painting using Tamiya and Vallejo paints and AK Interactive washes, I added the small parts and the Marder was done.
Overall, this was an extensive build due to the many small parts. There were no issues with the kit, and the fit was excellent. There were just lots of small parts! I think this kit is a little too complicated for beginning armor builders due to the photoetch and small parts. More experienced modelers will love the attention to detail and will find no difficulties in construction. I certainly recommend this kit.
My thanks to Dragon Models/USA for providing the kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.