German 7.5cm Pak40 Fgst.Pz.Kpfw.Marder III Ausf.H

Tristar 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35030
Review by Terry Ashley

Following on from their previous three kits in the 38(t) series, the 38(t) Ausf.B (kit #35026), 38(t) Ausf.E/F (kit #35020) and 38(t) Ausf.G (kit #35022) Tristar have now released this kit of the 7.5cm Pak40 Fgst.Pz.Kpfw.Marder III Ausf.H.

The prototype Marder H was built on the 38(t) Ausf.G chassis with the production vehicles based on the updated 38(t) Ausf.H chassis with a number of detail updates, hence the designation Marder III Ausf.H.

Tristar have resisted the temptation to use parts from their Ausf.G kit and apart from the suspension and running gear have produced a completely new model that also incorporates the excellent AFV Club 7.5cm PaK40 (kit #AF35071) to produce this model that includes a full interior for the first time in the 38(t) series.

The Kit:
The kit has 502 parts moulded in light beige plastic with an additional 220 individual track links, a large fret of etched parts and 8 clear plastic parts plus the decal and instruction sheets.

Standard of moulding is again very good with very few pin marks and those present in unavoidable places are quite shallow and easy to remove but there is a bit of fine flash on some parts but overall the parts are quite clean with the usual moulding seams to be cleaned up prior to assembly. There are many very small parts that will require care when removing from the sprues and during assembly and the level of detail is very good with well defined rivets and extensive use of slide moulds to add extra details.


Lower Hull:
The lower hull tub is made up of the full length bottom plate that includes the lower front plate with separate hull side panels that includes detail on both sides plus the rear plate that when fitted together form the basis for the rest of the kit and as such the fit of these parts is paramount to the final outcome. The fit on my kit was spot on without any warping on the floor plate to start with and precise location resulted in a perfectly square and robust assembly not requiring any trimming or filler.

I use Tenax-7R cement for quicker bonding than some “conventional” liquid cement and this helps get a perfect fit by minimising the chance of panel movement while the glue dries.

It should be noted that you shouldn’t glue both side plates to the floor until the internal gearbox and transmission is assembled as the drive shafts fit into the locating holes on the gull sides.

Added to the hull sides when you do assemble these are separate return roller mountings and bump stops for the front suspension bogie as well as the final drive housings.

View of the Tristar hull side showing the fender kink with the
Dragon kit for comparison with the straight fender channel.
Also note the location of the side vision port which is 2mm to
far forward on the Dragon kit but correct on the Tristar kit

Marder III H
Marder III H

The bolted front armour plate has the correct square profile towing hook plates and bolt locations for the Marder III H and the separate glacis with separate inspection hatch that fit very well to the hull along with the Driver’s instruments added to the underside of the glacis but of course this plate is not attached until the interior has been assembled.

The separate rear hull plate has the circular engine inspection hatch as a separate part and also includes the small diamond shaped access cover on the lower right corner which is a feature of the Marder III H while not on the Ausf.G rear panel.
Other small details such as the towing shackles, idler mountings and an impressive exhaust muffler which is a single cylinder hollowed out using slide moulds with separate end cap and pipe which completely eliminates any mould seams or other cleanup needed on the muffler apart from a very fine mould seam. The armoured cover for the exhaust pipe outlet is also provided along with additional etched parts for the finer details.

Suspension/Running Gear The suspension units are made of seven parts each and are designed to be movable if you are sparing with the glue. The bogie mounting plate fits neatly to the lower hull and the large spring is then attached without glue and held in place with a small U retainer (part E25) but this needed the inside deepened a little for a better fit, this is quite tricky due to the small size of the parts.

Next the two outer axles are fitted again without glue and the axle end caps (parts E7) carefully glued in place allowing the axles to move freely and this allows the suspension to rock back and forth to give the suspension articulation, the springs don’t actually compress but it the next best thing.

The eight road wheels have the correct 32 outer rim bolts and 16 inner hub bolts cleanly depicted on both sides of the wheel as well as having the rubber section as separate parts for good definition and also allowing these to be painted separately from the main wheel. The central hub is also a separate part and there is an inner pin that holds the wheel to the axle allowing free movement and this attachment pin is moulded as a hex bolt even though you can’t see this after assembly showing the attention to detail evident in this kit.

The upper return rollers have inner hubs with separate rubber sections with the “continental” embossing included and this allows for the very crisp detail on the hub.

The drive sprockets have excellent details on both sides of the sprocket discs as well as having separate hubs with well defined bolt heads as do the rear idlers which again have details on both sides of the wheel discs and separate hubs as well as the correct sized lightening holes.

These are in individual links designed to clip together for fully working track to go with the movable suspension and the details on the links is very good with crisp detail and the moulding process adding detail to the guide teeth, there is a little flash on some links to be cleaned up as well as the sprue attachment scar but not a lot.

Each link has two small pins and corresponding locating holes on the opposite side of the link and is designed to clip together in the same manner as many resin track sets.

They click together easily but due to the small size of the links the pins and locating hole edges are quite fine and there was a quite high attrition rate where the links simply came apart with only light handling. With care you can assembly enough to go around the driver sprockets and idlers with those that won’t clip together used for the ground contact run and glued in place.

But the assembled track runs do look impressive and add further to the level of detail in the kit.



Suspension/Running Gear:
As mentioned the interior is completely new and is extremely detailed with many small plastic and etched parts but obviously this will require extra work for some of the more intricate assemblies and some experience with etched parts in particular would come in handy.

The gearbox is nicely moulded with cooling ribs and this is attached to the forward differentials that are made of five main plastic parts and numerous etched parts for a detailed assembly. Added to this is the steering arm and linkages that is made up of 6 plastic and 18 very small etched parts and obviously will require additional effort and care during assembly than with a simple plastic part but the resulting steering arm is a superbly detailed little sub-assembly.

The two crew seats again have multiple plastic and etched parts with the seat itself having the perforated seat pan and separate cushion as well as the backrests that include the fine ratchets for raising and lowering the backrest with the seat mountings from plastic and etched parts for the most detailed seats you are likely to find in a standard kit.

The Driver’s foot pedals are also provided along with the instruments as mentioned earlier while the central radio rack is made from thin etched frames and separate radio boxes as well a the central drive shaft cover from etched metal.

At the back is the engine bulkhead that has etched grills and louvers which can be positioned in the open or closed position as well as the two 8 round ammo racks on the rear wall and the forward 10 round racks on the left hull wall with these detailed with additional etched parts.

The round tubes are probably a little on the thick side and could be improved with some thinning they have the correct contours at the top along with 7.5cm rounds to add to the tubes if you wish. These have been cut off at the base to fit the rack tubes and so can’t be used separately but also included in the kit is the spare ammo sprue from the AFV Club PaK40 with a selection of full 7.5cm rounds, empty shell cases, metal round canisters and wooden ammo boxes to use as required.

Once the interior is assembled you can finish fitting the hull plates together and these fitted perfectly without any trimming or filler needed as did the rear hull plate and upper engine deck.

Upper Hull:

Suspension/Running Gear:
The rear engine deck has the correct sized and positioned gun cradle travel lock as well as the small hatch that covers the travel lock when not in use and the upper deck bolt spacings and side panel hinges are all in the correct position when compared to the available plans and photos of the real vehicle.

The separate large engine deck side opening access doors are the correct style for the Marder III without the rows of blots but there is a fine mould seam along the door curve to be removed which this is easily done as it is not very prominent. Added under the outer edge of the door are fine intake screens from etched parts and while not quite the same style as the actual screens fit correctly into ridges under the door edges.

The small square angled intake at the rear has separate fine plastic grills further enhanced with a fine etched screen frame to add over the top with the angled sides needing to be bent into shape to fit the engine deck contours, easily done with any of the available etched bending tools. Also included is the sliding cover and separate top mesh which is designed to fit to the top of the lower frame which leaves room for the cover to slide in between as well as five small etched bolts to add around the frame with nice definition. There should also be a small wing nut that holds the sliding cover at the desired position but this is not included and will have to be found elsewhere if you want to add this?


While I am here I’ll give a quick update on the available etched bending tools which I have now been using for a couple of years and the result of this long period of field resting sees the best tool IMHO being the original Etch Mate. The reason for this is I have found the small slit along the bending line makes bending fine parts easier and all the various Hold & Fold tools I have used had a tendency for the fingers to warp slightly over time meaning they will not hold the etched part firmly in place no matter how hard you screw down the thumbscrews, this being something that only comes to light after extensive use and has not happened to the Etch Mate which still works as well a couple of years down the track as when first received.

Anyway back to the Marder review we see the two side mounted perforated “trays” being the correct size and the holes in the correct position as well as the rear rod basket being in thin plastic to give the correct round profile and also has the correct curve at the back. There is some very minor flash to be cleared from the rods and the usual moulding seams but these are thankfully very fine and easily dealt with but if you wanted to be really picky the rods are a little thick and could be thinned a little as you clean the moulding seam for an even better appearance.

Added to the side trays and rear basket are additional etched support legs and the two crew seats along the rear hull wall which are in the correct position and have excellent cushion texturing included.

At the front the driver’s plate has the correctly revised bolt layout for the Marder III H which differs from the Ausf.G in having three bolts down the left side with separate visors that can be shown open or closed with inner etched and plastic details added as well as having clear plastic inside visor details.
The full ZB vz.35 machine gun, or Besa in British use is in two halves with the inner gun and outer barrel section that has the muzzle slightly hollowed out and very well defined rib details and this is held in place with the circular retaining plate that has the six bolts correctly orientated, The fit of the driver’s plate to the hull tub is again excellent without any trimming needed and the two visors are also in the correct position for the Marder III H.

Added to the right hull side is the large vision port which is in the correct position with clear plastic inner visor detail and the smaller visor on the left hull side is also correctly positioned.

The multi-part barrel travel lock added to the front of the hull top has the correct four retaining bolts on the top as well as superbly detailed travel lock with alternate ‘claw’ parts to show it open or closed and the lower base of the lock is also correctly positioned away from the support base and includes the central guide pin and nicely detailed outer retaining lugs which allow the lock to be movable after assembly.

Added to the sides are the full length fenders that have very nice raised rib details with the correct ribbing profile at the front plus the attachment brackets on the top but there is no detail on the undersides and they also incorporate the distinctive upward kink of the 38(t) fenders that fits into suitably kinked locating ridges along the hull sides.

Views of the Tristar and Dragon door grills and photo of the real grills.
Marder III H

Other items added to the fenders are the five part jack, the distinctive 38(t) perforated storage box in five plastic parts with the holes cleanly depicted as well as the pioneer tools with some tool clips moulded on and others added from etched parts included.

Superstructure and 7.5cm PaK40:

Suspension/Running Gear:
The superstructure sides are in three parts each side, the two upper sides and lower plate that allows excellent rib and rivet detail to be included on the inside faces as well as outside and the rear wall sections are also moulded quite thin for a better appearance but again there is more assembly required than one piece sides but the fit is very good and the added details makes it worthwhile.

Added to the inside are the ready round racks (4 rounds on the left and 2 rounds on the right) with additional etched parts and the folding periscopes from clear plastic and etched parts.

The separate roof panel matches the Panzer Tracts plans perfectly in size and shape with the two periscope hatches again in the correct position with additional periscopes that you can added if you wish.

The 7.5cm gun as mentioned comes from the AFV Club PaK40 (kit #AF35071) but only provides you with a one piece plastic barrel that has a fair bit of flash to be removed, much more than on any other part but easily removed along with a choice of two part muzzle brake or canvas covered muzzle brake that has the distinctive end cap as a separate part. The five part breech with separate sliding block are positioned over small notches at either end of the barrel for a secure fit and you should obviously make sure the muzzle brake and breech are lined up correctly before final gluing.

Construction is fairly conventional for this type of gun with the gun cradle in two halves with a couple of shallow pin marks on the insides plus the trunnion assembly, recoil cylinders, hand wheels and other smaller items nicely represented.

The large curved front shield fits to the front of the gun assembly which sits on the large T base which has additional parts for added detail and this fits neatly between the hull sides.

The well printed decal sheet has markings for eight Marders in various paint finishes for a good selection.
Clear parts
While the kit requires some additional assembly due to the mulit-part break down such as the hull and superstructure sides plus some quite complex interior details like as the driver’s controls and crew seats as well as some flash you wouldn’t normally expect to see the kit will build into one of the most fundamentally accurate kits you will find today.

The extra assembly work required is certainly offset by the level of detail and in that you don’t have to spend time correcting fundamental detail errors with everything being correct in the first place and are testament to the care that has gone into the kit.

Highly recommended 8.5/10

Additional detail images will be posted shortly along with the full comparison review with the Dragon and Italeri Marder III H kits.
In the meantime I have included detail images provided by Tristar to show some of the finer details.


Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail Images
Close new window to return to review

See the 38(t) Subject Page for additional reviews of 38(t) related kits and accessories.

Also see the Comparison Review of the Dragon, Italeri and Tristar Marder III H kits.

Panzer Tracts No.7-2
ISBN 0-9744862-9-9
Marder III Ausf.H
Nuts & Bolts Vol.18
128 pages, Soft Cover
Marder III/Grille
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.175
ISBN: 83-7219-025-9
Marder III
AFV Super Detail Photo Vol.4

Published by Model Art Co.Ltd.
Pz.Kpfw 38(t)Ausf.A-D
in detail

Special Museum Line No.38
Wings & Wheels Publications
ISBN 80-86416-58-5
Ground Power Magazine
#100 - 9/2002

GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd. Japan

Tristar ShopThanks to CK Pat from the Tristar Shop for the review kit.

Page created April 3, 2007