Sd.Kfz.131 Panzerjäger II für PaK 40/2 "Marder II" Early Production Smart Kit
Despite early and overwhelming success of its armored and mechanized forces during initial conquests in western and eastern Europe early in World War II, the German Wehrmacht found itself in urgent need of an able tank destroyer capability as it began to encounter Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Initial response was to repurpose obsolete tank designs, such as the Panzer II, and refit them as tank destroyers. An incarnation built on the Panzer II chassis, Marder II’s were initially fitted with rechambered Soviet 7.62 cm guns, and were designated Sd. Kfz. 132. Follow-on production examples were fitted with 7.5cm PaK 40’s and designated Sd.Kfz. 131. Their open-top configuration and thin armor limited their utility in urban environments, but their mobility and firepower made them a notable improvement over fixed and towed anti-tank weapons they were designed to replace.
Leveraging existing Marder II variants, Dragon tosses in the “Early Production” version on this pass. Although touted as “Early Production,” it’s perhaps more accurate to call this “Early PaK 40”, since the earliest Marder II’s carried the 7.62cm Soviet gun, which is not offered in this incarnation from Dragon. A quick scan of the instruction sheet indicates about 20-25% of the 650 parts will not be used, leaving ample goodies to go in the spares box.
Plastic parts typical of recent Dragon fare – crisp molding and fine detail in light gray plastic. Individual track links and a fret of PE are provided. Interior detail is significant, including detailed driver’s compartment, transmission, fighting compartment, and gun and breech. A single decal sheet, printed by Cartograf, is also included.
Assembly sequence is standard order – running gear, lower hull, lower hull and interior detail, upper hull, gun, paint, and decals. Marking options for two vehicles are provided.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Building upon their proven and accepted Marder II designs, Dragon has another winner here in its Marder II “Early Production.” Recommend this kit for intermediate and advanced modelers looking to add another German tank destroyer to their stashes or to run across their workbenches..
Thanks to Dragon USA for providing the sample kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to provide this review.