The Marder II D...surely not the sexiest tank hunter produced but one that many of us have been waiting for, other than the Alan kit. One of Bronco Models
newest releases, the Marder II D is modeled on the D2 chassis with the wire mesh casemate rear. With the major visual difference in the D1 and D2 chassis being the sprockets and idlers, it may be possible that both versions can be modeled as Bronco includes the D1 drives/idlers as "not for use" parts. Just a little over 200 Sd.Kfz.132's were built, with about a quarter of them on the D1 chassis.
This box is so packed that the lid nearly flew off on its own. Everything was well packaged with the exception of the PE fret which was bagged together with the clear sprues and got distorted a bit...not the first time this has happened with a Bronco kit, but nothing to cry about either.
• 19 sprues in tan and brown
• 2 clear sprues
• PE fret
• Decal sheet
• Instruction booklet
Two separate sheets are also included; a full color boxtop artwork and 2 more marking options. The 32 page instruction manual contains 33 steps for constructing the Marder II along with an additional step for the ammo and cases. The instructions are very well laid out in the typical Bronco fashion.
There are a lot of sprues in this one although glancing at the parts list we find that many are marked "not for use". Kit parts include newly tooled and from the 35061 Pz.II D1, 35056 PaK36 and 35045 76.2mm M1936 kits...so plenty of good stuff for the spares box. Mold quality appears to be very good with only fine seam lines, connection points and nodes to deal with. The very few ejector pin marks are in areas that will be hard to see...the inner hull bottom and underneath the fenders, both easily dealt with if so inclined.
The lower hull is a multi-part affair with the hull bottom, sides, firewall and rear as separate parts. An interior of the driver's station is included, although at best, this is an educated guess as there are no survivors or interior photos that I am aware of. This area does match up to technical drawings of the Pz.II D/E and is an appreciated addition since the drivers and radio operators hatches can be modeled in the open position. A radio is included using both styrene and PE parts. The gauge cluster looks spot on, unfortunately there are no decals included for the faces.
The suspension arms will need the mounting lugs to be trimmed 3.1mm according to the instructions, most likely due to the inclusion of the torsion bars on the inside lower hull. The hull sides have stops where these fit in, so a fairly accurate measurement and cut may need to be performed to get them in the right position.
The D2 sprockets and idlers look excellent, and as mentioned earlier the kit includes the ones from the D1 kit, so either variant may be possible. The idlers look to be adjustable for tension, and a nice feature is the separate adjusting rod, although no threads are molded on. The road wheels have separate rims, tires and hubs which all look excellent with the exception of the rims missing the rivets from the lip. The separate tires will make painting these much easier.
The full length fenders have a nice treadplate molded on the topside, the underside is bare. PE is used to good effect here, especially for the headlight mounts. Many period photos show the headlights not in place, most likely stored onboard, and Bronco makes it easy to mimic this.
The upper hull features separate hatches front and rear, providing more options for the modeler. The only concern that I have in this area is the rainshield over the driver/radioman's vision ports scales out too long compared to my scale drawings. Scale drawings can be incorrect so this will need to be checked more thoroughly during the build.
The center mount ammo locker looks to be accurate and the PE handles are a perfect touch. Period photos of the casemate are few and far between but it looks like Bronco did a very good job here. The casemate walls are molded quite thin and should look good when finished. The PE camo tie-downs may be a bit of a challenge due to their size, but the end result will be much better than some molded on lumps of styrene. The tarp support can be modeled in the up or folded position...or left off entirely. The wire mesh at the rear of the fighting compartment is all done in PE and should really look the part with a minimum amount of trouble.
The main gun itself takes parts from previous releases mixed with some newly tooled ones. Detailing looks very good on both the gun and the shield. The travel lock can be positioned in either mode. The included ammo and cases is welcomed, and includes both HE and AP shells. The wooden cases have actual box joints (nice touch!) and what appears to be a bit heavy woodgrain effect...this can be smoothed down if painting shows it to be excessive. Enough for four cases full of ammo is provided.
The tracks are indy links molded in dark brown, four attachment points each and go together beautifully. I made a quick run of 10 links in under 2 minutes to check the fit. Crisp and clean, these tracks will look great right out of the box...no need for aftermarket tracks in my opinion. Enough are supplied for all options, with plenty left over too.
Paint and Markings:
Bronco provides nine full color paint/marking options which are more like 4 view color plates as seen in reference books. Paint schemes range from Dunkelgrau to Dunkelgelb to tri-tone camo. Decals included will do at least one more option than the instructions show.
Although there is no concrete proof of what is behind those casemate walls, that I know of, it looks like Bronco did a very good job guesstimating at the hidden details. The overall quality of the kit is very good and the PE is used to its best advantage. The tracks are superb and, in my case, eliminate the need for Friuls.
For a Bronco kit, this one looks to be less "intimidating" to build, the parts are fewer and larger than some of the other kits from them that I have, and yet the detail looks stunning. Will be interesting to see this one built.
And speaking of that,his kit just begs to be built, not only because it looks so good...but I can't get all the sprues back in the box! Yup, it's on the bench already...I'll start a build log soon.
Nuts & Bolts Vol. 24, Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. D/E and Variants
My thanks to Darren Baker and Bronco Models for the opportunity to review this one.
A Build Log
has been started in the forums.