The origins of the German Schutzenpanzer Marder Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) can be traced back to 1959 when a replacement for the HS 30 AIFV was being sought. The Bundeswehr anticipated the need for an AIFV that would be able to operate side by side with the Leopard 1 Main Battle Tanks, having reliable multi-purpose firepower, excellent armour protection, ease of maintenance, and the capability of carrying troops safely into combat.
In May 1971 the first production Marders were handed over to the Bundeswehr. Over the course of the 1970s to the present day more than 2100 Marders would serve with the Bundeswehr. The Marders were upgraded over the years to the current Marder 1A5 version. The Marder 1A5 incorporates the modifications completed on the Marder 1A3 with additional mine protection armour plating added to the bottom of the hull under the driver’s compartment, new ballistic side skirts, wider track, and additional stowage boxes on the hull top.
Internal modifications include further levels of crew and troop protection added in the turret and hull in the form of spall liners and a compete rearrangement of troop seats to reduce the chance of injury due to the blast and shock wave energy created during an under hull detonation and side RPG blasts. Initially 74 Marder 1A3’s were upgraded to the Marder 1A5 configuration, with deliveries starting in December 2002. The Marder 1A5 has seen operational service in both Kosovo and presently in Afghanistan.
The conversion set comes packaged in a 2” x 7” x 10” sturdy cardboard box with a right side view image of the conversion parts fitted to a Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit. The conversion kit consists of nine light grey coloured resin parts contained in a zip lock clear plastic bag.
The parts included are as follows:
•Left and right side skirts
•Bottom hull armour plate
•Front hull stowage box
•Right and left rear hull stowage boxes
•Two grab handles for the rear hull stowage boxes
•One grab handle for the front hull stowage box
The instructions are included on a single sheet and consist of the same right side view used on the box top, a bottom view showing the bottom hull armour plating, and a top view showing the placement of the three stowage boxes. There are no instructions included regarding the exact placement of the parts or the attachment of the grab handles.
While this is a relatively simple conversion, it does change the look of the Revell-Marder 1A3 kit and upgrade it to the Marder 1A5 version in use currently with the Bundeswehr. Both side skirts are attached to casting blocks running along the entire bottom length and should not be difficult to remove. The side skirts are very nicely produced with very good details. In particular there are three distinct types of bolts present on the side skirts and Perfect Scale Modellbau has done a very good job of showing the differences. Starting at the top there are pairs of tiny raised bolt heads on the side skirt rail mounts. Moving down there are the correct three recessed bolts on each side skirt section. And finally along the bottom of the side skirt there are additional recessed bolts with additional recessed bolt holes indicative of Allen key tightening. This is a very nice feature included that is sometimes difficult to cast in a part.
At the ends of each side skirt piece there are small flaps that overlap the front and rear fenders once fitted. Care must be taken as these resin parts are thin and fragile. Modelers must note that there are in fact a distinct left and right side skirt. This is easily visible in reference material but there is no mention of it in the instruction or box top images. The left side skirt has a cut out foot hold in the first section. The right side skirt also has a cut out foot hold but it is in the rear section and it has a cover with three bolts. In looking at reference material some Marder 1A5’s have the bolt on cover in place and others do not. Images of Marders deployed to Afghanistan have the right side foot hold opened up.
The bottom hull armour plate has very unique serrated edges and should simply fit into place once the casting block is removed and cleaned up. I would recommend dry fitting the piece to ensure all of the serrated edges sit flush against the hull bottom before attaching it. From looking at reference images there does not appear to be any overt weld seams for the bottom hull armour plate.
The front hull stowage box is nicely cast with three panels of anti-slip texturing cast on the top. There is a small cast retaining chain on the back side and a small cast padlock on the front side. A small lid handle is also cast on the box. A separate lifting handle is supplied for the left side of the box and a look at the provided reference material will assist in the correct placement. Strangely, the longer lifting handle for the front of the box is not included in the kit. This is odd since two other lifting handles are included for the rear hull stowage boxes. I would recommend that modelers scratch build the missing lifting handle using the other two longer handles provided as a reference. A good image of the front lifting handle can be seen in last image on the first page of the second link provided for the Prime Portal Marder 1A5 walkarounds.
The two rear stowage boxes are equally well cast each with two retaining chains, lid handles, and padlocks. There is also nicely replicated raised reinforcing rib detail on each box lid. In looking at reference images there does not appear to be any anti-slip coating on the box lids. Each box is also provided with a cast lifting handle. Both boxes are identical, so it does not matter which side they are fitted. The key is to place them properly on the hull top and that is best done by referring to good reference material.
I think this is an excellent simple conversion to update the Revell-Germany Marder 1A3. Perfect Scale Modellbau has again produced finely detailed resin parts which are easy to work. The shortcomings come in the form of the part placement in the instructions and the missing lifting handle. These are only minor issues and a simple fix for modelers wanting an accurate project. One thing to note is that by simply adding this conversion to the Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit you will not have an accurate Marder 1A5. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review the Marder 1A5 also received wider tracks during the upgrade process. With forethought and a keen sense for details Perfect Scale Modellbau has produced a set of Marder 1A5 single link tracks which are Reviewed Here
Number 5017, SPz Marder, The Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle of the Modern German Army by Peter Blume