Kit Preview : 1/76 Milicast G77 Marder III early, with 76.2 mm Russian gun



About the manufacturer
Milicast is the premier resin model manufacturer in 1/76. Their range is wide, the level of detail is showcase model-level as opposed to wargame model. Their kits are all resin and include a lot of small parts. The quality and level of detail have also vastly improved in the last few years with models having full interiors and sometimes detailed engines. Their latest guns, which I have only seen on the web site also seem to bring the hobby to a new level.
On the minus side, I do question the use of resin for everything as it is more difficult to straighten or unwarp than white metal. Resin parts can be corrected in a hot water bath, but not always perfectly, and the slightest bend in a gun is very conspicuous on a tank!
The Battlefield series are casts of built-up models, with a reduced number of parts and the same level of quality. The downside, as I found out, is that any misalignments are very difficult to correct where they could have been avoided with a little care during construction! Older Milicast models show their age, with loads of bubbles, wobbly panel lines, and chunky details.

About the vehicle
Wikipedia extract: "While the Panzer 38(t) had largely become obsolete as a tank in early 1942, it was still an excellent platform for adaptation into a tank destroyer, among other roles. Since the Soviet 76.2 mm field gun was available in large quantities, the decision was made to mate this gun to the Panzer 38(t). To do so, the turret and upper superstructure of the Panzer 38 were removed and a new superstructure was bolted on to the chassis. The upper part, which housed the gun, was open at the top and back and only lightly armoured. Armour protection overall ranged from 10 to 50 mm. A major disadvantage of this variant was its high silhouette, which made it more vulnerable to enemy fire. The gun itself was rechambered to be able to use standard German 75 mm ammunition, of which 30 rounds could be carried. Apart from the main gun, there was a 7.92 mm machine gun mounted in the hull. This tank destroyer was put into production as the Sd.Kfz.139 Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r). A total of 363 of this Marder III variant were built from April 1942 to 1943." You can read the whole article here .
66 of these vehicles reached Africa between July and November 1942.


About the kit
This is a Premier Series kit with all the parts separate. It will be soon discontinued in favor of the semi-build Battlefield Series model as seen here. I passed on that model because it looks from the pictures that the tracks are not aligned, that is the track on the left side seems to be forward of the track on the right side.

The instruction sheet is only partly useful, because the numbers don't match those on the sprues. I though at first I had parts from another kit. Furthermore the pictures are not crisp enough to determine exactly which part goes where. For instance I have no idea where the gun's cruciform base is supposed to be.



The gun shield has bubbles in some inconvenient places. The hull has some excess resin beneath the superstructure ledge. The tracks also need some cleaning up. Other than that the parts are numerous and crisply molded.

In summary, it looks like a challenging build without some close-up photos of the interior. The final model should look good. I hope however that I won't regret passing on the built-up kit. When in doubt I look for the 1/35 brother of this kit and I got lucky. Tamiya has one and there are some decent photos on the internet here and here.