The AGNM Marder II
I've been asked how I go about creating my masters. Well, in most cases the course is about the same- I get inspired by something, do loads of research and then start building! My current project, the Marder II for AGNM, started out after a chat with Vince. I suggested a tank-destroyer, and mentioned that I'd be willing to do a conversion based on some of his existing components- kind of like the original! After some discussion, we settled on the Marder II- a combination of the PzKpfw II and the 7,5cm PaK 40.
The Reference Hunt
The Obligatory History Lesson
By May 1942 the the PzKpfw II, which was still being produced at a rate of 50 per month, was almost useless in combat. In early June 1942 half of the production of PzKpfw II chassis would be fitted with a 7,5cm Pak 40 anti-tank gun. This resulting vehicle was called the Marder II, or SdKfz 131.
The hull and superstructure front of the Marder II remained the same as the standard Panzer II. A further superstructure was built up on this to create the fighting compartment, with the upper half of the field-carriage mount for the Pak 40 being retained. However, girders were added to provide support for the gun, which was supplied with 37 rounds. The three-man crew was given a 7.92mm MG34 machinegun as secondary armament, plus whatever personal arms they carried.
A total of 576 Marder IIs were built between June 1942 and June 1943, and 75 Panzer IIs were converted between July 1943 and March 1944. Marder IIs were issued to anti-tank units from July 1942 onwards, and served on all fronts until the end of the war.
So, where do I start? Loads of research on the web, and some judicious shopping later, I went with this book (Tornado 65- Marder II) as a reference, as well as a source of plans.
Tornado Marder II
The main plan I used is on page 10- rescaled for 1:56th (well, I cheated a little and re-scaled it to match the width of the resin model).
Tornado Marder II
So, how do we get to
A real SdKfz 131, Marder II
A real PzKpfw II
A real 7,5cm PaK 40
in just a few easy steps? Well, once I'm done, it'll be easy for you- all you need to do is buy the AGNM resin model...
The First Steps
The first step is to remove all the "unnecessary" bits from the PzKpfw II hull- a fairly messy procedure. The main things to remove include the tools on the front mudguards and the wide slice through the fighting compartment.
Marder II Hull, Original
Marder II Hull, Original, Marked
Marder II Hull, Bits Removed
See? The bits removed are:
1) The radio aerial on the left track guard and the axe next to it
2) The hammer on the right track guard
3) The toolbox on the right half of the engine deck
4) A big chunk on each side of the fighting compartment 5) The two toolboxes to the right of the fighting compartment
7 and 8 December
Marder II Hull, Fighting Compartment Floor
At this point, I've begun doing the fighting compartment. The metal bit is the gun carriage, which provides the anchoring point for the gun. I'm taking a few liberties with the compartment (I have to consider Vince's mould-making and the fact that I don't want to have too many undercuts in this lower section, as it might tear the mould.
Marder II Hull, Fighting Compartment Sides
This picture shows the drawing and one of the fighting compartment sides still on the sheet of plastic card. I use 1mm plastic card, and will bevel the tops to produce a thinner section. This is also a "cheat" to allow Vince to successfully cast the thin sides.
Marder II Hull, Fighting Compartment
Here the new sides and the engine compartment top have been added. If you look carefully you can see the bevelled edges of the tops, and the pencil lines on the engine compartment show where the top needs to be cut a little to make the separate panels.
Marder II Hull, Fighting Compartment without and with Gun
These shots illustrate the fighting compartment (I still have a fair bit of work on it), both without and with the 7,5cm PaK 40 installed.