Friday, July 3

Tamiya sneaks in a new Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F and Marder I in 35th scale

News from Japan today with Tamiya releasing some surprise new photos of their latest two kits - the Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F and Marder I in 35th scale. We have some shots for you in our preview...

Two new Germans in 35th from Tamiya...

Who would have thought it? A visit to Tamiya's HQ today rendered an interesting proposition of two new kits in 35th scale. the WWII-era German Tamiya Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F medium tank and Marder I Tanke Destroyer.

Marder I
1/35th scale
Kit No #370 
The Marder I:
The Marder I’s history really started a few days into Operation Barbarossa, when some German units saw themselves almost overrun by superior T-34s and KV-1s. Although most Panzer IIIs fielded there had been recently up-gunned with the new 50 mm (1.97 in) gun, it was still found insufficient. Also, the bulk of the German army was still made of lighter models, either the Czech-built Panzer 38(t) or the Panzer II. The Panzerjäger I was also inadequate. So, a vehicle capable of carrying the best German antitank gun then available, the 75 mm (2.95 in) Pak 40, was urgently needed. One solution was to convert 170 of the already available Lorraine 37L chassis to carry them. The idea was put into practice in May 1942 by Major Alfred Becker.
Becker devised a testing workshop, called “Baukommando Becker”, to modify one chassis in order to carry a Pak 40 with all its undercarriage removed. To make room for the gun, most of the upper superstructure of the Lorraine chassis was modified. A thin 11 mm armoured casemate was then mounted behind the gun, open at the rear and above, only protecting against shrapnel and small arms fire. The gun was placed in the centre and its original shield was kept, in order to obtain extra frontal protection and to speed up their conversion. The light and narrow chassis was lightly armoured itself, so overall protection was poor. Due to this, and working in conjunction with Alkett, the production of 170 of these self-propelled guns was over in two months, between July and August 1942. Baukommando Becker also performed conversions of Hotchkiss H39s and FCM 36s chassis in smaller numbers.
The Marder I was given to tank-hunter units attached to each division on the Eastern Front. By December 1943 or early 1944, most Marder Is had been either destroyed, and those surviving were gradually replaced by the Marder II, III and StuG III late versions. The Marder I was judged satisfactory in 1942, but since it was more of an SPG rather than a pure fighting tank hunter, losses were high until better tactics were used. The remainder were shipped back to France and then operated with Rommel’s 21st Panzer Division operating in Normandy during the crucial summer of 1944. The remaining 131 Marder Is (including those built on the H39 and FCM 36 chassis) were still being used in France on January 1, 1944. These were generally operated in five tank-hunter batteries.
The kit:
Tamiya's newest kit in their 1/35th scale series is the  "German anti-tank self-propelled gun Marder I". It replicates the compact anti-tank self-propelled gun equipped with a long barrel 7.5 cm gun made by a modification on the French armoured carrier. This is also the first model in the MM series. 
The kit includes two figures of the crew looking up into the sky and a detailed interior.

Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F
1/35th scale
Kit No #374 
The Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F:
In April 1941, production of the Panzer IV Ausf. F started. It featured a short-barrelled 50 mm (1.97 in) single-plate armor on the turret and hull, as opposed to the appliqué armor added to the Ausf. E, and a further increase in side armor to 30 mm (1.18 in). The main engine exhaust muffler was shortened and a compact auxiliary generator muffler was mounted to its left. 
The weight of the vehicle was now 22.3 tonnes (24.6 short tons), which required a corresponding modification of track width from 380 to 400 mm (14.96 to 15.75 in) to reduce ground pressure. The wider tracks also facilitated the fitting of track shoe "ice sprags", and the rear idler wheel and front sprocket were modified. 
The designation Ausf. F was changed in the meantime to Ausf. F1, after the distinct new model, the Ausf. F2, appeared. A total of 471 Ausf. F (later temporarily called F1) tanks were produced from April 1941 to March 1942.

The kit:
Tamiya 1/35 series "German  Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. F". was one of the Panzer IV's that made up the backbone of the German army throughout World War II. The Ausf.F kit her shows a simple construction and a detailed finish.
Also included are three figures (full-body images) of the crew members leaning out of the turret.
That is all we know about these two new kits for now - more on them when we get the "dope" - You can see more of Tamiya's kits on their website...