Deployments of German troops to foreign countries such as Kosovo and Afghanistan showed the importance of being equipped with AFVs that had effective direct fire and mine protection. The Marder 1A5 is a prime example of an Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) that has been upgraded to increase crew protection over the years of service.
The upgrades have increased the Marders weight from slightly over 28 tons originally, to the present day weight of over 38 tons. In order to keep the Marder performing at a high level of agility cross country the Marder 1A5 has improvements to the suspension and braking components. The Marder 1A5s have received new tracks with a width of 500 mm to increase mobility and spread the increased weight resulting from the upgrades. The original Marder track was 450 mm in width. The new track still retains the same style of track link with dual rubber track pads and end connectors. The new track now has solid centre guides compared to the original track with the hollow center guides.
Perfect Scale Modellbau
has simultaneously released both a resin Marder 1A5 conversion set and a set of resin Marder 1A5 single link tracks to upgrade the Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit. The track set parts are cast in light gray resin and packaged loosely in a clear zip lock bag. The set is shipped in a solid 2 x 7 x 10 cardboard box with a partial right side view image of the track set fitted to a Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit.
The parts included are as follows:
2 drive sprocket outer rings
2 drive sprocket inner rings
2 drive sprocket center guide rings
209 track links
There is a single page of instructions included which simply have drawings of the parts with names and numbers. There is no assembly process shown. Modelers need only refer to the Revell-Germany instructions for the assembly process for the drive sprockets. One part from the kit that may be required for the resin drive sprockets are the poly caps. This will permit a snug fit for the drive sprocket on the hull mount.
The drive sprocket parts are required due to the increase in width of the tracks. Using the Revell-Germany drive sprockets would require modifications. The outer drive sprocket rings are very well cast and contain the same bolt detail as on the Revell-Germany parts. The center guide rings are equally as well cast and appear to be a bit thinner than the Revell-Germany parts. This appears to be more in scale with the actual vehicle part. The outer drive sprocket rings are very well done and include complete bolt detail around the outer surface that is not included on the Revell-Germany parts.
The track links come attached to a thin resin membrane on the casting blocks. On my set, of the 209 track links 27 of the track links had broken off during shipping. Out of all of the track links both broken off and still attached, 12 were damaged by either being broken in half or had the end connectors broken off. This left 197 usable track links. In my opinion the breakage was directly contributed to by all the parts being placed loosely in the zip lock bag. The track links themselves are very well cast. They include raised bolt details on the end connectors and centre guides. The rubber track pads have the distinct small cut outs visible and the track links include an accurate hollow portion on both ends.
I compared the resin track links with the Revell-Germany rubber tracks. The width of a Revell-Germany track link from end to end of the track link not counting the end connectors is 10 mm. The width of a Perfect Scale Modellbau resin track link is 13 mm not counting the end connectors. I am not totally sure how the width of the actual Marder tracks is measured but it is obvious that the Perfect Scale Modellbau tracks are wider than the Revell-Germany tracks and that is good enough for me. Modelers should also keep in mind that the two spare track links on the outside of the ramp also need to be replaced with Marder 1A5 track links.
The Revell-Germany Marder tracks measure 88 track links in length. If this is accurate for the correct tension then a total of 176 Perfect Scale Modellbau track links, give or take a few, will be required to assemble both sets of tracks. It is excellent that Perfect Scale Modellbau has included extra track links taking into account that some may break during assembly. The less track links broken during shipping would provide a much bigger buffer.
The Perfect Scale Modellbau Marder 1A5 single link track set provides the modeler with another opportunity to upgrade the Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit. The track set is well cast and has all the correct details present. Given the fragile nature of resin itself, better packaging will provide the modeler the ability to assemble the track set worry free from making a few mistakes during assembly.
The kit is very welcome with the Marder 1A5 currently deployed to Afghanistan and when combined with the Perfect Scale Modellbau Marder 1A5 conversion set, Reviewed Here
, will for sure increase the level of detail and accuracy of the Revell-Germany Marder 1A3 kit.