Here we have a Fallschirmjager Tank Hunter Platoon consisting of Marder II's to go with the 1st Fallschirmjager out of Cassino.
These are one of several units I completed over the past few months but are far and away one of the longest in the making. I had intended to run them during Infantry Aces when Cassino first came out but ended up just running more infantry and support instead. Being Fearless they make a pretty interesting unit selection for this support choice in the company diagram. You can also select Pak40's for this slot in the force diagram but I really like having the mobility of them in play.
Among Marder's, I think the Marder II is one of the best. Having front armor 1 gives a good measure of protection compared to the Marder III M with Front armor 0. The AA MG, as opposed to the hull mounted MG's of some variants, is great against infantry and has a shot at air. I've never used it for anti-aircraft duty but the capability is there. Having the 7.5cm PaK40 gun with AT12 makes them an excellent choice for much anti tank work.
From a model perspective I like the look of them quite a bit more than the other Marder's. It has a lower profile than the Marder I and unlike the Marder III has the gun mounted mid hull giving it a very tank like look. The Battlefront model quality was good but lacked the AA machine gun. I had to order some of the machine guns from the special order catalog. I couldn't get the half-track AA MG's to work to my liking so I just used regular MG's and glued them to the hull at two places. They won't be going anywhere. Having them modeled correctly will help remind me and my opponents that I have machine guns. I glued the barrels to the gun shields and magnetized them to the hull. While completely unnecessary, I can now remove the guns and store them in smaller sized foam spaces.
Since this was a Fallschirmjager platoon I did some work on the crew to make them look the part. I did head swaps on several of them from spare panzerknackers I had. I cut off the shoulder epaulets and painted them in late war splinter camouflage. To add variety I swapped out a couple crew with extra guys from a mortar platoon I had previously done.
For the vehicle paint scheme I decided to go with something that would go with the battle worn look of one of the combat platoons for 1st Fallschirmjager.. I wanted the unit to look as if it had been retreating all the way since Tunisia. Using this paint scheme I felt like it would work pretty well for mid war and late war. The crew and crew camouflage may be off but I think they will work well enough for all action in the Mediterranean, Fallschirmjager or Heer.
Using Battlefront's guide German Tank Colours: Africa I drybrushed V879 Green Brown followed by V819 Iraqui Sand for the main color. I then used the torn blister foam chipping method with V995 German Grey for the wear. This is the first time I have tried weathering and I found the technique to be quite easy. I was however, not entirely happy with the result because I think I over did it with wear. I think less is more and if I do this again I will do less chipping. I used pencil on the chipped parts to try and show through to the metal but I don't think it does much. Next time I would use metal paint.
I also discovered on these lighter painted models my normal method of black lining using a technical pen was unattractive. I think it works well for US or Soviet armor with their much darker bases but with Middlestone or these lighter colors it's too bold for my liking. I ended up using a watered down black wash sparingly. Less aggressive dry brushing would probably help achieve a better result, again, if I ever do the scheme again.
All in all a fun unit to model and paint giving my paratroops some badly needed AT.
Stay tuned for some more next week.