What you get is defiantly a mixed bag with some fine parts and nicely rendered detail such as the hull weld seams while others detail is very basic and lacks definition such as the wheels and interior parts but dimensionally the kit matches available plans very well overall.
The kit comes in a huge box for a vehicle of this size and has 548 parts in light beige plastic made up of 376 for the vehicle, 142 for the individual link and length track, 24 for the four figures and 6 clear parts. Added to this is a fret of etched parts, small printed paper instrument dials, a length of string for the tow cable and two sheets of wheel masks plus a 24 page full colour instruction booklet. One thing I don’t normally mention in a kit review is the price as this can vary depending on your location, but this kit is expensive (USD$70.00) being nearly two to three times the price of contemporary kits that also contain etched parts and metal barrels for that matter, so this has to be taken into consideration when viewing the kits overall value.
Quality of moulding is generally very good with virtually no flash present
and a minimum of pin marks but there are a few sink marks on some parts,
one in particular on the wheels which we will get too but overall the moulding
is very good.
The detail definition as mentioned is hit and miss with some very fine parts and well done weld seams on the hull while other detail is quite basic and lacks definition.
The major kit parts such as hull dimensions, wheels and gun length match available plans to within acceptable tolerances with plans used for comparison from Wydawnictwo Militaria 45 Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer and Ground Power Magazine #89 Oct 2001.
Lower Hull Exterior:
The lower hull tub has the floor, two sides with sponson inserts and front hull plate included and has no other detail other than the locating points for the suspension and interior parts with the panel detail on the underside being very basic. The tub had a very slight warp towards the rear which may not be on all kits but you should ensure the tub is square when attaching the rear panel and other parts so it will sit evenly when assembled.
The rear hull panel is separate and has basic details with the bolt heads looking a little undersized when compared to photos which show the many bolts on the 38(t) being quite prominent. The rear panel fits inside the rear tub walls and will require the side join line to be eliminated completely as the real plate fits to the outside of the hull panels giving the kit panel the appearance of being undersized.
The suspension has separate axles and leaf spring parts and hull mounting brackets that are quite easy to assemble and there is also separate front final drive housings and rear idler mounts which are again all fairly basic in detail but should be adequate for the job. The drive sprockets have nice detail although the hub bolts are undersized and the outer rim lip step is a little small and there are no ribs around the inner axle hub between the two sprockets. At the rear are the early style idler wheels which have quite nice hub details although the outer rim is too thick and again there are no ribs on the inner axle hub between the two wheel discs. Also included in the kit are the two later styles of idler which are not used on this kit but these are rather flat and lack the distinctive concave dish profile that hopefully will be corrected before the later kits are released?
The road wheels are the correct size and have the correct number of rim bolts for the early version (32) but they are a little undersized and there should also be a pronounced lip between the rim and rubber sections which isn’t there and there is no detail on the insides of the wheels other than small bolt heads around the axle stub. On a couple of the road wheels there were sink marks on the central hub, with one in particular being quite large giving the hub a whole new contour and making in virtually unusable. This may not be present on all kits but it would be remiss of me not to mention as it is a sizable defect in a prominent position. You could of course stick some mud or other ground cover over this to hide on the finished model. Also included in the kit is a set of masks for the wheels to help in the painting process.
The track is in link and length plastic but the shoe shape lacks the subtle contour on the actual track with just a square block on the kit track. The guide teeth do have the recess in each tooth corresponding to the open tooth hole of the track which does look impressive. As a consequence of this moulding there are some small notches to be removed from the links but these are quite easy to remove with a sharp blade and overall the tracks should look okay when fitted.
But unfortunately the tracks are the late type not applicable to this kit with the difference being the two ribs in the centre of the links, the early track only having one. This may seem a small point and some may not be bothered but to be completely accurate the tracks will need replacing adding further cost to the kit.
Fitting the track is straightforward with the instructions showing the location of the different sections and you should of course fit the track before adding the skirts.
Upper Hull Exterior:
This is a single piece with a cut-out for the gun and the entire rear end made up of separate roof, engine and crew hatches with the central rear hull panel including the exhaust louvers and separate exhaust pipe.
Detail on the hull is very good with very nicely rendered weld seams on the hull sides, top and the front hull joins and the bolt head and other detail on the roof and rear panel also nicely done.
The moulded exhaust louvers are very rigid in detail not having the distinctive slant (in depth not sideways) but you get the fine outer etched mesh and sliding cover so the louvers will probably be hidden on the final build. The exhaust itself is in plastic with perforated etched heat cover that you bend to shape and fit around the exhaust for a very nice appearance.
The rear fenders are in plastic and are moulded quite thick with bevelled edges to simulate the thin metal of the real fenders but the outer lip is not present and the upper support brackets are also quite thick in appearance. The front fenders are also in plastic and a little thick and it is quite surprising these were not supplied as etched parts given Eduard makes fender sets for other Hetzer kits?
The distinctive 38(t) style fender tool box is supplied in plastic or etched metal which is good as the plastic parts are quite thick in detail but you will use the etched box in any case. All the pioneer tools and jack have separate etched clips and brackets to add some excellent definition although the tool detail, especially the jack is again quite basic and with a large sink hole to deal with also.
The large cast gun mounting cover has subtle top details but lacks the cast
surface texture usually seen on this part and also lacks the two indentations
on the upper notches of the cast mounting. The early style mantlet has the
side contours that miss the subtleties of the real thing as well as not having
the two small holes on either side of the mantlet or the small hole on top
of the mantlet.
There are alternate barrels provided with different style muzzle collars as seen on the early Hetzers as well as separate gun assemblies on the inside which we’ll get too shortly, both the guns are split in two halves in the conventional manner but the fit was very good with only a very small join seam to be eliminated.
Other hull front details include the separate driver’s periscope covers and NOTEK light although this again is rather heavy in detail but the top remote MG34 is very finely moulded with well done cooling jacket detail but the two part gun shield is again a little on the thick side.
The side skirts and brackets are also provided in plastic and not etched metal and you may want to thin these down a little for a better appearance? Additional etched mesh screen is provided for the engine compartment intake on the underside of the rear hull overhang this being the first time this detail has been included in any Hetzer kit.
The test fit of the upper and lower hull parts is very good as is the roof and rear hull panels and no additional trimming should be needed but as always test fit before gluing.
A full interior is supplied which includes in the lower tub the Praga EPA AC2800 engine and accessories plus the fuel tank, radiator, major plumbing and fittings. While all the major parts are included they are very basic in detail with the engine block for example being very “square” and lacking the subtle contours of the real thing, while the fuel tanks and radiator again lack real definition on the details. There are some finer parts that are finely moulded and have nice details included with the assembled engine looking impressive and with some additional detailing with come up well even more so if only viewed through the open engine hatches.
A large engine bulkhead is provided for between the engine and fighting compartments and again the detail on this is adequate but basic lacking definition.
The lower fighting compartment again is very busy with the drive train and forward transmission/gearbox/planetary drive assemblies, crew seats and foot pedals that give you main structures but appear very ‘rigid’ and lack detail definition. The driver’s levers are quite petite and it seems that the finer parts actually have better details than most of the larger parts. Decals are provided for some stencilling on the side walls and you should obviously paint the interior before adding these and moving on the upper hull.
There are also the side mounted ammo racks with separate 75mm rounds with one rack being mounted in the lower tub and other to the upper hull side wall and three different radio sets with nicely refined face panel details. There should also be another floor mounted rack but this is not included and the racks are quite plain without any ammo clips to secure the rounds.
Inside the upper hull is the front mounted driver’s instrument panel which gives you the choice of moulded detail with decal dials or a flat panel with printed paper dials and etched outer face panel whichever you find preferable. The driver’s periscopes are in clear plastic as are the roof mounted periscopes and there are additional items and decal stencilling for the upper side walls.
The most prominent feature is the full gun and mounting for which you get a choice of two versions of the Pak39/L48 75mm gun with alternate parts provided for the gun guard and controls as applicable to the different guns.
The gun assemblies are made up of many individual parts which again see the larger parts fairly basic and lacking detail definition (for example the breech block is not separate) with the smaller parts having much more refined details and help with the final overall appearance which is quite impressive but of course will also benefit from additional detailing.
The assembled gun fits into a large front mounting collar allowing elevation and also includes the lower rounded gun mounting which is an intricate moulding and this traps the gun assembly to the main gun cast shield/mounting allowing the slight traverse of the real gun. The curved roof sight aperture is designed to move in accordance with the gun movement if you are careful while gluing the parts together.
Inside the cast gun mounting opening are two very small fillets either side of the opening with the instructions giving a couple of views of their location as there isn’t any locating points but there should also be a third fillet at the bottom of the opening not supplied but will be easy to add from a small piece of plastic card.
The assembled gun and mounting is then slipped through the hull front opening and the mounting glued in place. The separate binocular sights that protrude from the Commander’s hatch have very delicate inside mounting brackets and also have a clear plastic periscope between the sights and you will need to take care not to damage the brackets once attached to the inner firewall during the remainder of the assembly.
The 24 page full colour booklet is quite impressive and has a brief historical and production rundown on the Hetzer followed by the assembly sequences generated in computer 3D graphics. There is also a parts layout diagram but take care as a couple of the sprue layouts don’t match the actual sprues which may cause confusion when trying to locate a part so double check you have the right part before gluing. This is most noticeable on sprue B with the additional idlers not used in the kit with crosses indication parts not used actually crossing out the early idlers to be used in this kit.
The 3D illustrations are fairly easy to follow but you will need to carefully study these on the more complex assemblies.
Two small decal sheets are provided with well printed items with thin carrier film and provide markings for two early Hetzers, one from Pz.Jg.Abt.743 during the Warsaw uprising in 1944 with markings while in German use and also while in Polish hands with the Polish Eagle and name “Chwat” added to the front and both sides.
The second of Pz.Jg.Abt97 during 1945, vehicle 114 in three colour disruptive camouflage pattern.
Both vehicles have a brief history given plus six view colour illustrations showing the camouflage pattern and decal placement including alternate schemes for “Chwat”, one with Brown pattern with Dark Green outline over Dark Yellow and the other with Dark Green pattern with Brown outline over Dark Yellow. Evidence from the only surviving “Chwat” wheel aquired by the Polish Army Museum clearly shows the Dark Green pattern with Brown outline over Dark Yellow is the correct scheme. Click HERE for images of the wheels which also give excellent views of the bolt heads on the front and back of the wheels.
Included are four crew figures in plastic with additional etched parts for the rank insignia and decorations. Details on the figures are quite good with just the usual moulding seams to be removed but there was one large sink mark in the back of one figure and the heads may benefit from replacements.
The figures are broken down in the conventional manner of upper torso, separate legs, arms and heads all wearing field caps with two sitting, one loading ammo and the other standing with hands on hips.
Dimensionally this kit measures up well with some very nice external details and the full interior will add to the overall impression of the kit. As mentioned there are areas that will need attention such as the wheels and mantlet and while the sum of the interior parts will look impressive individually the larger parts have quite ‘rigid’ basic detail that lacks definition. Additional detail work will enhance the kit further and while some may think this review is overly critical we have to take into account the asking price for this kit and does this represent a corresponding increase in detail and value over contemporary kits which also offer etched parts and bonus figure sets?
The kit will build into an impressive early Hetzer (the tracks not withstanding) with the interior giving you a sound basis for additional detailing but it doesn't stand up well detail wise against recent current generation kits such as the AFV Club and Dragon Tiger Is or the Panzer IVs from Dragon and Tristar.
Many of detail omissions and other details mentioned above can be seen in the Osprey Modelling the Jagdpanzer 38(t) 'Hetzer' book, including images of the Verlinden Praga EPA AC2800 engine showing what it should look like as well as in the other references listed below.Recommended for those who really must have an interior with their Hetzer and don’t mind a bit of extra work.
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Out of Print but with excellent
details and 1:35 plans
Jagdpanzer 38(t) 'Hetzer'
Osprey Modelling 10
| Ground Power Magazine
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
|Ground Power Magazine
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
| Jagdpanzer 38(t) 'Hetzer'
Wydawnictwo Militaria 45
Osprey New Vanguard 38
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Page created November 30, 2005
Updated December 9, 2005
(in blue italics)