The kit has many parts from the first kit with just two new sprues H and N for the late version and comes in the same huge box as the first kit with 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 a decal sheet and two wheel mask sheets plus a 24 page full colour instruction booklet.
Most of the comments below are from the review of kit #3711 as they still apply here with the same parts being used with additions for the new late version parts which are basically the new wheels, gun mounting and mantlet, upper rear hull panel and exhaust plus smaller detail parts.
Quality of moulding is generally very good with virtually no flash present
and a minimum of pin marks but there are a few annoying sink marks on some
parts, in particular on the wheels which we will get too but overall the
moulding is very good with just the usual mould seams to be removed.
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 the MBI Hetzer Jagdpanzer 38, Wydawnictwo Militaria 45 Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer books 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 hull extension tow shackles are the correct profile for the late Hetzer but most had a small reinforcing fillet added to the extension which is easy to add from a small triangle of plastic card.
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 two styles of later idler wheels, with six or four lightening holes but these are rather flat and lack the distinctive concave dish profile and again there are no ribs on the inner axle hub between the two wheel discs.
The road wheels are the correct size and have the correct number of rim bolts for the late version (16) but the bolts 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 a couple being quite large giving the hub a whole new contour and making in virtually unusable. This seems to be an ongoing problem with these sink marks reported on numerous kits and are a sizable defect in a prominent position. Also included in the kit is a set of masks for the wheels to help in the painting process.
The late type 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.
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 late large exhaust pipe made up of five parts with the exhaust being hollow for a good appearance.
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 intake 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 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?
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 with the later style mantlet which
again lacks the three small holes on both sides and top of the mantlet.
While it is easy to drill these holes it is really detail you would expect to be there as they are prominent features of the mantlets as they were on the early mantlets. It should also be noted that there are different styles of later mantlets seen on Hetzers, the style included in the kit with straight lower profile and others with a lip under the front of the mantlet and more pronounced curvature at the upper lip but both have the three recessed holes.
There are alternate barrels provided with different style muzzle collars as seen on 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 with new first and third sections for the late type 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 as with the first 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 Hetzers featured 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.
The 3D illustrations are fairly easy to follow but you will need to carefully study these on the more complex assemblies.
The small decal sheet is well printed with thin carrier film and provides markings for three late Hetzers and some additional stencilling. Two vehicles have five view illustrations showing the camouflage scheme and decal placement while the third just has a single side view and brief history at the front of the instructions.
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.
As with the first kit it measures up well dimensionally 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.
The kit will build into an impressive Hetzer as it comes as seen from Vinnie Branigan’s build of the early Hetzer on Armorama with the interior giving you a sound basis for additional detailing but considerable work will be needed to achieve its full potential compared to contemporary kits of today’s generation.
Again recommended for those who really must have an interior with their Hetzer and don’t mind a bit of extra work.
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.
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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 January 21, 2006