Model: Jagdpanzer (38)t Hetzer, late version
Manufacturer: Academy (Product Id: 13230)
Painting techniques: -
Model kit sponsored by: Cro-Hobby shop
One of the projects that were created during World War II, which resulted in a very efficient and successful tank destroyer, is Jagdpanzer 38 (t) Hetzer. The main purpose of Jagdpanzer 38 (t) Hetzer was executing the attacks and counter-attacks on enemy armored units. It proved to be the most successful in the execution of coordinated ambushes in close cooperation with infantry regiments, especially with panzer-jäger infantry units. Armed with a 75mm PaK 39/L48 cannon, it was a major threat to enemy armor, and excellent remote controlled (Rundumsfeuer) MG34 on the roof usually made serious problems for the enemy infantry.
Positioning of periscopes and aiming optics was unbalanced and because of this, Hetzer was virtually blind on the right side. Although it had sloped armor, the greatest weakness was its relatively thin side and rear armor plates. Enemy infantry units took the advantage of that weakness, so when they had a chance, they could easily eliminate Hetzer with various anti-tank weapons such as bazooka.
In many occasions, the lack of experienced and trained crews was the main reason for the disturbingly large number of destroyed Hetzers in a relatively short period of time. Training and coordination of Hetzer crews on the battlefield were crucial for Hetzer survivability. Nevertheless, great recognition for efficiency and reliability of Hetzer is the fact that production of some variant of Hetzer was continued after the war and it was in the service of Swiss armed forces long after the World War II.
Production of the first variant of Hetzer began in March 1944 and this Academy model kit represents a late variant of Hetzer produced before the end of 1944.
From what I saw, I can say that this is a very interesting kit. Although the quality of the parts is nothing sensational, it is in line with today’s technology. There are very little pin marks and they are in reasonable places. Some parts require little modification or upgrade, but I do not see any major problems.
Camouflage scheme of this Hetzer is typical ambush scheme and represents one of the most complex camouflage schemes for making. It usually needs a detailed preparation plan. However, Academy gives us a very useful camouflage pattern masking sheet with cutter made masking patches that will provide great help.
Regarding PE parts, we have only a mesh that I consider as minimum that should be made from PE. Synthetic thread instead of metal cable does not necessary means bad option for those who know how to paint and weather. I’ve seen metal cables in more expensive kits that were so poorly defined and useless that it is better to discard them without any hesitation.
I cannot point out any big issues of this kit except perforated stowage box that should have holes instead of dimples, but luckily we have option to choose stowage box without perforation. I would also like to see some parts made from clear styrene, but it’s my subjective opinion.
For those who are prone to maximum detailing, it appears that there is already PE set on the market specifically made for this model. I think that it is not so necessary to buy it, because there is really little to be modified or upgraded and it can be easily done by home-made techniques. Parts for two figures that come with the kit seem to me quite well made, and their poses are very lifelike and appropriate for Hetzer.
I really look forward to make this model.
I decided to start the construction without prior research of any references. Was there such a Hetzer, with such a painting scheme? Is there any reference or not? I do not intend to torture myself with that. I like the way it is shown on the boxart and in the painting guide. Therefore, it will be quite “out of the box” construction that folows assembly guidelines, with some modifications in order to improve details and final appearance.