SMK 1/87 Hetzer SPG
|PRICE:||$14.95 from www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
German armored forces in WWII created a variety of vehicles by mounting anti-tank guns on obsolete tank chassis. These machines performed even better than expected, yet were still vulnerable due to high vehicle profiles and open topped turrets. Allied bombings took a heavy toll on German production faciti8es, and further increased the need for an easily produced yet effective light tank destroyer to replace the StuG II and Marder. Prototypes of the Hetzer, which shared many of the components of the 38 (t) tank, were ready by 1944 and mass production began in April of that year.
The Hetzer was covered entirely7 with sloped armor and possessed a compact form and low silhouette, giving it much improved defensive abilities over other self-propelled guns. Armament consisted of a 75mm Pak 39 gun in a fixed mounting as well as a front mounted remote controlled MG 34. It featured a wide body to accommodate the 4 man crew, as well as a strengthened lower hull with large wheels, guide rollers and tracks. Hetzers first entered service in July 1944 and would eventually be assigned to a number of units. BMM and Skoda continually refined the Hetzer during production and more than 2,800 vehicles were built. Owing to the ease of production and high operating rates, the Hetzer came to serve as Germany's main tank destroyer in the later years of the war.
It seems like there are a variety of scales in which war gamers like to operate, with 1/87 being one of them, apparently. Not to say that 'regular' modelers don't appreciate the scale and of course, HO railroaders like things in this scale as well.
Packed in a super sturdy box that could easily hold four or five of these kits, the kit is molded in a green plastic with black rubber band type tracks. Molding is really first rate, especially for a kit of this size. The main gun even has the end hollowed out, telling me that slide mold technology was used for this one. Despite its small size, the kit includes two optional machine guns; differing in the style of shield that is used. There are also the expected side skirts and a number of well molded bits and pieces to fit on the hull such as a jack, stowage boxes, mufflers, light and so on.
Instructions are a well drawn four step sheet that shows where everything fits. The kit is devoid of decals, so you'll have to go elsewhere for those. No camo and markings guide either, though the box top photo shows a representative vehicle in the 'ambush' scheme.
Add this one to what seems like a growing number of kits in smaller than standard scales. Whether used in war gaming or in building up a diorama or simply because you like them, this is a very nice one and will make a good addition to your display shelf.
Thanks to www.scale-model-kits.com for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount
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