|KIT:||UM 1/72 Tank Hunter 'Hetzer' (early version)|
|PRICE:||$10.98 (9.96 at Squadron)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes photo-etched frets|
Using the well know and reliable chassis of the PzKfw 38 (t) along with the equally reliable Pak 39/L48 anti-tank gun of 75mm, the German Army had what turned into an outstanding vehicle. In April of 1944, production started on what was called the SdKfz 138/2 'Hetzer'. In addition to the 75mm anti-tank gun, it carried a 7.92mm machine gun. Forward armor was 60mm in thickness. This 16 ton vehicle was powered by a 6-cylinder Praha engine of 160 hp. In all, a total of 2849 Hetzers were built and used extensively by the German Army.
Once more, a theme on the Panzer 38 (t) chassis, though in this case, there is much less of it than with other similar kits. In fact, if you look at the sprues, you'll find that only the suspension and tracks are from the other 38 (t) variations. All new on this one is the hull and the gun parts. You'll see that two different mantlets are provided, though only one is used on this early variant. You can pretty well count on at least one more boxing of the Hetzer. In fact, many of the parts on the lower right sprue are not for this varation.
The parts on both the older and new sprues are very well detailed, especially for this scale. I found no issues with sink areas or flash or ejector pin towers. This last item has been quite prominent on some of the older kits. Parts are well molded and the plastic seems a bit less soft than their green, but I won't really know if this is the case until the kit is built.
The kit also supplies a small etched fret. This is for a stowage box, a machine gun shield, muffler shield and a few other small straps.
Instructions are quite good, providing well drawn construction steps and giving color information in Humbrol and generic terms. I find UM's instructions a tad busy, but if one pays attention, there should be no problems. Markings are provided for three machines, all from the 1944/45 time period. They are in mostly Panzer Yellow and Panzer Green in a disruptive camo scheme. All are a bit different and the painting drawings are of a great deal of help. The decals are fairly well done, though just a tad off register when it comes to what seems to be the Russian Army of Liberation flags. The clear carrier is a bit large, but they should provide little difficulty.
To my knowledge, this is the first Hetzer in this scale, though I'm sure I'll have e-mails if that isn't so! It is a neat little vehicle that will find a lot of eager buyers, especially at what is a most reasonable price.
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