|KIT:||Tamiya 1/48 Jagdpanzer 38 (t) Hetzer|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||cast metal hull|
Quoting from the instruction sheet: "German armored forces din 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."
Thanks to my really positive experience with the StuG III ausf B, I thought I'd give another of these vehicles a shot and came out of the hobby shop clutching what seems to be a pretty new release. Molded in tan plastic, there are four sprues (two of them identical and that sprue is shown next to the arrow in the image), with two sprues per bag. A cast metal hull is also included and really, I'm not quite sure why this is the case, aside from giving the kit a bit more heft.
Detailing is excellent as one would expect from Tamiya. All but three small parts are used in construction and I'd guess that an early or late production kit will eventually be released, this one being 'middle production'. As with the StuG, the chassis components are first glued onto the hull, then the upper body is built and screwed into place. Most of us will alter this so that we can paint the suspension and wheel bits. There are no screws used in this one, instead the upper body is held to the hull via a pair of polycaps. It will be interesting to see how this holds up.
The tracks are in bits and sections. The bits to go around the drive sprockets and idler, while the larger sections will connect them. No sagged upper tracks on this kit, but since they won't be seen behind the side skirts, perhaps that isn't such a bad deal. The instructions suggest gluing the upper track to the return roller to simulate the sag. Markings are for three vehicles, two in variations of the 'ambush' scheme with only insignia, while the third is in a three color segmented scheme and the number 213. The instructions are quite good, but again, only provide Tamiya color references. There are other paints that are on the market for German armor and most of us will be able to decipher what is needed.
This one has to be another easy build, though painting it will be a bit more of a challenge. Since it is 1/48 scale, most of us will brush paint or mask the camo pattern as I do believe that is how it was done at the factory. None of the drawings in the instructions show the underside so I have to assume that it was like the area behind the wheels and in panzer yellow. Should be a most interesting vehicle when complete.
Thanks to me for buying this one.
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