The Jagdpanzer 38 (Sd.Kfz. 138/2), also known as the Hetzer was a light Tank Destroyer of the German Wehrmacht in World War Two. Featuring heavy frontal armor for a light tank, 60 mm sloped 60 degrees and armed with a 75 mm gun it was small, fast and easy to produce. Exactly what a country in a losing war would need. Based on the Czech Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) with modified running gear it also proved to be quite reliable, something that can’t have been said of its brothers in arms: the Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger.
The Hetzer was set to replace all of the temporary tank destroyer models, and a total of around 2800 were built. Designed upon request of the famous Heinz Guderian, there is still some debate over the ‘Hetzer’ nickname. Some say Guderian named it the Hetzer, but there appears to be no official document naming it like that. Instead, another small TD was supposed to be named Hetzer,
Inside the nice box with the artwork depicting a scene during the Ardennes Offensive we find a bunch of nicely packaged sprues. Included are a fret of PE, a piece of string and a sheet of masks used for the camouflage. For a kit in this price range this is excellent value for money. But no turned aluminium barrel however. But there are plenty of 75 mm PaK 39 /L48 barrels available for this little kit. And if you know someone with a lathe, i don’t think it will be much of a challenge for him/her to make a barrel for you as the gun isn’t that complicated. The PE fret only has a mesh screen for the air intake, but it looks nicely detailed and will add just a little more detail to the engine deck.
Anyway: the instructions are typical Academy instructions, not the best, but they are pretty clear to me. Moving on to the real plastic: The first impression is good. The upper and lower hull look good, with some minor details like hinges and storage tubes moulded onto the hull, but the hull has for the most part a textured look.
The suspension is fairly complicated and nicely detailed as well, giving you just enough of a challenge to make it worthwhile, but not so complex that a beginner couldn’t handle it. Academy struck a nice balance here I think.
Other details like the MG38 and its mount are just as nicely detailed, with a clear and crisp moulding with little to no flash. The gunshield however has some faint pinmarks on the inside, so some care will be needed to remove these. But the V-shape of said shield makes it a little easier to hide.
Speaking of pin marks: the nicely detailed link-and-length tracks each sport at least one pin mark. They do however have some realistic track sag, but that’s mostly hidden by the schuerzen..
Decals and color schemes
The kit comes with one color scheme: the one you see on the box with the disc came. I think it really looks interesting, but you see the exact same scheme and patterns on most, if not all, Hetzer kits. And if you do some research online you’ll find enough examples of other styles of camouflage used on the Hetzer.
One problem with the instructions on how to use the masks is that they don’t indicate which color goes where, and the masks themselves aren’t marked in any way or shape. I find it hard to see where the masks are on the sheet. It would be nice to at least have the numbers used in the instructions printed next to them.
And I almost forgot the decals. Not much to say about them really. Just a set of balkenkreuzen, but the carrier film seems a little too thick.
A decent kit, something that I think most builders would enjoy building with just enough of a challenge for everyone. It may not be the most accurate or the best Hetzer kit available. But for this price point I think it’s hard to find a better Hetzer kit.
Vehicle: Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer