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Hetzer Kit

Academy 1/35 Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer (Late Version) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2012 Manufacturer Academy
Subject Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer (Late Version) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 13230 Primary Media Styrene, photo-etch
Pros Nice looking kit, simple build, nice paint mask system Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $38.99

First Look

Hetzer Kit
Hetzer Kit
Hetzer Kit
Hetzer Kit

When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, one of the first items on the Wehrmacht's shopping list was control of the Czech armor factories that were turning out tanks with superior firepower then their Panzer I and Panzer II main tanks. These tanks would continue to be manufactured and were designated as PzKpfw 38(t).

The Sd.Kfz.138/2 Hetzer was a self-propelled, armored anti-tank gun mount based on the 38(t) chassis. This vehicle mounted the Pak 39/L48 75mm gun inside an armored shell. Its four-man crew used the Hetzer's low profile to advantage while hunting enemy tanks. Powered by a 160 hp six cylinder engine, the Hetzer could move its 16 ton mass around the battlefield at speeds up to 42 kph.

Here is Academy's 1/35 Hetzer kit and from what I'm seeing here, this is a beauty. The kit is molded in desert tan styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus a single photo-etched part for the engine grille. What you see in the box art on the Hetzer is what's in the box.

While no interior details are provided, the kit does have lots of external details without any over-engineering and the resulting tiny parts. The lower hull doesn't have the old-school holes for motors. It does have nice detailing for the suspension and rolling hardware. The tracks are similar to the old ESCI kits in layout with long stretches of track links molded together and those areas going around drive sprockets and return rollers are molded as individual track links.

The hatches can be positioned open or closed, but if you do leave them open, you have the rangefider coming out of one hatch and a crew figure out of the other. There are two crew figures posed just as depicted on the box art and these look pretty good as-is.

All of the external stowage is molded separately which is a major advantage at this point. Another of the innovative features of this kit is the sheet of yellow-tape pre-cut paint masks. These are laid out to render the paint scheme depicted on the box art where you lay down one color, apply the indicated masks, lay down the second color, apply the remaining masks, and shoot the final color. You and your paint brush will have to do the individual dots.

Generic German crosses are provided for this release and while six are provided, only three are needed.

Academy did a really nice job of creating a buildable model with nice detailing. While they might have added an interior, that would have resulted in a much higher retail price and at around $39 USD (street prices are lower), this is a nice compromise between price and detail. 

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!