The Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer was an attempt by Germany to counter the massive production capabilities of the Allies during the latter stages of the Second World War. Using existing chassis and effectively doing away with the need to produce complicated turret assemblys, meant that large numbers of Tank Hunter/Destroyer vehicles could be produced even with reduced industrial capacity. The 38 Hetzer saw the union between the Pak 39 L48 gun and the already battle proven Pz.38(t) chassis. This model from Eduard represents an early version probably produced around April/May 1944.
This is Eduards first foray into the 1/35th Armour market, and they've done it properly. The kit is beautifully presented. Good sturdy box that will offer good protection for the kit inside during transit, and each sprue individually bagged. 12 sprues of very light tan styrene, on small sprue of transparent plastic that hold the periscopes. One large sheet of photo etch, 2 decal sheets, a length of string, and 2 sets of Eduard wheel masks complete the contents. The moulding quality looks exceptional.....even under a magnifying glass. There is absolutely no trace of flash of any sort, although I did find a slight sink hole in the torso of one of the four crew members supplied.
What makes this kit special for me is the fact that Eduard supply a full crew compartment, a complete Praga AE 160k engine, two versions of the Pak 39 gun, and photo etch tool clips along with photo etch replacements for many other parts. The crew compartment and engine, should you wish to display them, will need a bit of extra work to render accurately.....but the basis of a really good interior is already there, and included in the kit!
Careful test-fitting of the major parts showed no fit problems, the instructions are different to what most people are used to though, being computer generated 3-D, and not as I first thought, photographic. They work though, showing the placement of the parts really well, and also giving really clear, concise painting instructions for ALL the parts, even the crew compartment and engine. The painting instructionas are in Gunze Aqueous, and there is also a Mr.Color conversion chart.
There is provision in the kit for having all the access hatches open, as you would expect since a full interior is supplied, somehow this model has to be displayed with the interior visible! There are no visible ejector pin marks on the inside of any of the removable panels, with just a couple of easily dealt with ones on the inside of the hull. The tracks supplied are link and length styrene, but look incredibly well-rendered. The hollow on the guide horns has somehow been moulded correctly by Eduard, but it does mean that there is a little 'tab' to be cleaned off in front of some of the horns, which looks easy enough. The four crew members suplied have photo etch buckles and insignia on the included fret, but are not quite up to the standard of some of the bigger names in styrene figures, however, with replacement heads they would be fine.
The instructions and decals give you the option of two vehicles, but four marking options, since one of the options is for Pz.Jg.Abt.743, which saw action against Polish insurgents in Warsaw, before being captured and remarked by those insurgents as 'Chwat'. The other two options are for a Hetzer of the 97th Pz.Jg.Abt, with two possible schemes being shown. The instructions for the marking schemes are some of the best I have ever seen, giving a plan view along with the more usual side, front and back views.
A beautiful kit. Well-made, well-moulded and including everything you could want in terms of an interior. Eduard have pushed the boat out on this, their first 1/35th Armour kit. It represents real value for money, and I for one can't wait for their second release!
Further images are available here
My Thanks to Eduard for the review sample.