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Academy 1/35 scale Hetzer

Kit:13230 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$39
Academy from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100
Good fits; masks for camouflage pattern; extra parts for vriants
Some parts (such as tools) oversimplified; thick armor skirts
Injection-molded, 248 parts (1 photoetched metal, precut camouflage masks, nylon string), decals
Academy surprised everyone with a late-model Hetzer, sure to draw comparison with several Hetzers available from other companies. Although the kit is described as a “late version,” it has several features of the earlier vehicles. Parts specific to the late version are included, but listed as not used.

The model is molded in dark yellow plastic with a photoetched-metal screen for the engine grille and thread for tow cables. There is no flash, but on many of the parts there are knockout marks in visible areas that require gap-filling super glue to repair. The overall detail is simplified, with some parts on the thick side, but fit is good with no filler needed. The ends of the gun barrels and muffler are molded open, making drilling them out easier if you desire. What makes this kit especially interesting is the scribed masking material for the camouflage pattern.

The directions start with the suspension, but I joined the halves of the hull and the rear plate first. With no interior detail visible through the open hatches and engine screen, it is best to paint the interior black. The area between the upper hull and rear fenders is very tight, so paint this area before the fenders are glued.

Three gun barrels are included; the two shown in the directions are hard to differentiate. I left the gun mantlet and hatches separate to allow insertion of the vision blocks and other optic components after painting. I also left spare track sections and other detail parts off the hull to ease application of the masking material. I painted these parts later, after their proper color became clear.

No length is specified for the tow cables; I just cut them in half. The tow cables are supposed to be looped together and glued to the rear hull, but there are no brackets for mounting them to the hull. I chose to drill holes in the toolbox to give the impression of capacity.

Armor skirts are molded as one piece and very thick; I attached their mounting brackets but left the skirts off until the model was painted and tracks were installed.

The suspension is simplified, but hardly seen with the road wheels in place. The road wheels are well-represented, with detail on both sides. Three types of rear idlers are included; check your references to choose which ones to mount. Link-and-length tracks feature sag on the upper run. I assembled the tracks in two sections: top run and drive sprocket, lower run and rear idler. The suspension is not meant to be movable, but you could articulate it with individual links.

Two figures are included, but their detail is soft and the mounting points damage some of the detail. The fit of the legs and torso required filing and filler to get them together. Painting directions for the figures are vague, so again you’ll need references.

The instructions show only one paint scheme, but I was unable to find any documentation of it; this scheme appears to have been used on early variants. The directions show which mask is to be used with each color; study this diagram carefully.

I painted with Vallejo Model Air paints, spraying panzer tank brown first, then following with panzer dark yellow and panzer olive green. Instead of painting the light, irregular spots of the ambush scheme, I applied Archer’s dry transfer sheet “German ambush camouflage disk pattern” (No. AR35337B).

These vehicles had few markings, so only six German crosses are included on the decal sheet. These adhered with no silvering. I sealed with a coat of clear flat and applied Mig Productions’ filter for tricolor schemes to tone down the camouflage. Mig and AK Interactive washes, followed by dry-brushing, finished the weathering.

There has been some controversy regarding the accuracy of this kit. I found scale drawings in Gun Power 30: Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer, Vol. 1 (by Marcin Rainko; AJ Press, ISBN 978-83-7237-200-0) and in Photosniper Hetzer & G-13 (by Parada, Wróblewski, Koenig, and Dramiński; Kagero, ISBN 978-83-60445-76-1). The model was close to the scale drawings in Rainko’s book.

This kit took 27 hours to build, mostly for masking and painting the camouflage. Replacing all the tool clamps, skirts, and gun shields with photoetched metal and adding the missing tools would go a long way toward improving this model. Still, it’s a fairly accurate rendition that almost anyone who has built a few kits can handle.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2012 FineScale Modeler.


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