The Jagdpanzer 38(t) (Sd.Kfz. 138/2), later known as Hetzer ("baiter"), was a German light tank destroyer of the Second World War based on a modified Czechoslovakian Panzer 38(t) chassis. Panzerjaeger 38(t) Starr was a simplified version of the Hetzer which attached the 7.5cm PaK 39 gun to the chassis and was fitted with a Tatra diesel engine. 10 were built, 9 converted back to normal Hetzers. The remaining prototype was destroyed at the end of the war.
This was one of the top five kits I have built—EVER. This is my third Hetzer and 5th 38(t) chassis’d vehicle in the last 3 years. Hands down the best fitting kit of all. It did have some issues though.
First issue was the painting guide. Well, the issue is – there is NONE. Outside camo is listed, but what color to paint anything other than the camo is missing, forgotten or overlooked, not sure which. If there was not an engine that you had to build, this might not be a problem, but as a modeler I was at least looking for SOME guidance on that. And just when I thought things were interesting, the directions were even more interesting! Some parts were mismarked, while others were not marked at all! Try that one on for size. Now, in defense of the kit, it did only have 5 sprues. If this would have been, let’s say, a Dragon kit, well…you get the idea (and if you don’t, build your next Dragon without the directions and then you will!)
This kit had one fit issue. I will address this later with the correction.
So, what makes this kit so great after reading all that above? Well, it went together so well, I was finished with the body before I knew I was done. Even the engine, which is completely buried in the tank and cannot be seen, was a pleasure to build. This was one of the cleanest (no flash at all) and easiest suspension builds I have seen in this model. The hull was a piece of cake, the gun and mantle were easy builds and fit well together. I just cannot fault the fits except in one spot. The side skirts attach to the fenders. OK, but there is a notch out on the fender at the connection of the second and third armor plate. You cannot sand this down, as it seems to take away from the fenders too much. My solution: cut the plates apart at this notch and everything fits great.
The tracks were Model Kasten tracks. While I have built my share of these tracks, I got the feeling this set was a secondhand set, not being up to the usual standards of MK. They were still very good, but needed a little more clean-up than I remember from the past.
Overall it took about 4 hours to build the tank, 12 hours to build the tracks(!), and about 5 hours to paint and weather, for a total of 21 hours to build.
Minus the painting and direction issues, this was a great kit. It also comes with some photo etch parts for the grill, and some hooks.
I would highly recommend this kit to all and, even with the little PE, it should be easy for most modelers.
I would like to thank Trumpeter and Stevens International for the sample and IPMS/USA for letting me review this kit.