www.onthewaymodels.com

Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
Late Production

Kit # VS720021 Review by Rob Haelterman

Introduction

The Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" was a tank hunter derived from the PzKpfw 38(t), using a widened chassis and completely redesigned hull together with larger roadwheels (825 instead of 775mm diameter). Its gun was the Pak 39 L/48 which used the same ammunition as the 7.5 cm KwK 40 of the PzKpfw IV and as the 7.5 cm StuK 40 of the StuG III and IV (but not the same as the PaK 40). It seems that the name "Hetzer" was never used by the Germans themselves during the war. Risking the wrath of some historians, I will continue to use the name "Hetzer" in this article nevertheless, purely because it is shorter to type than Jagdpanzer 38(t).

Production started in March 1944. 2447 Hetzers were delivered to units between May 1944 and May 1945 [5] and the vehicle became operational on the Ostfront in the Summer of 1944 and on the Westfront in September 1944.
The type served in Panzerjäger units of infantry and Volksgrenadier divisions and independent Panzerjäger Abteilungen, not in the Panzerdivisionen, although some exceptions existed [2,5].


 

Contents

Vespid is a relatively new Chinese manufacturer, but already with a solid reputation for quality, akin to that of Flyhawk kits.

The instructions are clearly printed, in color, on glossy paper. A few parts are not for use as they are intended for the earlier version represented in kit VS720022. (In case you wonder, it doesn't seem that you have all the parts to build the early version from this release, however.) The only option this kit offers you is to use a plastic or metal gun barrel and the choice between two marking options that don't refer to any particular unit or theatre of operations. We'll coma back to that later.

The main parts. An interior or crew figures are not provided, but the gun sight is connected to the main gun, allowing it to move in parallel.
I wonder why there is such a large gap next to the lower hull. (I checked, and it's also there in companion kit VS720022.)
Based on what I find at Henk of Holland, sprue A is almost, but not entirely identical to that of VS720022 as the latter contains two types of gun mount.

Tracks are link-and-length, very crisp and well detailed.

Roadwheels, idler, mantlet and other parts that are dedicated to the late version. The roadwheels have detail on the back. Only the rare 4-hole idler type is given, which is a pity, given what marking options you are presented with.

Steel tow cable, plus metal cylinder (sleeves) for the ends of that cable, a metal gun barrel and PE parts. The instructions tell you that you get two sleevs, but my kit contained three. Clearly Vespid knows that I am bound to feed at least one of these to the carpet monster.

Small decal sheet. Well printed.

Version

According to my references (see below), the Hetzer evolved as follows (in bold the features of the kit), leaving out the prototypes:

  • Initial prodction
    • scalopped gun mantlet
    • ram horn towing attachments
    • 12-hole idler
    • A few with muzzle brake
    • A few with transversal beam and tow hook on rear plate
  • April 44:
    • Ram horns dropped, hulls extended with towing eyes
    • Slightly smaller flange on top plate for mantlet
    • No lightening holes in outer rim of drive sprocket
    • Rundumfeuer MG shield shortened
  • May-July 44
    • Extra hatches sloping on rear hull plate: one for commander and two close at each side of the bottom of that plate. Spare tracks moved accordingly.
      Some remarks:
      • I have read (but can't remember where) that the commander's hatch was later reduced in size. I have no visible proof of this.
      • [5] shows a picture of a vehicle with only the extra commander's hatch, but not the maintenance hatches, and already with the new gun mantlet. This seems like a rare exception.
        Drawings in [5], however, show the following evolution which seems to be contradicted by pictorial evidence
        • Two extra hatches: commander + right maintenance
        • Only extra commander's hatch
        • Three extra hatches when the new muffle was introduced
    • No heat guard for muffler. I am unsure if this was an intentional measure, or it was only due to temporary lack of parts.
    • 3 Pilzen on roof (June, according to [5])
  • Aug 44:
    • "Ambush scheme" introduced
    • Lighter gun mount mantlet (gun mount without bolts and different shape, no notch in "Saukopf" mantlet)
    • Larger wheels with smaller rubber rim and 16 rivets (?) instead of 32 bolts, but same overall diameter accorindg to . [5] claims this only happened in October 44.
    • Various new types of idler fitted
      - 6 hole flat
      - 8 hole flat welded
      - 6 hole dished, stamped, ribbed
      - 6 hole dished smooth
      - 4 hole dished smooth (Skoda)
  • Sep 44:
    • Edges of Schürzen bent inwards
  • Oct 44:
    • Flush driver’s periscope with rainguard
    • Riveted (instead of bolted) roadwheels, which is probably indistinguishable in this scale. (This change might already have happened when the new roadwheel was introduced.)
    • Flammvernichter exhaust, mounted higher.
    • Stop light on left rear fender in lower position.
    • New hatches left and right of exhaust
    • Small reinforcements to top of gount mount on some vehicles [5]. I have not yet seen visible proof.
    • Stronger front suspension; the vehicle no longer showed a nose heavy stance
    • "Ambush scheme" phased out
  • Very late production.
    • Loops for camo
    • Side supports for tow eyes, or tow eyes replaced by heavy duty U brackets

Befhelspanzers carried an extra Sternantenna on the rear left hull side.

 

Based on these observations, the vehicle in this kit has accurate feautures for a vehicle built from September 1944 onwards, which makes it the same version as the Esci kit (which has other issues however). The 4-hole idler is rather rare, however, and has implications for the marking options.
Both of these options can be found in [5] and are the same two marking options of the Eduard 1/35 kit.

  • 212 is given as a vehicle of 97. Jäger-Division in Moravia, Czechoslowakia, May 1945. The vehicle is drawn in [5] with a 6-hole idler, which is confirmed by a picture in the Eduard instructions. Eduard also mention that the "212" might be in red or black with a white border, instead of blue.
  • 102 is given as a vehicle of 8. SS-Kavelerie-Division "Florian Geyer", Transylvania (Romania), Autumn 1944. The vehicle is drawn in [5] with a 6-hole idler. While Eduard confirms, I have not yet found any pictures of the real vehicle. The Eduard instructions also mention that the "102" might be in red with a white border, instead of blue.

The idler in the kit is thus incorrect for at least one of both options and likely for both. A 6-hole idler can be sourced from OKB Grigorov, or from the UM kit of the Hetzer.

Note that 212 might have had fake visors painted below the real visor.

 

 

 

 

References


[1] Panzerjäger 38(t) Hetzer & G-13 Vol I, Photosniper 3D #14, M. Motyka et al., Kagero, 2014
[2] Panzerjäger 38(t) Hetzer & G-13 Vol II, Photosniper 3D #17, M. Motyka et al., Kagero, 2015
[3] Hetzer & G-13 Vol I, Photosniper #17, M. Koenig & G. Parada, Kagero, 2003
[4] Jagdpanzer 38, In Focus 1, Panzerwrecks, 2015
[5] Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer Vol.1, Gunpower 30, M. Rainko, AJ Press, 2008
[6] Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer Vol.2, Gunpower 30, M. Rainko, AJ Press, 2010
[7] Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, TankPower Vol VIIII (219) Limited Edition, J Wrobel, Wydawnictwo (1997)
[8] Jagdpanzer 38 ‘Hetzer’ Osprey 2004 E New Vanguard 36


 

Kit purchased by the reviewer.

 

Vespid kits can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

Back to Vespid Kit List Back to Construction Reviews

Article Last Updated:
10 December 2023

Back to Home Page