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1Jul/180

Rubicon Models Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

You can't talk about the 38(t) series without mentioning the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, and that is why today I cover the kit by Rubicon Models in this review.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

As the tank destroyers Marder based upon the Panzer 38(t) were more of an industrialized "field conversion" using captured anti-tank guns and later regular PaKs, a properly designed light tank destroyer was needed. Introduced as the Sd.Kfz. 138/2 Jagdpanzer 38(t), this tank was produced from April 1944 until the end of the war, along the heavier Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger variants. The name "Hetzer" is undocumented and it is unclear, were it actually came from and it is highly discussed if the tank even was called that during the war. Hetzer comes from the German verb "hetzen", meaning hounding or rushing somebody or something.

The total number of Hetzers build during the war was slightly more than 2,500 units. During the production several alteration and modification were made, and a lot of variants and prototypes were introduced, based on the widened 38(t) chassis. After the war Czechoslovakia continued to build the tank and exported nearly 160 vehicles to Switzerland, as version G-13. There are quite a lot of Hetzers to be seen in tank museums around the world, and even some in private collections. One of the most famous owners of a Hetzer was Motörheads Lemmy Kilmister.

There were several variants build of the Jagdpanzer 38(t), like reconnaissance and recovery variants, and some weapon conversions like the Flammpanzer 38(t), fielding a Koebe flamethrower in place of the main gun. Depending on the source between 10 to 20 of the Flammpanzer were built. Beside in German service, the Hetzer was used by the Czechoslovakian army, Hungarians, Bulgarians, and even some captured vehicles by the Red Army and the most well-known “Chwat” (Daredevil), captured by Polish insurgents.

This kit by Rubicon Models covers the regular Jagdpanzer and Flammpanzer 38(t) variant, along with early, mid and late production variants. It is an ABS plastic kit in the 28mm / 1:56 scale and comes with a price tag of around 25 EUR. The decals in the kit give you the opportunity to build the captured variants of the Russian Liberation Army, Czech or Polish insurgents.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

As this kit was part of the 2016 releases, it "still" uses the darker grey ABS plastic, compared to the new lighter grey of more recent releases, like the 15cwt Truck. The cast is properly done, little flash and crisp details. The space within the sprues was cleverly used. As the sprues may still have some release agent on them, I suggest giving them a brief brush with luke warm soap water.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

Rubicon Models uses ABS plastic for their kits. Therefore you should use the appropriate glue to handle the material, I use Tamiya Cement ABS. Uhu Plast Special would be an alternative, depending what you can buy in your area.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

As so often, building starts with the track section. This kit covers two different types of road tracks, along with 4 different types of rear idler wheels, for early (12), mid (8) and late war (4), with the number of holes decreasing over the length of the war. There are some kits I've seen having 6 hole idler wheels, but I haven't found an actual photograph to support that design, only blue prints. The 8 hole idler wheel with spokes is for the Flammpanzer. Oddly enough the box art shows a 6 hole idler wheel that isn't even included as an option.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

Next up the hull, the side walls of the hull and track suspension are added. These are angled, but the bonding surface works properly.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

The next step is something that you could move back towards the end or just stick on the tracks, as it might be tricky to paint behind the wheels later on if you already glue them on. As you can see, I went with the late production chassis, as that would give me the option to switch between Flammpanzer and regular Hetzer.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

There is one upper hull to this kit, as the different parts are constructed as later added segments. I added lead as usual to the hull to increase the weight of the kit. Make sure not to skip part B38, otherwise you will not be able to add it from the inside to the roof of the tank.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

As you can see, you have different back and rear plates for the early and mid/late production years. Depending on what build you want to achieve, you need to cut in a little gap for the exhaust in the late production and Flammpanzer plates.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

The hatches, hooks and some of the tools along with the MG are added to the hull. You could build the hatches open, to add a (not included) commander. There are different styles of towing brackets and hatches for the different production years.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

Next up the (optional) spare tracks, and the choice between the two different exhausts.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

The front towing brackets and track guards are available in different production runs as well, here's the late war model continued. You could still mix some of the parts, to show replaced parts on repaired earlier vehicles.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

There are three different mantlets with this Hetzer, two different production types for the regular gun and one mantlet for the Koebe Flammenprojektor (14 mm Flammenwerfer).

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

You could magnetize the two mantles and switch between a regular late war Hetzer and the Flammpanzer 38(t). The only incontinuity would be the cover of the rear tool box, but I assume you can live with that.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

A comparison with the older resin kit by Warlord Games, the plastic kit by Italeri/Warlord Games and the Rubicon kit.

Bolt Action - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Bolt Action - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Bolt Action - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

And in comparison with other tank destroyers, like the Marder III, the StuG and an Achilles / M10 tank destroyer.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

And the series of shots of both builds, first the late production Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer.

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

As well as the Flammpanzer 38(t).

Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Rubicon Models - Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

But this is not the end of the story, Rubicon is already planning on an expansion set for this kit, a replacement for the upper hull to convert it into the Aufklärungspanzer 38(t) (reconnaissance tank) based upon the Bergepanzer 38(t) chassis, with the turret from the Sd.Kfz. 222.

Rubicon Models - Aufklärungspanzer 38(t) Rubicon Models - Aufklärungspanzer 38(t) Rubicon Models - Aufklärungspanzer 38(t)

Conclusion
The Hetzer is a really good kit, with the different options for the production years and the Flammpanzer variant included, it is all what you would expect from a Rubicon Kit - a proper plastic kit with a good amount of options. I like the fact, that they pay attention to detail, but in a wargamer friendly way. You have a couple of bits that make the different production years, but they are not too small or petite to annoy you. And with the expansions planned, you can get quite a lot out of this kit.

In direct comparison to the Warlord / Italeri kit, this one is missing the Bergepanzer and Flak, which is definitely a benefit of the Italeri kit. Especially if you want to further convert it, already having the Bergepanzer hull, is lot less work (for example if you want to build it with the 75 mm L/24 low velocity gun from the early StuGs, called the Stummel or one of the very late war prototypes). But the Rubicon kit was much more pleasant to build. So if you're not going for one of the variants based upon the open top, definitely go for the Rubicon Models kit. One of the what-if variants that would be interesting is the 10,5 cm Stu.H. 42 L/28 derp gun. You could get that bit from the Rubicon StuG.

Beside that this kit could be converted into the G13 Jagdpanzer of the Czechoslovakian or Swiss army that would still be in service until the 1970s. So as an option for Team Yankee / Cold War Gone Hot in 28mm. But there is still a lot of potential for World War 2 conversions. There were a couple of prototypes, for example as a Waffenträger with 8,8 PaK, a 15cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t), Bergepanzer with a dozer blade or several paper tanks with rockets or rocket launchers.

Link: Rubicon Models

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

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