This set is specifically designed for use with Tamiya’s excellent “Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Mittlere Produktion” kit #35285. The set consists of two larger and two smaller photoetch frets, twisted metal wire tow cable and four resin tow cable ends. The instructions are printed on a single green sheet of paper, front and back. Each PE fret has a thin clear plastic film on the front and back to protect them from snagging and bending. The big frets are taped to a sheet of black cardboard, the small frets in a zip lock pouch and the tow cable parts in another. Be careful when removing the taped frets from the cardboard so you don’t accidentally bend the thin metal. I used a thin blade slid between the tape and the cardboard to lift it away, then gently peeled the tape and protective plastic film from the PE fret.
The set is very nice and offers a lot of great detail additions and enhancements to the Tamiya Hetzer.
Included in this set are the following upgrades:
- Replacement front fenders – Includes replacement PE fenders and attachment brackets which will need to be folded to the correct shape. The underside of the fender parts are etched which you will need to press out to form the raised ribbing and bolt details on the topside of the parts. Care will be needed so you don’t accidentally damage the raised ribbing while folding and handling the fenders. These assemblies completely replace the kit plastic fenders which are molded as part of the upper superstructure shell. Care and patience will be needed to carefully remove the front fenders so you don’t damage the superstructure.
- Replacement rear fenders – Consists of seven parts for each fender will need to be folded and attached. Just like the front fenders the rear fenders are etched underside where you will need to press these areas out to from the raised ribbing and bolt detail on the upper side. These assemblies completely replace the plastic kit parts.
- Clamps and brackets – There are many various clamps and clasps for the barrel cleaner, wire cutter, the jack as well as brackets for the spare tracks, much of which will require removal of the molded on hardware detail from the kit parts. There is a replacement shovel blade and mounting brackets to replace the kit shovel head and molded on hardware details. Replacement metal bands and a butterfly nut replace the molded on plastic detail of the kit the wood jack block and a butterfly nut for the mounting bracket.
- Rear plate details and tow cable – The replacement tow cables consist of twisted metal wire with resin tow cable ends along with PE clasps for mounting them to the rear hull plate. This is a great improvement over the one piece molded kit part of the whole tow cable assembly with brackets molded to the cables. There are three clasps to attach to the shroud for the external starter, which are completely absent on the plastic kit shroud. The lower right access panel and is comprised of three parts including the diamond plate tab.
- Hatch details – There are replacement hinges for all the hatches and internal latching components for the crew hatches. The hinges have tabs which will have to be rolled to form the tubes for the hinge pins to go through. There are no hinge pins in the set so you will have to provide them yourself. The size of the pins is not specified in the instructions.
- Exhaust/muffler details – Included is a replacement engine deck shroud cover for the exhaust pipe and muffler brackets, flanges and clamps to replace and add to the exhaust assembly.
- Convoy light details – Provides the fender bracket and convoy light mount, which completely replaces the kit parts. The instructions specify that you provide the cylindrical light tube with ABS bar rod 1.3mm in diameter and 6mm long.
- Engine grill – A complete engine compartment ventilation grill with separate framing, grill screen and securing hardware. This is a huge improvement over the simplified kit detail which lacks the grill screen detail entirely. You will need to cut the kit grill from the center of the T-shaped kit part, which will create three separate panel parts which will then attach together with the PE engine grill assembly.
- Sliding armored gun sight aperture – Replaces the kit parts for both the sliding panel and the metal shroud for the gun site optics with a much better scale thickness and includes the sliding channel brackets missing from the kit part.
- Periscope shrouds – Replaces the kit shrouds and includes attachment point detail. They will need to be rolled into the proper curve, and have the mounting points folded inwards.
- External MG34 shielding – Replaces the kit parts with better scale thickness.
- Spare antenna hardware – Allows you to build your own spare antenna rods which are non-existent in the plastic kit. This looks a bit tricky as you’ll have to roll 4 very small pieces of photo etch into cylindrical tubes and provide your own antenna wire, the size of which is not specified in the instructions. According to my references the spare rods should be 2 meters in length, so about 5.7mm in length. It might be easier to substitute thin brass tubing as opposed to rolling them yourself.
- Camouflage netting clips – Numerous small PE clips which need to be folded. They are much better than the simple raised lines molded onto the plastic kit upper superstructure. The clips are very small so extreme care must be used when bending the tiny parts so they don’t snap off your tweezers never to be seen again. You will want to use magnification and fine tweezers to handle the tiny parts.
- Notek light and antenna mounts – Mounting hardware for the Notek light replaces the kit bracket. The kit antenna base will need to have the mounting block removed which will be replaced by the PE mount and protective shroud.
- Tool Box – The toolbox is formed by folding the flat PE box parts. There are tabs on the box and box lid which you have to roll to form tubes for the hinge pin. It might be easier to substitute fine brass rod for the hinges. The hinge pin for the lid is not included so you’ll have to provide that yourself. Two PE clasps attach to the front to complete the toolbox.
- Side skirts and brackets – Complete with side skirts, mounting brackets, bolt heads and washers. You will have to provide pins for the screws which get inserted through the bolt head, bracket and washer. Be sure to check your reference photos as many Hetzers had the ends of the side skirts bent in so they wouldn’t snag on trees and fall off.
As you can see there is a lot to offer here for an experienced modeler. There are many small and delicate parts which will require careful folding and handling. Some of the kit parts will need to have detail removed and sections cut out so these upgrades are not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. I highly recommend this upgrade set for those wanting to challenge themselves, with care and patience it will be worth the reward of the finished build.
This set from ET Model will be included in an upcoming Step by Step build article to be published on this site.
Review sample graciously provided by ET Model http://www.etmodeller.com
ET Model is based in Shanghai China and produces aftermarket photoetch and resin detail/upgrade sets.