15cms.IG33/2(Sf) auf Jadgpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
15cms.IG33/2(Sf) auf Jadgpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
The Hetzer was the last purpose built vehicle to make use of the Czech 38t Chassis. Due to delays in manufacture there were Hetzer chassis waiting for the 75mm main gun. Since there was also a demand for the s.IG 33 infantry support guns a number were mounted on the Hetzer chassis to create the 15cms.IG33/2(Sf) auf Jadgpanzer 38(t) Hetzer. The only photos of this vehicle are of prototypes. At present it cannot be confirmed that thirty 15 cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer were built even though an official order was issued authorizing their manufacture. It can only be confirmed that a prototype was constructed.
Dragon has released the 15cms.IG33/2(Sf) auf Jadgpanzer 38(t) Hetzer late last year. The kit traces is roots back to 1994 and you can see that dragon has used a wide range of sprues from various kits to produce this model. While I found some of the older sprues lacked the detail we are accustomed to today the spures over all are very clean and any details that want/need upgrading are easily corrected. I will point out the few items I replaced/corrected as I move through the build. The fit is excellent and the open top leaves a great deal of room to add extra detail throughout the fighting compartment.
Upon opening the box you are presented with10 sprues in light grey plastic, packaged in separate bags,
2 sprues of 'link & length' track in light grey plastic,
1 sprue of clear parts1 small photo-etch sheet including mesh for the rear muffler, A sheet of three Balkenkreuz decals from Cartograf and 1 aluminum s.IG 33 barrel.
The sprues are sourced from five different Dragon kits and you will have plenty of left overs for the spares bin. The 8-page blue and white instruction sheet contains 19 steps and provides three finishing schemes.
Before starting I reviewed the instructions and made notes where needed. As with any open-top AFV a bit of planning needs to go into the process before you begin. With that done I moved to the build.
The first 4 steps deal with the lower hull/suspension and running gear. The suspension would be difficult to get level if you follow the instructions so I assembled what I could and then began to test fit the parts. I ended up attaching the rocker arms (K4 & K5 x4 ea.) to the road wheel housings (K16 x4) without using adhesive. I then attached the round cover plates (K3 x8) to K16 using a very small amount of CA.
This allows the rocker arms to move, facilitating an even and level setup for the road wheels once they were attached. Another fiddly issue with the suspension deals with the leaf springs. K11 and K22 make up the assembly but there is no mounting point for the leaf springs, just holes through the road wheel housings. I decided to add a small piece of rod styrene to facilitate a more secure attachment of the leaf springs. It worked just fine.
From there I built the idlers and drives sprockets,
Drive sprocket and idler housings were attached to the hull and the rear hull plate was built up to finish the 1st 4 steps.
The final touch was to add the return rollers and road wheels to the hull.
I first added the rear plate to the hull to begin step 5. I then added tools to the fenders.
Here you will see the first glimpse of the old molds that re used in this kit. First there are numerous ejector marks on the fenders. These need to be filled and sanded. Also the tools are not up to speed. I used items from my spares bin to replace the wire cutters and jack. I suggest you hold off attaching the jack to the fender until the end to insure it does not interfere with the fit of upper and lower hull.
The driver's area is built up in these steps. The transmission and drivers controls are assembled. Some sanding of seams will be needed. You will be able to see much of this detail even with the upper hull and main gun in place. The driver seat is assembled and then these two SA’s are added to the hull. Take some time test fitting the transmission. Parts K10 are not supposed to be glued to the transmission and should help facilitate a smooth fit but this is not as easy as it should be so care is warranted.
The last thing I did before moving on was add some non-skid flooring to the bottom of the fighting compartment. I had some PE flooring from a previous project so I cut to fit.
Surgery is the first order of business here. The opening for the 15cm gun must be created by cutting away part of the upper hull. There are demarcation lines so with a bit of patience this is easily done. The firewall is then attached to the upper hull. The mounting points are solid and the fire wall fit is excellent. The only issue is the drive shaft. If the transmission is too far forward or too far back the drive shaft will not fit. I ended up using some rod styrene cut to fit but left it off until the end. Detail was then added to the upper hull. This consisted of ammo racks (2 options available) NOTEK light, engine deck and containers for the powder charges used in conjunction with the shells.
There are no mounting points for the shell racks so make sure to test fit to avoid complications when attaching the upper and lower hull. The instructions tell you to attach the upper and lower hull sections at this point but as with most open-top AFV models I chose to leave this until after painting.
The s.IG 33 150cm gun is built up in the next 5 steps. Fit and detail are superb. Just a bit of filling and sanding to remove seam lines on the breech block and recoil slide. Also look out for very subtle seams on the one piece parts. They are not easily visible but will show up when paint is applied.
This step consists of attaching the main gun to the lower hull. I bypassed this step until the end for obvious reasons.
Additional protective armor plate was added to this vehicles upper hull to help protect the crew. I added the item along with the muffle/exhaust and some other rear deck detail.
You are given an option in step 17regarding some additional armor plate and powder charge boxes. I added the boxes.
Step 18 involves adding the tracks, idlers and drive sprockets. The link & length track offered in the kit is of poor quality so I replaced them with a set of Fruil track. This added a bit of time to the project but was worth the effort.
The final step is to add the mud guards to the hull sides. I left them off due to poor fit. If you choose to do this, remember to fill and sand the mounting points.
In the end I had 3 subassemblies to paint, upper and lower hull sections and the gun.
After a wash with soap and water I began the painting and weathering.
Painting & Weathering
The instructions provide 3 painting options but since there are no period photos of this vehicle in the field anything can go. I chose to do a standard soft 3 tone cammo. I used Vallejo acrylics for all of the priming and base coating. After a primer of black and base coat of German yellow, I base coated all of the details such as tools, tracks, tires and interior items. I then applied green and red cammo with my airbrush and let it dry. A coat of satin varnish was followed by a Mig 3 tone cammo filter and a dark pin wash of Mig product as well. I dry brushed the vehicle with enamel German yellow from Testors. This gives a nice soft look to the red and green and blends the cammo in a very appealing way. After detailing tools and other items I applied Dulcoat clear flat lacquer. Some light weathering with pigments and MIG weathering products finished everything off.
Dragons Hetzer mitt s.IG33 15cm howitzer is a bit of a mixed bag. Overall the fit and detail are very good. The only gripe for me is that some of the parts are over 20 years old and show it. The fenders, tools and tracks in particular show their age. These issues are easily corrected with PE and aftermarket items and should not dissuade anyone from picking up this kit. It is a great starting point for a super detailing project with the open top and basic interior detail and it would also be a great beginner’s project for those just getting into or back into scale modeling. Any way you look at it this one is a winner.
Pros: Excellent fit
Over all great detail on parts
Main Gun is a thing of beauty
Cons: Lacks significant interior detail
Fender/tool/track parts show their age
Highly Recommended for German armor fans and those that like obscure or rare subject matter.
Thanks goes out to DRAGON USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Henry Milton
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