The people at L.Z. Models bring us something new this month – a conversion for the Dragon or Tamiya kit of the Hetzer 38(t) tank in 1/35. This little tank was converted to a battlefield recovery vehicle and L.Z has sent us a conversion for the late model kit – let’s have a look at it...
Review - L.Z.Models 1/35 German Bergepanzer 38(t) Hetzer – Late version
Kit No: 35402
Kit type: Multimedia - 130 resin parts, 300+ PE parts + fine chain, copper rope, plastic parts, wires and balsa wood stick
Assembly instructions on CD download here: click!
Available from: L.Z. Models
The Bergepanzerwagen 38(t) / Bergepanzer 38(t) was a recovery vehicle based on Hetzer light tank, it had an open-top superstructure and only often an MG42 for offensive/protective weaponry. Made by the BMM company in Prague, the plans for this version of the Hetzer were approved in September 1944 and called for production of 170 vehicles before the end of 1944 of this number just 101 vehicles were built. To meet the production plans it was decided to convert 64 summer production´s Hetzer into armoured recovery vehicles, but it is unknown how many were actually converted. Production was much slower than expected and only 180 vehicles were produced before the end of the war. Enough of all this history though - I am living in the past!
There have been two Hetzer Bergepanzer 38 (t) kits released by L.Z.Models – the 35401: German Bergepanzer 38 (t) Hetzer – EARLY and the 35402: German Bergepanzer 38 (t) Hetzer – LATE this is the vehicle we will be looking at – the late version of the conversion.
The early version from L.Z.Models
These are meant to fit into the Tamiya or dragon kits - though they could fit onto the trumpeter, Eduard or even the cheaper Czech version of the Hetzer than can be found by a company called Bilek - this in turn being a re-boxing of the Italeri kit. Anyway it’s meant to fit any of the Hetzers in the market right now - it will make an interesting little dynamo of a repair vehicle with all of the detail included in the box – let’s have a look at the kit.
The sum of MANY parts
This Multimedia kit features 130 resin parts, 300+ PE parts + some fine chain, plus copper rope, plastic parts, wires and balsa wood stick and comes in a small white sturdy box – mine arrived pretty quickly from L.Z. and there was a bunch of bubble wrap to keep it all safe inside – I decided the best way for you to get to know what’s in the box is a picture gallery and a bunch of comments to match it – I shall be attempting to do a build of this in the new year so stay tuned to see how it all fits together – I have however done a preliminary fit of some of the larger equipment from this kit and the larger parts of the hull to give you an idea of the kit.
On opening up the box it’s really a large task as there are so many parts! Different materials and a high skill set require a serious modeller – but one who is not averse to having a wonderful kit at the end of it all. The workspaces provided by an open hull on this vehicle combined with all of the equipment on the vehicle are a weathering lover’s dream!
The good thing is that instead of paper instructions you get a lovely little CD rom inside the box which is just a wealth of information – the PDF is available here from the LZ site - so you can have a look for yourself before you purchase if you like! LZ Models also show you a link to a built example on the Military modelling site as well.
The cream resin on these parts is cast with just a little clean up needed and no bubbles in the resin. The parts are there to be kit bashed with a Tamiya kit preferably and as a second choice the Dragon kit. Libor takes you step by step in the processes in these instructions from the hull to the tools for repair, always pointing out helpful ideas and tricks he uses – it is appreciated to have some help with this kit I can tell you – and a nice personal touch to the kit making process.
the overhead crane is super detailed and works just fine
This i hope shows you the fine detail LZ achieved with this kit
Parts like the drive shaft which is exposed inside the hull are quite accurate in shape as to the pictures I have found of the insides of a Hetzer - and the from Photo etch beautifully compliment the resin inside. You have to have some skill soldering but not as an expert. The whole drive shaft fits neatly into the front of the hull here and has many P/E details around and as part of it.
The pedals and steering mechanism re all photo etch and look amazing even unpainted and weathered (you see people often covering up detail with depth and mud) while the ample wire supplied fills out the detail of the electric cables inside the vehicle, while making the interior look suitably busy ( and also they are accurate if you follow the instructions)
Again showing the kit primed in the instructions
The other crew controls and seats are moulded in cream resin and use some metal wire to support them, as does the internal winch which is a “cinch” to put together, and looks impressive with the cable running through it.
Instead of just looking at them I put the hull walls together to show you how they fit and experience for myself the way they all merge – the instructions helped me out a lot here are well and with some superglue and accelerant they came together nicely. There is a school of thought to put the sloped and angled parts together one by one piece by piece – and I think that I would do that next time to ensure the best of fits to the bottom donor hull. Apparently the Tamiya kit fits slightly better so that is why earlier I mentioned the Tamiya kit first – it’s probably cheaper as well!
A simple drive shaft supplied connects the Cable winch to the front axles and gear box assembly which is partly hidden by the upper hull it is at such a steep angle even though closed. On the rear of the deck of the Hetzer there is a roller and P/E guide that this goes through when coming out of the rear winch hole. LZ supply some very nice P/E mesh exhaust covers which will look amazing weathered up (and most probably rusted up if I know you guys out there) this along with the twisted wire cable with resin cable terminations and the P/E brackets for these to go on makes the rear of the vehicle look very busy and indeed like a working recovery tank.
Resin additions are included for the brackets for the external crane which can be constructed or left in storage mode on the sides of the vehicle. LZ also supply a nicely “wooden” resin platform for the crane operator to stand on and to house the pulley for the crane - this, as well as some super thin P/E jack attachments and the scale thick mudguards of which you have to do some shaping of to get right. Again here Libor takes you through the way to get them looking like the ones he has made in the instructions.
This the later kit gives you an excellent ‘dozer and earthmover attachment for the front of your Hetzer – it is a simple installation as you can see in the pictures and I was pleasantly surprised at the look of it – for this I like this better than the earlier version also on sale – but different strokes for different folks I say – I am sure the crane would look just as well – I would by some extra chain for it to reach a faraway object though as I have 22cms of it and more is always better! The good thing is LZ give you instructions for both for you to work out which suits you better.
Colours mentioned are quoted from Osprey´s New Vanguard 36 -
“the early Bergepanzer was painted with thin coat of Rot - RAL 8012 (red primer) with stripes and patches of well thinned Dunkelgelb - RAL 7820 (dark yellow) and Olivgrün - RAL 6003 (dark olive green) applied over at least half of the primer base. The interior was painted in Elfenbein - RAL101 (ivory) on the walls, and the floor and part of the lower sides were painted in Rot - RAL 8012 (red primer)”
-So from this I would say you have the lee-way to paint whatever you want under these colours – an ambush scheme or a heavily oxidised red primer Hetzer would be my choice – I think this vehicle would look best beaten up!
The hull secured together - this needs to be applied to a donor kit very soon
This kit is truly an amazing piece of work – I am usually a fan of LZ’s work but this one is just great from start to finish – you have to bring your skills with you though but if you are up for a challenge then this is a really potentially rewarding kit you could learn a lot from if you made it!
– below are some pictures of the completed kit from LZ’s site which show you how very good this kit could look if you applied yourself – I for one am up to the challenge!
Thanks To LZ models for letting me review this kit