Sunday, May 6

1/35 Hetzer masks in two schemes from J's Work reviewed

J's work   have already come out with some great masking solutions with their masking set for the F-16 in Israeli service which we reviewed last week – now comes the time to have a look at the masks for the complicated camo for the Hetzer 38T tank which until recently has been a modeller’s nightmare to paint – let’s have a look to see if these ease the pain for us..

The Hetzer 38T tank destroyer employed by the Germans during late World War II has been a popular subject for modellers because of its futuristic look and small size. The painting of the tank however leaves many perplexed – the three tone camo is very hard edged and often after that speckled with funny shaped dots which look all too much like “a guy using a paintbrush” at the end of the process.

Normally labelled under "Hard Work"  this can be a tricky scheme to replicate

J’s work – under their banner of “Modelling Solution” have come up with some neat little things to make your modelling life easier – first the F-16 masking solution, and now this – in a very similar format for this tiny tank. The armour guys have had this for a while now – and I painted a Hetzer with Vinyl masks just last month in fact – but this kit seems to have a few extra bits added -  so we will look more at the contents.

Both masks here are similar in packaging - the 5001 mask has less rounded edged camo + splinter blotch masks while the 5002 package has more rounded edges 
The masking kit comes safely in a plastic re-sealable A4 bag that houses a full sheet of instructions and the laser cut Kabuki masks which we are pretty accustomed to in the industry. These are pretty much the same as Tamiya tape which most modellers will be familiar with. Unlike Vinyl, this stuff should adhere to the model a bit tighter. The Hetzer has many little lumps and bumps and equipment stowed outside the vehicle. You will have to paint these separately, both of these sets contain the side “Schurtzen” and wheel masks so you can paint your wheels with no overspray. Later on we will discuss the method but we will look at the contents first.

There are two different schemes represented here – ill take you through them individually.

This set is fairly similar to the second in colours but the pattern is a different marking style – much more of a "splinter"  or straighter style camouflage here is offset by the “ambush” dotted shapes with the mask included in laser cut hard card.
Some well known images here of just this scheme
This “ambush” dotted scheme was used to simulate light from leaves spotting down between trees. Especially from above where the allied dominated the skies and adding to the fact that the German tank destroyers were set up in a camouflaged static position made this camo pretty effective in its purpose.
Like the first scheme you have the masks of the whole vehicle including schurtzen and the MG mounts and appendages of the vehicle, and excellent instruction set in full colour and the inclusion of the mask for the dotted spots is an addition that you would otherwise pay a lot more for with a photo-etched mask. These masks are the total package really – all you need is paint.

This mask looks to be re-usable if treated right - it may save you money on buying a P/E mask in the future if you look after it

This is the more-straight forward of the two mask sets in that you do not have to paint the little dots all over the kit for the “ambush” effect. The three tone camo of Red brown/ Dark Yellow/ Dark Green are all represented here on the full colour instructions.

The instructions are pretty clear and take you through step-by-step with coloured pictures to show you exactly what to do and when to do it -  they are a little on the confusing side if you haven’t done this before so as well as the instructions I have gone through it at the end of this review.

The well appreciated inclusion of the masks for the wheels and the clearly marked options of which colour to apply first and where to put it are a great bonus to this set. You may need to include liquid masking and some more kabuki tape from your stash but I don’t think you will need them with this mask set.


The only thing I think is actually not as it should be on this kit is the Wheel masks are maybe one or two Millimetres too wide in circumference - I applied them to my Hetzer wheel and found to rectify this I simply folded them over where the gap was - a quick fix that shouldn't be a bother. I tested this to see if i had somehow stretched the mask in application by re-applying it to the kabuki sheet and it fit perfectly - so I guess for my 1/35th scale Hetzer this wheel mask is just a little large - but like I said an easy fix.

Steps to applying the Hetzer camo masks...
1. J's Work have made it simple to apply these masks by putting “B” “S” and “G” for the brown, sand and green colours so you don’t get them mixed up (I wrote these on a mask set I used recently actually for just the same reason!) This usually starts with a lighter shade as your base colour, in this case the lighter sand colour first - spray this all over the model. It is easier to apply darker colours over light colours and not the reverse.
2. The first mask application - in the instructions it is clear you are advised that you apply the masking with the colour marked with a star emblem first. This is the mask that applies over the sand colour to hide it from the next colour laid down - the brown colour
3. Apply the second mask the "G" mask on to that only the areas exposed are to be painted green. -  then spray the green on the model
Extra tips - To make sure you don't have any overspray apply some liquid masking if there are gaps between the camo layers.
4. Simply gently peel off the masks and there you have a perfectly demarcated camouflage Hetzer tank destroyer
The fact that these are marked with which mask should go down first is good, although the improvement I would make to this masking set/s is to just write a 1 – 2 and 3 on each of the colours – it will make things simpler and everyone understands numbers!!

As with the F-16 masks these are a great job and I look forward to seeing the Kingtiger masks which are coming up - We can’t wait to see the next set of "Modelling Solutions"  from J's Work – keep it up!!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to J’s Work for these masks