Friday, July 28

In-Boxed: 35th scale Jagdpanzer 38(t) Early Production w/Interior from Takom

Today Clayton examines Takom's "Early" Jagdpanzer 38(t) in 1/35th scale. We have not only photos but his video review of the kit before he starts the build . See the full interior kit inside out in his review...

In-Boxed: Jagdpanzer 38(t) Early Production Full Interior
From Takom
Kit No's 2170
1/35th scale
Photo etch included
Full Interior included
Metal Barrel is included
Clear top included
Link and length track included
Four marking choices included
Price: $48.97 USD from Hobbylink Japan 
Takom Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer – Early Production with Full Interior – Kit 2023/2170
It was probably Takoms’ worst attempt ever at trying to tease an upcoming release when they first posted the silhouettes of the upcoming release. The low angled profile is instantly recognisable, even to the newest of armour enthusiasts. In saying that I guess realistically those guessing games don’t last too long anyway with the depth of knowledge in the Facebook universe so vast, it’s only a matter of a comment or two and the game is over.
Like a lot of us, I’ve always had a soft spot of the Hetzer (although the name is often debated), but I’ve never actually built one in my preferred scale of 1/35. I’ve built the Tamiya 48th scale kit, and loved every minute of it. Reproducing that Ambush scheme was something I’d been wanting to do in the larger scale was something I’d been looking for an excuse to do, and the announcement of the new Takom range of Hetzers seemed to be the excuse I was looking for.
Takom has spoilt us and announced the release of three versions of the Hetzer. The Early, the Mid and the Late versions. From my understanding of the vehicle the changes to the versions can be seen in the differing exhausts, variation in the idler, changes in the toolbox and drivers vision port and finally the upgrades to the gun mantlet and shroud.
Not only have we been spoilt with the three versions, but we also have the option to build the model with a full interior. I know the thought of building a full interior can be a little intimidating for some, but fact of the matter is, if you don’t want to build it you don’t have to. It’s just nice to have the choice.

CADs showing the full interior of the kit
So, whilst my plan was to build a Hetzer and paint it in the ambush scheme, the modelling gods had other plans and I have found myself with the “Early” version in my lap and the opportunity to review the kit for the Modelling News.
Rather than a slideshow of full sprue shots, I thought I’d focus in on some of the finer details in the kit to give you a better understanding of what’s in the box. So, without further delay I cracked the box and took a look at some of the parts.

Immediately it’s obvious that the quality of the moulding is stunning and looks to be a step up from a lot of the other manufactures. There isn’t a part that highlights the depth and detail in the moulding more than the transmission.
 These parts are quite small, and the finish is quite stunning.
The inside face of the frontal armour has nice detail around the vision port as well as wiring for the driver’s controls.
The skirt armour is supplied in a single moulded section per side. In reality, this armour was only 5mm thick, so it probably would have been better to get this part as stainless etch. They have done this in previous kits, so I am a little surprised they didn’t include it here.
 In a way to create the illusion however, Takom have angled the thickness of the part, so it thins out toward the edges, looking a lot thinner than it actually is.
THE side, horizontal infill rails have what should be mesh screens represented as a moulded part. From my understanding the mesh would have allowed airflow around the engine bay. It will be difficult to see on the finished model however I felt it was worth noting.
 Obviously if you felt strongly about it there is the Eduard etch option available to explore.
One of the unique pieces of this “Early” version of the Hetzer is the gun mantlet and shroud. In an attempt to reduce the uneven load on the right-hand side of the vehicle changes were made to these sections in later versions. The cast texture in these moulded parts is gorgeous and can truly be appreciates through the macro lens. However after looking at reference images, I’m wondering if the texture is a little underdone?
Moving to the driver’s controls and the radio units and again, the detail in the moulding is stunning and something special. This is the type of detail once reserved for aftermarket parts, but now we get this level of detail straight out of the box. These are tiny parts under significant magnification. Quite incredible
Being a late war vehicle, the StG44 would have been an appropriate weapon to be stored in the vehicle. The piece looks to be rendered very well, even down to the clip on the storage clamp.
A little room for improvement in the springs on the driver’s seat, but this will be extremely difficult to see once the model is complete. Still a nice looking part.
Now I move to the bulk of the model and that iconic angled shape of the Hetzer. I noticed the small tiedowns are moulded into the surface of the armour walls. This is something I may address once I begin the build.
Everyone seems to be obsessed with weld beads of late, but on closer inspection it seems to me that Takom has got that element covered with some lovely, random shapes and textures through the weld beads through the corner seams, although possibly a little too perfect?
The welds through the interlocking frontal armour however look to be overly simplified when comparing it against reference pictures. The welds were done in a distinctive horizontal pattern. For most this won’t be a problem, but there is definitely an opportunity to improve this detail through this section on your own model.
The rear wall of the fighting compartment comes in a single piece and has the recesses for the radio units.
The kit comes with 2 sprues for the link and length tracks. The last few new release Takom kits I have built have come with link and length tracks and have been just about a perfect fit, so I would hope these would be the same.
Detail and depth in the parts is again very good. The only downside I can see is the connection points from the sprues to the outer parts of the tracks. Granted they had to put them somewhere…so care will need to be exercised not to damage the part when removing it from the sprue.
The undersides of the tracks have some significant ejector pin marks on every second link. I’m hoping that given the large road wheels and the skirt armour on this vehicle that most of these will be well hidden.
The shells come in two different styles – the set that are stored on the side walls have the clip moulded into them and the others that sit in the rack on the floor do not. The Hetzer had capacity to carry 41 rounds although you only get 32 in the kit.
The roof mounted MG34 is nothing short of stunning with the only addition I could see having to make would be drilling out the end of the barrel.
The options for the toolboxes again display refinement in the moulding. Just look at the way the handle lip around the square edge of the box.
Being a full interior kit - which means it also includes the engine assemblies. The Hetzer was powered by the 7.8 litre Praga 6-cylinder petrol engine producing 123 horsepower. It had a maximum speed of 42 km/h on road and 15 km/h off road with an operation range of up to 250 km.
Moving to the running gear and as a starting point the drive sockets are put under the lens. As is most cases, this assembly is supplied in 2 parts.
The undeniably recognisable road wheels look to be as they should. Interesting to note however, whilst they look like the wheels of the Panzer 38(t) they are actually much larger than the wheels on the tank were.
The Idler however is unique to this version of the model. Note the detail with the screw heads all being in different positions. This detail will more than likely be missed once the model is complete, but it is this attention to detail that is really exciting me with this model.
Presenting a full interior model is always a challenge. An optional clear roof section is provided to give the modeller the option.
An optional metal barrel is always a welcomed addition to any kit.
A small etch fret houses the screen for the exhaust and the grill for the engine hatch. A small piece of copper wire is supplied for the tow cable.
The decal sheet is small but will give you all the markings you need. Registration looks at be slightly out under magnification but hard to detect without magnification.
The instruction booklet is the small style Takom have been producing. A booklet stabled through the middle.
The line drawings all appear to be clear and logical, however the true test will come once the build commences.
One of the criticisms Takom have been getting around the Apache kits they released was a lack of colour call outs for the interiors. Whilst there are no colour call outs as such with this model, you do get coloured renders to use as some type of visual reference. On refection, it’s a little disappointing they haven’t actually referenced paint numbers or names.
And finally Colour suggestions for the engine and the gun breech. I would however recommend you sort your own reference for some of these colours, just for your own peace of mind as the blue on those filters looks odd to me after looking through references. More investigation required.
It was here I came to the realisation, that again there are no colours referenced for the colour schemes, and whilst most of us will be familiar with the late war German colours, for the modeller new to the genre this may present some challenges. Takom used to regularly reference Ammo by MIG colours in their instruction booklets, so I am wondering if that arrangement has been reviewed.

The first two schemes have an interesting spotted pattern from East Prussia seen during August of 1944.
The other options are an all over Dunkelgelb and finally a 3-tone version with the predominate Olive Green with Dark Yellow and Red Brown. Both from Germany in 1944. Another detail missing from these schemes is a lack of a top view. It’s a little disappointing and will require some guesswork when painting the model.
OK, so I don’t get to build my Hetzer in the ambush scheme...or at least I’m too lazy to research and find an example of an early version Hetzer wearing it. Besides, I really like the look of the Green / 3 tone example from the booklet and the box art for the matter. I’ve never painted a scheme like that, so that seems like an interesting challenge I was happy to accept. Although I’m now questioning if the scheme should be hard or soft edge as I have found differing references!
In terms of the kit, the parts and the moulding look to be on par with some of the highest quality I’ve ever seen. Often these full interior kits can be unnecessarily overly complicated however, from what I can tell this looks to be just the right mix of detail and buildability. My last two experiences with new release Takom kits, the Panzer 1’s and the Stuh42 were some of my favourite builds of all time, and so if the engineering from those kits has found its way to this kit, then we are on a real winner here.

Here is my video review of the same kit...
As always, it all comes down to the build… Let’s say Takom are off to an amazing start, but now is where the fun begins – let’s see how this thing fits together!

More to come in part II of this review at this link...
Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to Clayton to build and review
See more of Clayton's amazing works on his YouTube Channel, his modelling portal "Workbench Hobbies" or his FB page