Friday, September 22

Construction video guide Pt.IV: Takom's 1/35th scale Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer – Early Production w/Full Interior

If you have been following Clayton's build of Takom's "Early" Jagdpanzer 38(t) in 1/35th scale, you may know that this article covers the last steps in the build - painting & weathering the exterior. See how he finishes it off today in his photo & video guide...

Build Guide Pt. IV: Jagdpanzer 38(t) Early Production Full Interior
From Takom
Kit No# 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: $45 USD from Hobbylink Japan

Takom Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer – Early Production with Full Interior – Kit 2023/2170
Part I : Review
Part II: Interior build & paint
Part III: Exterior details & "making a window on a tank"

Today: Part IV: "My Spotted Hetzer" - Finishing the build...
When we left off last time, I had wrecked a perfectly good model by cutting the side out of it, and it was primed black and ready for paint.

I’ve been overwhelmed at the interest in this build and am grateful for the support I have been getting over at the You Tube channel, so firstly thank you to each and every one of you for your encouragement.

When I initially reviewed the kit, I had my heart set on a predominately green disruptive camouflage however during my research; I began to question the validity of that scheme. Again, I’ll never deal in absolutes, but fact of the matter is the majority of these early Hetzers had a spotted camouflage or at least a derivative of the spots. Some more obvious than other but spots none the less. So given this new information I had a change of heart about the scheme and chose to recreate the spotted scheme supplied in the kit with the "213" number.

I’d removed the tie downs in an earlier stage, so it was time to address those parts. Lead wire was used to recreate the elements and was attached using superglue. They are probably a little overscale however by doing this I will be able to actually use them and functional tiedowns.
The scheme required a base layer of Dunkelgelb. A mix of Dark Yellow 2 and semi-gloss clear was thinned to about a 50:50 mix with retarder thinner and applied over the model. The idea of applying this layer over the black base is to create a mottled, imperfect finish in the paint. At the risk of repeating myself, I don’t want to completely cover the model in the yellow but use the darker tones to create depth in this layer. The varnish in the mix helps produce more of an eggshell finish to the paint which will help with decals and washes.
Using the airbrush gives me a great deal of joy, and creating shades and highlights is just part of my painting process because I love doing it. The Dark Yellow in the cup now has a few drops of white added to the mix, and the paint is applied around the horizontal surfaces and natural highlight areas.
Most of these subtle tones will be lost under layers of weathering but like I said, I enjoy the process and it only takes a few minutes, so why not?
You can also notice the skirt armour has been glued in place at this stage.
Applying a camouflage pattern freehand can be a little intimidating for some, but further from the highlighting step, its where I get a great deal of joy from the process. These spotted patterns had a mid-tone green spot and were outlined in a red brown. For the interpretations I’d seen the I knew I’d have to come up with a custom mix for the colour (or at least given the paints I had on hand). I found by mixing AK Green and Protective 4BO I was able to get the colour I was after. I don’t have the formula, but from memory it was about 2:1 (4BO being the dominant colour). It was all done by eye…which is a bit of a worry considering I am colour blind…

The paint mix is heavily thinned using Tamiya retarder thinner and the scheme begins...
I started applying the scheme to the wheels. I did this because if the colour didn’t look right on the model or the thinning rations or air pressure wasn’t right it would be easy to cover up the wheels. Once I knew the mix was flowing well, I moved on to the side skirts.

I mapped out the pattern as best I could trying to match the positions and shapes that come on the instruction sheet. The shapes were first outlined and then I went back and filled the colour in. It’s important lay the paint in an imperfect way again. It makes for a far more realistic looking model rather than having big blocks of colour – at least in my opinion. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not supposed to be.

By keeping the paint well thinned and the air pressure around 15psi I am able to create fine lines with minimal overspray. And for the people that are asking me through the channel, the airbrush is the Air Cobra from AMMO – a 0.3 nozzle.
With the green spots all mapped out the scheme was taking shape. The spots on these Hetzers had a distinctive Red Brown outline to them, creating an interesting and unique look to the paintwork. All of the hard work had been done with the green, so it was now a matter of just outlining the shapes with the red brown.

Again, I can’t overstate how important a heavily thinned paint is to achieve tight lines and a controlled outcome. The mix was around 80% retarder thinner or 20% Red Brown. If the paint is too thick it can tend to lead to overspray, if it’s too light it will get spiderwebs and look runny. There is a great deal of practise with the technique, so it’s not just about the paint…it’s just the paint has a huge bearing on how successful the result will be.
The model then received a layer of Semi-gloss clear varnish and once dry the decals were applied. If there was one part of the modelling process, I liked the least it would be applying decals, and for some reason these didn’t disappoint. I tried to settle them as best I could with the decal softener, but I find that product can cause issues of its own with damaging the paint. It was a case of get this to a point where I can paint my way out of it.
I also felt the white outline around the red lettering was too fine for what it should be, but it would have to do.

Once the decals had dried off the model received another layer of the varnish.
The details around the model are now painted using a mix of acrylic paints. Things like the exhaust, the spare tracks and the tools are all treated to a couple of coats of the appropriate colours.
An interesting feature of the Hetzer is the two tubes on the left hand side that were used to store the aerials.
The kit comes with these parts as two lumps of moulded plastic to represent them however I felt I could upgrade that section. But first I needed an aerial. A small length of sprue was heated over a flame and stretched to make a long, thin tapered length of styrene.
I managed to source some fine aluminium tubing and set about replacing the moulded pieces on the model. With the tubes glued in place using superglue I was now able to thread the aerial through the bracket and into one of the tubes. An interesting detail that was quite easy to make.
A small length of copper wire comes in the kit and is used for the tow cables. The copper wire was first dipped in a blackening agent and the shackles were attached using super glue. The way these cables should be wound and attached is a little confusing after looking at the instructions, so I wound them how I felt was logical.
A great technique to unify a camouflage scheme like this is the oil dot technique. Small dots of oil paints are applied over the surface of the model and are then blended across the surface in an up and down motion. Lighter colour at the top and darker colours toward the bottom tend to work better. By blending the dots together, the contrast in the paintwork tends to soften. It also creates interesting subtle streaking and rain marks.
I was trying really had to skip this step because sometimes the post shading stage can overcook these three tone schemes. I’d been caught out before but couldn’t help myself because I love the depth and visual weight the technique adds to the model.
A heavily thinned mix of Red Brown and black is used to reinforce the lower edges and shapes in the model.

The gloss finish can make everything look overly dark at this point, so I held my nerve knowing the matte would bring everything back to an acceptable level.
Time for a pin wash. The AK brown wash designed for Dark Yellow German vehicle is applied around recesses and details around the model. This is another product I find there is a sweet spot with. I have a bottle top with white spirit next to the paint and I make sure the brush is constantly flushed with the white spirit. If you get the mix right the paint will run beautifully, if you don’t there can be a lot of clean up. That’s only a matter of using a makeup sponge or a clean brush moistened with white spirit.
Once dry everything received a coat of VMS XXL Matte varnish.
Id reached a point in the build where I could start attaching the various hatches around the model. I didn’t want to taint the paintwork with regular cement, so a drop of superglue was used to set them in place.

Posing the model with everything wide open is probably a little unrealistic, but the end goal was to be able to pose it showing off the interior, so a little artistic license was taken.
German forces would often use local foliage in an attempt to camouflage their vehicles in the field. This was usually attached with wire or netting fixed to the side of the vehicle. One of the benefits of replacing the tie downs earlier was I could now wire the side of the vehicle using 0.135mm rigging wire from Infini Model. Threading it through the maze of tiny holes was a challenge but was worth the effort for an extra layer of interest to the model.
A fine layer of dusting is applied using Tamiya Buff and once dry I was able to apply a mix of European Earth and Russian Earth pigments around the lower areas of the model.
A large brush loaded with white spirit is then touched around the part allowing the fluid to migrate through the dry pigment. This will allow the pigment to settle on the part once dry. It looks horrendous at the moment but will come together once dry.

The same pigment techniques are also used around horizontal surfaces to help build up the organic looking debris.

After about 12 hours the white spirit had dried off to a point where I could start correcting the layer of pigments. This is easily done using a makeup sponge to remove the build-up you no longer want. Because I only used white spirit as my binder, it is pretty weak and allows for this type of manipulation.
The pigment stage is then refined by using a combination of Earth toned enamels as washes as well as using them in a speckling motion to simulate mud splashes.
Oil Paints are once again called upon to add some further variation in the paintwork as well as streaking. Bu applying a small amount of the oil paint and then dragging it in a downward motion with a touch of white spirit I am able to create interesting streaking effects.
A touch of Gun Metal pigment to the machine gun barrel and the leading edges of the tracks and the journey was now complete.

A few years ago, I’d vowed never to build a full interior kit again, simply because of the amount of time and effort that goes into them. Planning is essential and pre-painting and build order is crucial…usually for minimal reward once complete. It was for that reason I wanted to take this model to a place where I could at least showcase where those countless hours went.
The completed kit. Diminutive, but packed with detail inside & out...
The accuracy issues with Takom’s range of Jagdpanzers has been well documented, but realistically nothing that can’t be addressed if you so choose. In terms of a model, this kit has truly been a pleasure to build. The detail in the parts and the fit was pretty close to perfect which hasn’t been the case with the last few full interior kits I’ve built.

A walk around the competed kit...
This is a complex model that requires planning and thought however it’s certainly within reach of most modellers with a basic understanding of fundamentals of the hobby. Don’t let the ‘full interior’ on the box top scare you off.

...& in closer detail...
I enjoyed the kit so much I’ve started building another with the view to develop some paint mask sets for them…watch this space.
Clayton's video of this construction is up on his excellent YT page - Workbench Hobbies 

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