Friday, September 1

Video review guide PT III: Hol(e)y Hetzer! - Exterior construction & detailing of Takom's 35th scale kit...

Clayton continues his build of Takom's "Early" Jagdpanzer 38(t) in 1/35th scale. Today he details the exterior & creates a smart solution to having a full interior kit with a turretless machine! See how he worked it out in the third part of his build guide.

Buid Guide Pt.II: 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: $48.97 USD from Hobbylink Japan

Takom Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer – Early Production with Full Interior – Kit 2023/2170

Today: Part III: Exterior details & "making a window on a tank"
I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that the interior build phase didn’t test my patience and drain me a little. The model itself isn’t overly difficult and the assembly was enjoyable for the most part, but there is something taxing (for me at least) with all those sub-assemblies and pre-painting. Plus, I’d been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get the video and review together in a timely fashion.

But with the bulk of the interior complete I was now ready to move onto the exterior parts of the model and hopefully things would move a long a little quicker. I still needed to decide how I was going to pose the model and if I was going to display the interior in some way.

I got to work initially on the suspension system and the wheel sections. The leaf springs all had a significant seam line running through the middle of the part as a result of the manufacturing process. The seam was cleaned up using a sanding sponge and the blade of a scalpel using a scraping motion.
The four spring assemblies are completed and ready to be fit to the hull. There is no movement in the positioning, so scope for posing the model on anything other than flat ground will require extensive modification. I also believe that the reinforcing bar on the centre arm should not be present on this version of the model. I will look to remove that prior to painting.
The assemblies are now glued to the hull. Its also worth noting at this point that the kit shows to include a small drain plug on the from wheel hubs. This should not be included as this was a post war upgrade on the G13 models.
Whilst I was modifying parts, another oversight of the kit is the detail with the Schürzen. The model shows the ends angling in on either end however that was not the case on this early production Hetzer. It also depicts the brackets with bolts but these early version brackets were welded rather than bolted.

It was easy enough to bend and sand the end, so they were flat, and removing the bolts was easily done using a sharp hobby knife and a light sand.
The gun mantlet is missing detail of the lugholes on either side however this was easily fixed using a micro drill.
The ties downs were presented around the model as essentially small lumps of plastic. They were removed using a sharp hobby chisel and will be replaced just before the model is ready to be painted to avoid damaging them whilst handling model.
I’d made the mistake of being a little sloppy with addressing ejector pin marks on some of the inside surfaces of the model during the interior build phase. I clearly knew they were there but didn’t want to waste time with filling and sanding them thinking you’d never see them anyway. That thought process was fine at the time, but once I’d finished the interior it limited me with my options for displaying the finished kit.

I didn’t want to make that mistake with the underside of the roof and the engine hatches, so I set about removing all of the marks I practically could. The sanding scuffs are obvious in the pictures however a coat of Mr Surfacer will tidy that up nicely.
The wheels are removed from the sprues and prepared for paint. Some small nicks and knocks are gouged out of the rubber using a hobby knife. I was mindful to not be too heavy handed with the damage given this probably would have had limited time in the field.
The thickness of the plastic for the rear guards was thinned down using a sharp knife and a rotary tool. I’m thinning this down to better represent the thickness of the metal, plus it will allow me to bend it a little to represent damage on the finished model.
The rear track guards are now fitted, and the shapes are all starting to come together. The instructions suggest building the tracks and wheels prior to fitting these rails and side sponsons however, I am going to paint and start to weather some of the lower areas of the model whilst I have access, so I am hoping they will act as a guard to avoid overspray.
I wasn’t entirely happy with how stark the cream on the interior had presented. I was always going to have to revisit the colour for the inside faces of the hatches. (Interestingly, after studying images of an unrestored Hetzer the insides of the hatches were cream and not the colour of the vehicle that was often the case with German AFV’s). A mix of German Cream and Light Stone was used to create the more creamy yellow mix of the colour. The hatches and gun assembly were painted, and the existing internals were tinted using this colour by carefully spraying it over the existing white sections.
Whilst the textures in the moulding of the mantlet and gun mount were really nice, after looking at reference it was obvious it was probably underdone. Creating additional cast textures is easy enough by stippling Tamiya Putty thinned with Tamiya Extra Thin to the part using an old rough brush. The texture doesn’t look great at the moment but should come alive under a coat of paint.
When I took this kit on, I had no intention of displaying the interior. I was planning on building and painting it in the interests of the review, but I promised myself I wouldn’t obsess over it. But as always, the trap of the full interior kit, and the fact I was filming the whole thing caught me, and I invested a heck of a lot of time into the interior. So, my initial intentions of making peace with a few open hatches here and there soon became a battle of how to display this model and help showcase the interior.

I have never been a fan of the model with bits and pieces in staggered layers, and I like my models to have their shape and lines when they finally make the display case. And let’s not even consider the clear roof section that comes with the kit…

As much as it terrified me, I settled on a cutaway as a way to show the interior. If I was able to cleanly cut a hole in one side, I’d be able to show off the interior from one angle, but from the other you’d be none the wiser. At least that was my hope.

A geometrical shape was marked out on the side wall and the plan was set in place.
The corners were drilled using a small rotary tool. The holes would create a small radius on the points where the cut lines would meet up. I was mindful of executing this cut in a controlled way, so rather than go hacking with a saw I used a scribing tool to slowly start creating the cuts.
The cut out took some time, but once it was done and sat in place it gave me an understanding of what everything would look like.
The gun mount and gun assembly are than attached to the top section of the model.

The assembly and connection points were not the best at this point, so whether I’d done something wrong in build steps, or if this was just an issue with the kit, I’m not sure. Everything held in place, it was just an ugly join that I ended up flooding with superglue as insurance and then and to patch and paint it.
It was brought to my attention that the early version of the Hetzer didn’t have the reinforcing brace as highlighted earlier in the article. This was information that would have been handy prior to fitting the parts to the hull, but nevertheless I set about removing the section. There is also a teardrop style hole that should be on these parts however any hope of trying to fabricate that with a rotary bit was all by lost now I’d attached them to the model. The raised, ‘brace section was removed using a hobby chisel.
The wheels are now painted in the same manner. By fitting them off to toothpicks using a small piece of Blu-Tac I am able to handle them easily without contaminating the part.
The polished rims are painted using a matte aluminium acrylic from Ammo and the rubber sections are painted with Vallejo Black Grey.
When building armour, I’m always trying to think a few steps ahead, and trying to add mud and texture to the running gear and suspension sections would be tricky if everything was glued together. In order to get around that I am planning on painting and weathering the hull before I attach the wheels and tracks. The hull was first primed with Mr Surfacer Black and once dry was painted using Tamiya Dark Yellow 2. I am priming here not because I’m worried about the paint adhering, but I am planning on priming the whole model once assembled, so I am doing it here to ensure I get a consistent yellow over the whole model.

The coverage is built up slowly and purposefully imperfect. I want some of those shadows to be present through the yellow.
Dark Earth Terrains is an acrylic based textured paste and is a great way to create mud and textured effects to the lower hull and running gear on the model. The paste is applied using an old brush and is focused in and around the suspension and along the top recesses and edges of the underside. Because it is an acrylic, I am able to keep it wet using a brush soaked with water as it will thin it down. The colour is unimportant at this stage, this product is simply about creating the mud textures and layers.
Once the paste is dry it can look a little disheartening, but it is easily softened by first by blending it in using the Tamiya Dark yellow through the airbrush.

Then, Flat Earth is used to start blocking in the colour of the mud sections.

An even darker mix of Black and Red brown is then airbrushed around recesses and details to create even greater depth in the mud effect.

Once those layers had time to dry, I went back through the mud textures with enamel washes. I use a Dark Brown and an Earth toned wash to help establish the look.

Most of these effects will be hidden behind the Hetzers huge wheels and side skirts, but that is exactly the reason I need to set these effects in place whilst everything is off the model.
With the stack of command radios banished to the bin, I felt I had to include something in their place, especially now I had just cut a gaping hole in the side wall. Detail as to what should actually be there were a little tricky to come by, and I’d seen someone suggest that ammunition cases for the roof mounted machine gun should sit there…which sounded plausible. I didn’t want to obscure the view of the interior too much, so I decided to make some frames for that section using thin styrene strips. A few random tarps were sculpted using Green Stuff putty and some straps were added using lead foil.

A few people had pointed out some of my indiscretions with the radio unit, so I used one of the boxes that was mounted on the piece of the side wall I’d cut out and mounted it on the fire wall and redirected some of the wiring to better help sell the radio setup. Completely inaccurate but it was all about making the interior busy when looking through the hatches and the hole in the side wall.
Moving back to the running gear and the wheels are glued in place.

The track assemblies for this kit are supplied in the link and length fashion. I find it easier to pre-paint the tracks while they are attached to the sprues even though I know when they see the gluing phase the paint will be damaged, and the joint will be slightly compromised. Pre-painting them just helps me ensure a reasonable coverage over all of the parts. Dark Iron was used for this initial colour.

Once the paint had ample time to dry, I set about assembling the tracks. The assemblies come in a series of individual tracks with a couple of other lengths that will all piece together to create the continuous track section.

The top length was assembled with the single length sections connected to either of the ends. Because the glue takes some time to set, I am able to carefully fold the track around the drive socket and idler and manipulate it into place. A small touch of superglue dries almost instantly and connects the track pieces to the wheels to help the handling during this phase.

Once the top run is set in place it’s just a matter of connecting the lower run of the track.

I did make this very awkward for myself, but the fact that there is movement in the glued track for round 20-30 minutes means this assembly is relatively easy to manage with a little care and patience.
It was now time to commit to attaching the top half to the bottom. It was always going to be tight, and since I’d modified some of the parts a snug fit was always going to be on the cards, hence I decided to use superglue to connect the two halves because of how strong and how quickly the parts would grab. A little pressure and it was looking good.
Work could now take place on the front welds. A small amount of green stuff putty was first rolled into a small tube. A a touch of superglue is applied in the trench to hold the putty in place and then go back and add the lineal texture with the tip of a hobby chisel.

It’s hard to get a full appreciation of the effect until it sits underneath a coat of paint. It did however look to be an improvement to the naked eye.

A weld seam was also added around the armoured shroud for the drivers’ periscopes. This weld pattern was a more traditional arc formation. In hindsight I wish I had have taken more care because the welds around that shroud are way overscale. Live and learn…
The model was then prepared for priming with sponge stuffed in the cavities and tape around the tracks and wheels as a makeshift mask.
With the majority of the build complete and the model primed and ready for paint, it feels like a good place to conclude this section of the build. It may be hard to tell from the progress photos, but there was so much time and effort to get the model to this stage. It’s actually been quite mentally exhausting.

Pimped, punctured & primed - this one is ready for the exterior work on the next step...
I’ve mentioned many times before, that for me the thing I love the most about modelling is the painting, so this stop start approach to the build was really testing me, but I know I’m getting closer to that, and I know that in order to execute a successful interior build, and then throwing a cutaway into the mix is no small task, so hopefully the planning and preparation will be worth the effort.

Clayton's video of this construction is up on his excellent YT page - Workbench Hobbies - great watching!
Until next time….

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