Not too long ago, Dragon Models released their 15 cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t) in 1/35 scale. Typically, I am not one who partakes in the what-if real of building, but there is a first for everything…not to mention, this is after all, and SPG and looked interesting enough!! And being an SPG, of course this is right in my wheelhouse!
In the quest for information regarding this particular tank, there is a limited supply, mainly because of this variant never made it past the prototype stages. I found the below info on Tanks Encyclopedia to help give a little background to the kit subject. www.tanks-encyclopedia.com
Most history books, museums and websites state that 30 of these Jagdpanzer 38(t) variant SPGs were built. The only known photographs of the 15 cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t) are of the prototype at the factory. Why are there no operational or trials photographs of this vehicle?
The official order exists requesting six to be built by converting existing Jagdpanzer 38(t) chassis and a further twenty four to be built on new chassis by December 1944. No documentation has yet been found to confirm that the order had been completed or delivered.
It is assumed that they were issued to schwere infanterie-geschutz (heavy infantry gun) companies of armored infantry regiments on the Eastern Front, but the exact ones have so far not been identified. No regimental records have been found showing receipt and deployment of these weapons. There are no Soviet photographs of captured or knocked out wrecks of this type of vehicle. None have so far been identified in photographs of Allied German military vehicle scrap yards in Western Europe.
At present it cannot be confirmed that thirty 15 cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer were built even though an official order was issued authorising their manufacture. It can only be confirmed that a prototype was constructed.
Spielberger’s book ‘Panzer-35t/38t’ on page 171 -172 states that an additional 30 were built between December 1944 and February 1945 and used as a support vehicle for the Panzergrenadiers. Six converted from existing Jagdpanzer 38(t) chassis and 24 newly built.
Note:- Unfinished Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzers would come from a holding area off the production line. It was not uncommon for production completion to be held up waiting for the main gun to be finished in a different or separate part of the factory.
Dimensions 4.83 (without gun) x 2.59 x 1.87 m
(15’10” x 8’6″ x 6’1″)
Total weight, battle ready 15.75 metric tonnes (34,722 lbs)
Armament 15cm (5.9 in) schweres Infanterie Geschütz 33 howitzer
Armor 8 to 60 mm (0.3 – 2.36 in)
Crew 4 (driver, commander, gunner, loader)
Propulsion Praga 6-cyl gas. 160 hp@2,800 rpm (118 kW), 10 hp/t
Speed 42 km/h (26 mph)
Suspension Torsion bar
Range 177 km (110 miles)
Total production 1 (or 30)
As I mentioned above, I normally don't build anything that was never placed into production but according to the above that's a limbo question therefore I placed a request to Armorama to do a review build of this neat looking unit. There are the only three photos known to exist of the prototype and these leave any sort of paint scheme wide open to the imagination of the builder.
Since I found nothing worth watching on TV last night and the first four steps to this kit were simple enough, I went ahead and cleaned and or install the called for items per the instructions. The noticed that the rear of the idler housing is open but the instructions do not call for filling those until step #16; however, I installed those parts now anyway.
Head scratcher time
I guess Dragon thought you didn't need a way to mount the suspension springs to the housings or at least let the customer figure it out. What I did. There's a hole in the housing and another in the back side of the spring mount that a piece of 3/64th rod just fits. If you glue the rod in the spring and not the housing plus if you were careful when gluing the swing arm caps on you'll end up with an articulating suspension.
To be honest, although the kit is full of sprues, there is very little to the construction of this model and it does go rather quickly. In addition, all of the extra parts make for a healthy addition to you spare parts box! I planned on painting the lower hull and wheels in preparation of assembling DML’s "Neo Tracks", a.k.a., "length and link tracks". After just two days of construction, most of the kit fell together. So far, other than the spring mounting issue, it's a very simple process getting the Hetzer to this point. The tracks fitting brings the major construction to the end. I will say, the "Neo Tracks" fit with some careful placement. The Idlers have a sloppy fit and it's a little difficult to get them set just right so the links mate up. They are not bad, but I still prefer Magic Tracks or aftermarket indy-links.
Once again Dragon omitted the tow cable in the kit, even though it's visible in the prototype photos. I added the tow cable and "S" hooks from my extra part stash. There were a few more doodads to install before I can call the construction phase complete; I added four more projectiles, charge case storage cabinet, jack block and muffler heat shield.
As for the painting, I decided to go with a salvage reclamation viewpoint of one of the first six built from repaired Hetzer Jagdpanzers. Once the base colors were down, I used AMMO’s Tri-color Filter over the entire model, added a sealer coat followed by the decals. All that was needed after that was a simple wash followed by a clear matte coat.
All in all, the kit is decent. The lower hull is from the older 38T Jagdpanzer and the interior and upper hull are new. Dragon borrowed the gun from another earlier kit… but I can't remember which one but it was certainly a newer kit than the lower hull. For what it's worth, everything went together well and cleaning the parts took very little effort. As I mentioned, there was no way to install the suspension springs to the mount housing and the tracks were troublesome because the idler wheel adjustments were such a loose fit. I also needed to add a few items to spruce things up a bit; a few extra projectiles to the left side and the missing tow cable and "S" hooks.
The 15 cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t) from Dragon was simple to construct, in fact, so much so that it took more time to put the finish on this, than it did to build this off beat prototype variant of the Hetzer. While I enjoyed the kit and it built-up into a nicely finished model in my mind, I would give it an 85 out of 100 just because of the hair pulling I experienced with the idler adjustment and tracks.
Copyright ©2017 by Tony Watts. _OPINIONS IPMS Fresno / Fresno Scale Modelers, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2017-04-30 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 3709