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  1. Jagdpanzer 38(D) Tank Destroyer (35A021) 1:35 Amusing Hobby The Hetzer, as this tank killer is better known now, was based upon the chassis of a Czechoslovakian design that was taken up by the Germans when they invaded, occupied the country and took over the factories. After being deemed adequate for service with the Reich, many variants and hulls were created by German industry as was their wont. The 38(T) was based on a widened chassis, uprated engine, and a low centre of mass, which was achieved by eschewing a traditional turret in favour of a casemate with a limited traverse, putting the onus on the driver to achieve rough targeting, while the gunner fine-tuned his aim using the traverse available to him. The lack of turret and wide sloping hull gave more crew space, and this was to be increased further by the enlarged 38(D) but this only reached prototype stage before the end of the war. The increase in chassis width allowed the engine to be moved forward, giving the fighting compartment extra room, which is always at a premium in battle. It was to be mass produced as the designers were happy with their creation, but it was never to reach fruition along with some of the other variants, some of which had turrets. The Kit A brand new tooling from Amusing Hobby, who are well known as purveyors of many paper panzers from WWII's darkest days for the Reich. There were few satisfactory kits of the Hetzer 38(T) available until recently, so having this model in injection moulded plastic is a real boon to anyone interested in the what-if of WWII armour. Even enlarged as it is, the 38(D) is still a fairly petite tank, and inside the box are six sprues and a lower hull part in mid-grey styrene, a bag of track links in brown styrene, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small sheet of decals, instruction booklet in matt colour, and painting guide in glossy colour. Construction is quite straight forward with no interior detail to assemble and paint, so the build begins by detailing up the lower hull tub with final drive housing and a single return roller on each side. The wheels are fitted to the suspension units in pairs with two on each side, totalling four pairs, all of which fit into the long slots that project below the hull. The drive sprocket is made up from two halves and a central hub cap, and if you are careful with the glue on all the caps, the wheels should remain able to rotate. The hull is flipped right-side-up and the fenders are attached to the edges with an L-shaped tongue overlapping the inside of the hull to give it extra strength when set, which is then further stiffened by the addition of the rear bulkhead, which has towing hooks and extra track links added before it is glued in place, with stiffeners extending out across the rear of the fenders. The idler wheels are fitted on stub axles that are surface-mounted on the bulkhead to extend the track run and ease track tensioning on the real thing. Although there is no interior, there are openable hatches in case you want to include crew (not supplied), and the hinge for the top hatch is the first thing to be added to the inside of the upper hull together with some vision blocks and the aiming periscope which then has the curved and armoured panel fitted to the top deck with armoured periscope covers and mushroom vents, plus a visor for the driver's slit, light and grab handles on the engine deck. The main hatch is fixed to the hinge, a mesh vent is placed over the louver, another run of track links are held in place by a long clamp, and the exhaust is made up and covered by a mesh outer that must be rolled to shape, testing frequently against the diameter of the plastic muffler. An MG34 machine gun is stationed on the roof with a small drum mag and a splinter shield to protect the gunner, another periscope is installed on the rear roof, and a mesh sided armoured cover is fitted to the engine deck over the main access panel. The complete breech is not depicted, but the big mantlet is provided with casting detail moulded in, within which the hinge-point for the gun is hidden along with a base to attach the barrel. The barrel is moulded from a single styrene part, and by use of slide-moulding it has a hollow muzzle, with only mould seams to scrape away in preparation for installation and painting. It slides through the big cast Saukopf (pig head) mantlet cover just like the real thing, and attaches to the stub in the mantlet, after which the completed assembly can then be fitted to the aperture in the glacis plate, with pioneer tools added to the rear before it is joined to the lower hull. The tracks are added almost at the last, and are supplied as individual links that clip together with no glue needed. There are two sprue attachment points on each link, which are easily cut flush, and no ejector pin marks or sink marks that I can see, so putting together 96 links on each side should be a piece of cake. I test fitted a short run, and the parts clip together easily just by inserting one pin into the hole at an angle, then flexing the other into the opposite side. The pins may deform a little, but not enough to render them useless, however as they're only held on by flexible pins, don't expect them to stay together with rough handling or pulling. Treat them gently during painting and everything should work out fine. With the tracks on the short PE "schurtzen" or side skirts are fitted to the hull using PE brackets that nestle into small recesses on the hull, which must be glued with super glue (CA) or epoxy – CA for speed and ease. A tool box is added to the port rear fender, and on the starboard the jack is pinned down by two brackets, finishing the build phase. Markings As this tank never saw service, the markings options provided on the A3 painting guide are fanciful and as such the world is your oyster when it comes to painting. The schemes are quite different from each other, but most have been seen before on other vehicles, and it's only natural to expect that those schemes might have been carried over to the 38D if it had seen service. Colour call-outs are in Mig Jiménez's AMMO codes, and no markings are shown applied to the schemes, but a small generic set of crosses and white outlined red codes are supplied to get your started. The decals are well-printed with good register, colour density and sharpness and have a closely cropped matt carrier film over each one. Conclusion Although the finished model is likely to be mistaken for the "ordinary" Hetzer, you will know the difference, and it should build up into a good looking replica of this Jagdpanzer that almost made it into service. Detail is good, casting and torch-cutting details are there where appropriate, and the use of PE parts to give scale thicknesses to the skirts is good to see included in the box. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. First AFV build for quite some time. Need to start making stash inroads, so I put this together over the last few days. Trumpeter E-10 panzerjager pretty much OOB with the Voyager etch set and a couple of added details. I gave up on German subjects a few years back, and I'm not really a fan of Paper Panzers but I've always found the shape of the E-10 and E-25 attractive - if an AFV can ever be described as "attractive". I was going to do a double build with the E-25, but ended up doing the E-10 on its own: E-25 next. A bit of creative/artistic licence, being something that never existed anyway. I got hold of the Schatton 1/32 gun barrel for the 5cm Bordkanone aircraft gun, thinking that the Germans might finally have cottoned-on to APDS and fitted E-10 with the BK5 with a 3-round burst autoloader. But putting that in an elevating and traversing mount would have been problematic. Then I measured the barrel against the RB Models PaK 39 and discovered the diameters were pretty much identical. So the concept became higher-powered ammunition derived from the longer-barrelled KwK 42 which needed a good muzzle brake: muzzle bored out to 7.5cm. There was no splash protection for the driver's periscopes or the sighting telescope, so I added some. There is also a massive shot trap and weak spot under the mantlet so I added some field-improvised applique plates. Looking at the Hetzer at Bovington today that had the same weakness under the mantlet. There are a few things still to do. I will be using the Voyager mesh schurzen, suitably damaged. The Trumpeter solid etched ones were curled up anyway. Their mounting brackets need bolt heads. I'm waiting for some workable track links as the kit ones are rubbish: riddled with mould lines bordering on flash and pin marks on every link. I'm also waiting for some Panzer Art resin fire extinguishers: I gave up on trying to make one from fat plastic rod and the Voyager etched parts. Apart from that I'm calling it done. During this build I discovered a few things. I do not possess the level of insanity (or eyesight or dexterity!) needed to make up multi-part etched brass tool clamps from parts I can hardly see and which require some bends a fraction of a millimetre wide I have a very low frustration threshold My command of the English vernacular is greater than I believed possible .............. On another site I'd seen recommendations for using "acrylic glue" for etched brass - the sort of thing beauticians would use for attaching false nails. It's also called Alpha Cyanoacrylate: I don't know the chemical differences. It's dirt cheap on eBay, and I got a couple of types in dropper and brush bottles. And I have to say I like it. You get a bit of wiggle time before the glue sets, but it does dry all too quickly if you're a bit slow positioning. It holds well - I didn't knock a single piece off during handling - and you don't get the white marks you sometimes get with conventional super glues. But you do get glue set marks to remove if you're a little too liberal with it.
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