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DML Sdkfz 138/2 Hetzer Early

 
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject: DML Sdkfz 138/2 Hetzer Early Reply with quote

I had a good block of time off for the Christmas holidays and decided to do things a little differently as a "vacation" project. Rather than keep a step-by-step build log, I opted for a relatively simple project that I would just build and not have the pressures of posting, taking pics, etc. It was a nice refreshing change from the usual pace of things.

The chosen victim was one of DML's older kit offerings, kit #6030 Sdkfz 138/2 "Hetzer" Early Version. While designations such as "early", "mid", or "late" are nice handy things for modelers to refer to, it wasn't something actually applied to the vehicles themselves. If I had to get technical, the features of this kit are more of an "initial" version as it sports features seen only on the April-May 1944 production run of roughly 100 vehicles. To that end, I needed to make a few modifications to keep it all accurate, namely replace the kit barrel and tracks. I opted for Lion Roar's turned aluminum Pak 39 barrel since it had the muzzle brake threads needed for an "initial" version and also for Model Kasten SK-28 workable tracks since the kit provided static indys were the later "crimped horn" style.



The kit itself built up very well considering its relative age...just the usual seam lines and occasional ejector marks here and there to be dealt with. Aside from the barrel and tracks, I replaced the kit supplied solid grouser box with a perforated one by modifying left over parts from a Tamiya Marder III kit since the Hetzer box was much narrower. I also drilled out the MG34 in the remote roof mount, opened up the solid vision ports for the driver, and drilled out the face of the gunner's sighting periscope. I used the kit supplied PE (which is made from steel, not brass) and added the missing wiring conduit for the Notek light using 0.5mm solder bent to shape and a short piece of styrene rod for the mount in the hull side.

Last but not least I added a Griffon PE clamp for the long crow bar on the right hull side and also added some DML half wing-nuts to the jack clamps from the spares bin.

The road wheels, sprockets, and idlers are dry-fit to allow for the tracks to be test fitted. 95 links per side were needed to get the necessary tension/sag although the schurzen hides almost all of that.









This one's going to be painted in a simple plain dunkelgelb scheme.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-08-11 Reply with quote

Got some time in with the airbrush today on this little guy. Applied a primer coat of MM enamel Italian Dark Brown to kick things off.

I decided I was going to finish this one in a plain dunkelgelb scheme complete with the barrel still in the original heat-resistant lacquer coating as seen in the well-known photo of Hetzers being demonstrated to Hitler early in 1944. To replicate the lacquer finish, I used MM enamel Gunmetal and applied that over the primer.



I masked the gun barrel with some blue painter's tape and then applied the dunkelgelb finish using a 50-50 mix of MM enamel Light Gray/Panzer Dunkelgelb. This mix does two things, it alleviates the too-greenish appearance of the straight MM dunkelgelb color and also lightens the base coat in preparation for the weathering to come in later stages.



The road wheels, sprockets, and idlers also got some attention. They were primered just like the hull and then MM enamel Gunmetal sprayed on the rubber portions. Using a draftsman's circle template, I masked the hubs and airbrushed those with the same 50-50 mix as used on the hull. I also took advantage of the removable nature of the remote roof-top MG and painted it off the hull to make it easier to cover both areas adequately.



Now it's on to the detail painting and other miscellaneous stuff to get this one closer to completion.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-24-11 Reply with quote

NFL playoffs have been stealing a lot of my time lately, more than I expected to be honest! Have enjoyed the games and also managed to sneak in some bench time here and there and finally have enough progress to warrant an update.

After the major paint work was completed the last time, work turned to the details. I finished up and installed the roof MG along with all the pioneer tools and the spare track runs. The muffler/exhaust also got some attention as did the rear convoy light.

The road wheels were given some pre-weathering treatment as well courtesy of some stippled burnt umber and an overall wash of raw umber. They are still a work in progress and not finished yet but far enough along to justify installing them. The sprocket and idler were also added but left movable so I can install the tracks and tension them properly later on.







Next up will be the decals and then on to the weathering with the tracks bringing up the rear.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject: WIP 1-30-11 Reply with quote

More progress was made this weekend although much of the progress involved the model sitting and waiting/drying/curing before I could move to the next steps in the process. Hurry up and wait I suppose!

First order of business was protecting the paint work from previous steps. I applied an overall coat of Future acrylic floor polish by airbrush and let that thoroughly dry before adding the decals. The markings on this vehicle are vary simple, just a pair of balkenkreuze on the hull sides. The kit decals were treated with Walther's Solvaset to insure they laid down properly with no silvering. A 2nd coat of Future was applied over the hull sides to protect the decals and allowed to dry overnight.



The weathering process began with an application of an overall wash of thinned enamel Raw Umber. This was followed with a dot filter treatment using Flat White, Deep Yellow, my original 50-50 base coat mix, and Raw Sienna to generate some tonal variation in the monotone scheme.









Next up will be a pin wash application of Burnt Umber and there's a lot of detail so that will take some time and is scheduled for next weekend if all things go according to plan!
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-27-11 Reply with quote

Hard to believe it's been a full month since I've been able to get back to this one and make any progress, but there you have it. Between work obligations and other routine real-life events, it's been a challenge to get in a block of time large enough to keep this one moving. Today finally offered that opportunity and I was able to get the pin wash of Burnt Umber applied that I meant to do back at the start of the month. I used a small 10/0 pointed brush to apply the pin wash using a roughly 90/10 thinner/paint ratio and then came back with the same brush and clean thinner and adjusted where needed. Once satisfied, I applied an overall dull coat of Testors Model Master Lusterless Flat in the spray can to remove any remaining gloss and tie the whole finish together.





Last remaining hurdle is the tracks and associated pigment weathering...which also requires a large block of time to get done so hopefully I won't have to wait another month before I can get to those!
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-06-11 Reply with quote

Last update I mentioned that I had only 1 more hurdle to clear...but actually it was really 2 so only 1 was cleared in my latest effort at the bench.

I got the MK tracks painted and installed. I applied a base coat of Model Master Non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal by brush and then followed that up with a heavy dry-brushing of MM enamel Steel. The Steel was muted by applying a wash of 90/10 thinner/MM enamel Burnt Umber to the whole track run and letting it dry.

Once the wash had dried, I fed the track runs into position using a pair of tweezers to guide them over the return roller and to avoid snagging on the side skirts. The ends were joined and then the idlers moved into the proper tensioned position and glued in place with liquid glue to round things out.





So now, really and truly, the last hurdle remaining is the pigment weathering treatment for the tracks and lower hull. Hopefully will be able to get to that next weekend.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: Completion 03-13-11 Reply with quote

Finally managed to get this little guy across the finish line today! The remaining steps involved applying pigment weathering to the running gear and tracks. This was accomplished using a dry powder combination of Mig Rubble Dust, Europe Dust, and just a touch of Dark Mud and Light Dust as I wanted a lighter weathering finish to go with the rest of the finish. The dry powders were combined in an old prescription bottle lid using the end of a paint brush and then turned into a wet mixture by adding regular tap water with a drop of dish washing soap added to break the surface tension. The wet mix was applied using a round sable brush and left to air dry. Once dry, I removed the excess pigment first with either a round or square stiff bristled brush. Then I adjusted the look further using dry q-tips to remove more pigment and settle things in place.



The last remaining detail was the antenna for the right hull side, this was added using a Lion Roar brass 2m antenna glued into position with CA gel. Once the CA had set, the antenna was painted with MM non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal.



I made a couple of minor adjustments, reset the white balance on my camera, and then it was time for the completed walk-around shots.











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