At the end of WWII the Swiss army conducted a series of tests
of various German armored vehicles among which was one Hetzer. In mid 1946 Switzerland
was proposed to get the last batch of 100 G-13
initially built for the Germans by the Czech Skoda factory. The Swiss army decided to
procure them to equip several tank destroyer units. In
December 1946 the first batch of 8 arrived in Switzerland with the main
batch of 100 arriving in 1947. To meet the Swiss army needs, another 50 were purchased in 1947 with the last ones
being delivered in 1949.
These last 50 vehicles were newly manufactured by Skoda.
In 1950 the first vehicles were rebuilt with a Swiss diesel engine and subsequently 86 vehicles were modified. Among the major recognition features are the StuK40 gun with a prominent muzzle brake, the large headlight replacing the Notek light on the left side of the glacis, the spare track links on the left hull side, the spare roadwheel on the right hull side and the modified engine deck. On the roof the MG34 has been deleted and in its place a new sight has been fitted. For its anti-aircraft protection the standard version mounted a Swiss made 7.5mm MG38 AA-MG while the command version didn't get this AA MG. The last G-13 were phased out in 1973.
The G-13 only exists as a conversion set by MR Models of Germany. This small set is designed for the Dragon mid-production Hetzer. It comprises a mix of resin and white metal parts, a turned aluminum barrel and a sheet for the instructions.
The resin parts (engine deck, both types of possible exhausts, roadwheels, commander sight, gun muzzle brake) are nicely molded with crisp detail. Unfortunately, in my set the muzzle brake parts were broken and useless.
The white metal parts are two new idlers with four mud relief holes, the left side headlight, the spare track links, the spare wheel bracket and the MG38 with its bracket.
The kit I used was the brand new Tamiya Mid-Production Hetzer. I only chose it as it appeared the Dragon kit was not easy to find. The Tamiya kit is a good one with the usual Tamiya quality of detail and ease of build. However, the dimensions are slightly different from the Dragon one and this led to fit issues with conversion parts as seen later.
I started by assembling the hull according to the instructions. I didn't glue
the resin wheels nor the metal idlers. Then I glued the upper hull before
setting in place the engine deck. This step was an easy one as the resin part
was narrower than the Tamiya hull by less than 1mm. I just filled the gap with a
piece of plastic strip.
The following steps were easy too even if in some areas the instructions lacked precision to find the right place of some parts. But soon, the dimensions of the Tamiya kit generate some fit issues. First of all, the hull sides were not high enough for the spare track links brackets. I had to cheat to avoid the side skirts brackets make contact with the spare track links. When comparing the track links with those provided by Tamiya in the kit, I found that the dimensions were the same so there really is a problem of hull dimensions.
On the rear deck, the other issue came with the large box with the wire roll. Either it is too large or the rear deck is too narrow but there is a lack of space on the left side of the box.
I decided to add some details to the kit. First of all, the four towing hooks
missed the reinforcing elements that can clearly be seen on pictures of the real
vehicle. These are done with thin plastic card bits.
I also added the headlight wire with its socket and the small light on the right side of the glacis. The protection cage of the latter was made from bits of photoetched frame.
On the rear deck, I decided not to use the towing cables so I detailed their brackets. The kit and the conversion do not come with the tools that equip the G-13. I used some tools from my spare box that I reshaped to match the Swiss ones. I also made the clamps with thin strips of aluminum.
Finally I had to make a new muzzle brake as mine was broken. I started with a Marder III muzzle brake that I cut and reshape to match as best as possible the StuK40 muzzle brake.
The running gear was fitted only after a basic weathering was applied to the bottom of the hull. I used the vinyl tracks instead of the links and lengths ones also provided by Tamiya.
The base color is XF-62 Olive Drab. A
gray filter has been applied then the upper and the side surfaces got a lighter
shade to try to depict the effect of the light. The weathering is done with the
usual oil dots method and some washes to give more depth to the details. I
applied some plaster of Paris to give a muddy effect to the bottom of the
vehicle. I used various shades of pigments to avoid a monotone look.
The decals come from the spare box and belonged to the Italeri Leopard2 model.
I would like to thanks Stefan Halter for the historical background.
References : Prime Portal