A Hetzer!

I decided to give the Hetzer a page of its own. It is still far from the others in its development but It is significant enough to be separated from the SturmTiger page where it previously was buried.

I've reworked the running gear, added tracks and sprockets from Nils Hermann. I cast a mantlet and mount in aluminium replacing the cleverly made papier-mache and fiberglass original mount. In fact I cheated on the mount: I removed the original made a flange and reshaped it abit and used that as a pattern! For the mantlet I made a pattern from a old piece of redwood I found laying next to my fence. I had made several photos and measurements from the late Jacques Littlefield's collection Hetzer early last year when the visiting Per Sonnervik and I paid Jacques a visit. I'm going to work with the upper hull I have but I've not ruled out making a new one. This hull was made from 2.5mm aluminum sheet. It is formed pretty well but was originally just glued together with what appeared to be Stabalit. It has many inexplicable holes along the edges of the roof plate. Somehow I'd need to fill those. I have attempted to rivet the major plates together with some albeit not complete success; it is difficult to hold the plates together at the correct attitude and pound away at the rivets. I use aluminum electrical cable strands as rivet material. It still remains so many parts needing work but it a departure for me: a light tank destroyer.

I think one of the most intriguing aspects of this project is that to complete as I want to I will be more or less forced to make my own gearbox. Even it I had any one of the existing gas/glow engine compatible gearboxes they probably would not fit. A most interesting problem! So much for now. 03/11/2009

Below I've put in some photos showing the maingun and mantlet I've loosely set up on the hull. The mantlet needs more work but the worst is done. That worst bit was boring the .625" hole for the maingun tube. The maingun tube is actually a bar that I bored 3 or so inches into the front. It's all held together with tape( literally ) and propped up wiyj odd and ends so I could see what it will look like. So far I like it.

I'm considering a taking a break from all my building for a while. I'm getting burnt out. I've been fighting the worst cold for two weeks now, barely shows any signs of getting better. Not helping is the constant stress at work, stress form having to produce, produce, produce at an ever increasingly feverish rate. And the constant fear of not knowing when one will loose their job at the whim of some faceless upper manager. Further compounding it all is having seen my retirement funds dwindle by a horrific amount. I'm tired ofter and I know it is stress as my life isn't physically strenuous...I don't truly enjoy this hobby when I'm that off kilter. I want to lose myself in my beloved Baroque and Renaissance music for a while.... Jerry 04/02/2009

08/25/2009 Still listening with a rekindled love of Bach's wonderful organ works, St Anne, Dorian, Passicaglia and Fuge in C, The Gigue as played by Karl Richter, E Power Biggs, and Chorzempa. I'm listening to Chorzempa's performance of Bach's Prelude and Fugue BWV 543 while typing this at 11:30 at night... I'll always love these grand works. But I've also rediscovered a love of French music from the times of Marais, Couperin, and Duphly - magical, brooding in some cases and wonder all....And now the Hetzer- I've dome a few things to it.

I worked on the upper hull more; I used aluminum "solder" and JB weld to firm up the upper hull. I've used the solder before with mixed results and this time was no disappointment in that department but it appeared to make a solid union albeit rough - O can't seem to make a smooth seam with the stuff. I am a first time JB Weld user as well and I must say it seems rock hard. I tried to use it as a fillet along the inside of the seams and as a method of filling all the needless holes on the roof. I've been spoiled by Stabalit Express and Devcon 50% steel epoxy both of which have served me well over the years for filling unwanted holes and building up non mechanical surfaces. I've used Devcon to cover up screw heads and in a couple of instances on my Seiki Tiger I's to bond cover plates to the thin aluminum sheet they made their hulls from. Stablit I've used to repair ceramics pieces, affix the odd part to a model and most recently as part of the repair to my second Pracht JagdPanther I have yet to write about... Anyway on to the Hetzer! I used to JB Weld on the upper hull as I said to fill in holes and to build up the upper hull a bit in places. JB Weld cures very hard! It should do well in the application as I've used it. Further I made 3 small hinges as I did for my King Tiger mud flaps but in this case it was to secure the first of quite a number of hatches on this model. I've already recognized that the hatch openings are not rounded on the corners as some should be but I'm leaving them be. In the two photos above note the large hatch on the left rear hull top. The opening is large enough for me to place my hand . This I believe will be key in the operation of this model. This model will be a departure for me as the upper hull will be fastened to the lower hull with screws while in operation unlike my other models on which the upper hull can be simply lifted up to access the internals. I also began on the exhaust system. My philosophy with this model is to try to save as much of the original materials as possible. so in keeping with that I disassembled the original exhaust system which was glued together and copper/silver brazed as much as possible, bored out the angled mount block as I brazed a larger exhaust pipe to reduce restriction. My intention is to power this with an old OS 20 4 cycle which I'd already fitted on a mount with starter and cooling fan. That's it for tonight...

09/29/2009 Some progress has been made on the Hetzer. See photos below...

Jerry 5/30/2010 - Hopefully with most if not all of the transmission (See development here) development work is behind me, it is time to return to working on the Hetzer itself. Already as part of the work I did for the drive line work I modified the return roller mounting, creating an eccentric to allow tension of the tracks to be adjusted. I mounted the left and right fenders and fender braces. My attention will focus on these items:

I have to find a better internal exhaust linkage so the exhaust oil doesn't fly all over plus I need to "subtly" modify the exhaust output so it is thrown further away from the rear deck. Otherwise I'll always have a mess up there which will no doubt mix with dirt when running to make a world class mess. Over the next few days, which I have off, I will consider how best to make the wheels better. I hate to make a mold for only 8 tires but don't see a better way. In any even I'm off the air as to running any models as I managed to break 2 toggle switches on my workhorse Futaba 8UAP transmitter. I have sent away for replacement parts so ot will be a few days.

08/28/2010 It has been some while since I've done any model work and longer still since I've written here. I did spend a while fixing my primary running Panther. The starter bearings had broke quite a while back and I finally got around to repairing it. While that took some time I also spnt time cleaning ' it up and rewiring it to replace the old ubtidy work I did some while ago. I'm thinking of starting a miscelleaneous page to cover repairs and odds and end subjects.

I'm including a current photo of the Hetzer as I have done some things to it notably another set of hatches and the rivet work on the rear fender supports. I used tiny brass nails; I drilled 6 #80 holes on each bracket and the rivets are functional. I'll try to take a close up as you can hardly see them in this photo. More soon.

Along with the fender brackets I'd also installed the twin hatches on the left side of the roof. Had to fill in and build up the material so that I could give the hatch the characteristic round forward corners. I've also modified the opening for the right hand roof hatch to also give it the rounded corner the proto type had. I've rough cut the hatch itself but have not yet mounted it. I'm making my own hinges and onlly have two left and I need six more for the remaining hatches. I've been using brass 00-90 screws to fasten the hinges although the heads are a bit large. I have really tiny brass metric hex head screws but I don't consider using these as 1) they were given to me a long while ago and therefore I don't consider them a regular supply and 2) without a regular supply I don't wish to depend on them and lastly 3) I have actually been tapping the hull plates for 00-90 threads for the screws I've used and having no corresponding tap ( and die) for the metric screws I can't do the same. I'd rather use the tiny screws and should look into finding a reliable source along with threading tools. The metric screws are nearly 1/2 possibly 2/3 the size of the 00-90 screws so these would jave been far better. I have no problem at some later date filling the screw holes on the hull and hinges and redrilling and re-tapping everything!.

I also modified the exhaust to hopefully direct the exhaust strem away from the rear of the tank and theoretically be even less noisy than before. I've not yet improved the internal coupling. That's all til next time... Jerry