Romanian hetzer, scratch built

The Maresal vehicles were a series of domestically produced Romanian anti tank guns which proceeded from the prototype M-00 to the final series of prototypes designated M-05 and M-06, the M-05 being the one of interest as it was the one which dropped the T-60 chassis on which they were being built up to that point.

The M-04 was field tested in early 1944 and this testing was apparently witnessed by a German officer called Ventz and another one or two according to some historians. The M-05 was tested in March of 1944.


The Romanians planned to produce the Maresal domestically (I imagine with German help) and a battalion was formed specifically to use the M-05 of which 200 were initially planned. Testing continued through out the summer of 1944 and the M-05 compared favourably to a Stug III in field trials during June 1944, again in front of German officers who reportedly liked it very much.

Wikipedia has the following to say about the assertions as to Hetzer/Maresal relationship.

"British historian Mark Axworthy suggests that the design for the Hetzer was likely rooted from the Romanian “Maresal” tank destroyer. In November–December 1943, a Romanian commission ordered from Germany and German-occupied France several components which could not be made in Romania, and this drew German attention to the Maresal. Hitler had approved the development of the Hetzer on 7 December 1943. That same month, Marshal Antonescu (Conducator of Romania at the time) commended the Maresal project to Hitler. Soon afterwards, on 6 January 1944, Hitler was presented with the plans of the Maresal M-04 prototype. Axworthy notes that the Hetzer’s armament, armor configuration and chassis broadening were very similar to those of the M-04. He also reports that in May 1944, German Lieutenant-Colonel Ventz (a delegate of the Waffenamt) admitted that the Hetzer had followed the Romanian design solution. American historian Steven Zaloga writes that “The Germans were impressed with the overall layout of the Maresal, and it is credited with being the inspiration for the German Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyer.”

Im not getting into a discussion about whether or not the M-05 being the Hetzer inspiration is true or not but I thought it would be a nice thing to build. I started this late last year and it was finished a a few months later in 2021.

My start point for the tank was a sheet of 1.2 mm steel, a couple of aluminium rods and a black delrin pipe. And some fixings.

First the pieces for the lower hull and the upper hull were cut out and shaped.

The lower hull was no real issue. I simpled used magnets to hold it together and then soldered it up.

The top was a litttle trickier as I was not sure if the angles were cut right and it was difficult to hold them all in place while joining them.

Once finished the parts lined up quite nicely both top and bottom.



Wow, quite a start

The suspension was at first glance a simple matter.

The first step was to cut out some rectangles in steel and mark them out.

Then the rectangles were shaped by filing and grinding with a dremel.

The swing arms were made in a similar fashion. Recatangles of steel with rounded ends made using filing buttons.

The mounts for the springs were made from some brass bar stock. Filing and drilling got it to an almost OK shape. The slots were just made by filing a groove in the end.

The springs were made from junior hacksaw blades. I ground the teeth off and cut some suitable lengths. They wont be visible so I dont mind. Then a brass plate was mounted across the arms of the slots in the brass mount and a grubscrew was inserted to aplly pressure and hold the springs in place.



The wheels were made from the aluminium round bar. Some disks were cut off and then filed flat with a hardened steel circle as a template.

Little holes were drilled all around and brass pins were press fit into the holes to simulate rivets or something (they may have been nuts, I dont know.) A brass tube was pressed into the centre hole to act as a bushing and then a brass disk was soldered to the brass tube.

At this point the swing arms lokked like this:

The square bit on top catches the end of the spring assembly and ensures it doesnt slip around.

The worst bit comes next.



Tracks were always going to be an issue. I cannot make them and could not find suitable 1:16 tracks.

I needed ones about the width of a Pz III track but with two guide horns. The only suitable one was a Sherman track but the sprocket on those is very recognisable.

In the end I opted for plastic Sherman tracks and a Sherman sprocket which I could modify probably to look less Shermany.

The tires were fitted along with a set of motors and gears. Then the tracks and sprockets went on.

After that I finished off the back with exhausts and grills and made some headlight lenses. I bought the notek light as I could not make one.

The gun is just aluminium tubing and I purchased the deflector or whatever its called.

And here is the final version. With a 1:16 scale Stug III beside it for scale.

In teh end I thought the tank looked OK - I dont know how practical it would have been in battle although the Hetzer seemed to have performed well.

Maybe if teh Romanians had had a few Maresals on the flanks at Stalingrad things might have gone differently!!



I think that is some amazing work you’ve done there, well done indeed.