AMtech 1/48 Hs-123A-1






Five aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Includes resin cockpit


The Henschel Hs-123 was designed as the first dive bomber to equip the new Luftwaffe. This was basically due to the impression that a Curtiss Hawk dive bombing demonstration left on Ernst Udet, a high ranking Luftwaffe officer and First World War Ace. It was first tested in 1935 and entered service in the autumn of 1936. During the Spanish Civil War the handful of  Hs 123s sent to the Condor Legion were used with great success in the close support role and gained great popularity for their reliability and rugged construction. Of course, when the first Ju-87As arrived in Spain during the last year of the war it was obvious that the 123 was obsolescent after only a few years of service.

When the Second World War broke out the Hs 123 had been almost completely replaced by the Ju87B and only one group was available for the Polish campaign. These remaining aircraft were so effective that they were retained for use in the battles in Belgium and France.

With the attack on Russia the elderly biplanes were again in action, often operating when conditions were so bad that more modern aircraft were grounded. Since the Germans were able to rather easily maintain local air superiority in the large and fluid Eastern front, the 123 was most effective. The type was also used at the Luftwaffe's dive bombing schools. The Henchel Hs-123 normally carried four 110lb bombs and two fixed machine guns. The 870 h.p. BMW engine gave a maximum speed of 212 m.p.h. Wing span was 34ft 5ins and length 27ft 4ins.




Probably wondering why there is a preview of a kit that has already been built and reviewed. Well, that is because the kit I did was a test shot and didn't come with complete instructions or a decal sheet. As I mentioned in that previous effort, the AMtech kit is basically the ESCI 1/48 kit with some extra bits and pieces added to it. The most important bits are the new resin cockpit by Black Box. This is a total replacement for the rather basic version that is included with the kit. Now the cockpit opening itself isn't exactly huge, but if you build the kit with the smaller doors open, there is plenty of room to see the work that has been done in this area.

Another big improvement has been the addition of unspatted landing gear. When used in the Eastern Front and training schools, the 123 often had the spats removed to prevent mud from building up in them. The landing gear is a bit of a convoluted construct so having these available really expands the number of markings options.

A third plus is that this kit comes with an excellent decal sheet. ESCI decals were not exactly the best around and most of the ones I've used have been brittle and yellowed, even when 'new'. This sheet includes markings for five 123s from various time periods. First is a four colored early scheme plane(RLM 61/62/63 over RLM 65) from 3./JG 165 in 1937. Next is one from 5./LG 2 in Belgium, 1940. This plane has an easier to paint RLM 70/71/65 scheme. Also in that scheme is one from FFS Schule A/B 71 in 1941. This and the next scheme are without wheel spats. The next is the box art aircraft from Russia in 1942 and is RLM 70 (or 71) over RLM 65 with large yellow areas. The final scheme is a post war Spanish plane from 1945 in overall silver with a blue cheat line. A very fetching scheme. The decals are superbly printed and most colorful.

Finally, the instructions are absolutely first rate. They offer all the color info you could need during the construction process and offer photos to show you exactly what needs to be removed or adjusted for the cockpit and the new landing gear.


As with all of the AMtech 'upgrade' kits, this one is limited in its production run. It is well worth the money as it offers everything you need to produce a superb representation of this early Luftwaffe ground attack aircraft.

Thanks to for the review sample.

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