Airmodel 1/72 He-42
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $14.00  
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Basic vacuform kit


The Heinkel HD 42 50, later designated the Heinkel He 42 was a German two-seat biplene floatplane originally designed for the flying school, and later built for the Germa Luftwaffe. The He-42 was absolete by the start of the war. It was used as a basic trainer for many seaplane aircrew and remained so until the end of World War II as a trainer for maritime pilots.

In 1929, Heinkel developed a biplane, the HD 42, for use with the covert military-training organization (DVS). Its fuselage was constructed out of a welded steel tube truss and had a rectangular cross-section with a rounded top. The engine covers were made out of light-weight metal, while the rest of the fuselage was covered in fabric. The aircraft was equipped with floats.

The HD 42 model received good feedback from the Swedish Navy, who had purchased the aircraft, as well as from the famous pilot Gunther Plusehow (who was the first airman to fly over the Patagonian mountains of Chile and Argentina at Tierra Del Fuego). The  prototype was equipped with a BMW Va engine  but the later versions came with a Junker L5G engine.

Ten aircraft had been manufactured by 1932, when a new version, the He 42C was rolled out. Series production began with the He 42D model (14 manufactured) which were intended for the German Air Force, which at the time was illegal. A further 189 He 42Es were built in 1934 and these aircraft were used by various flying schools until the end of Worle War Two. Bulgaria also received possibly three of the He-42C. These were employed on maritime reconnaissance duties but soon relegated to training duties when more advanced types started to arrive at Varna.


 A basic vac kit with main airframe parts. Well-detailed mouldings with recessed panel lines. A certain degree of modelling skill is required to build vacuform kits. They are not recommended for beginners. The 4 page A4 size instructions contain three view, history, and exploded view of kit parts and written sequence of building the kit stage by stage. The kit is quite basic and contained on the backing sheet are a pair of wing main planes, 4 float halves, two fuselage halves, a separate fin and rudder piece, two tail plane parts, a vac propeller, two seats and two clear canopy parts. There are no struts and one have to use after market struts like Contrail struts obtainable from Roll Models (USA) or Aeroclub (UK).


The method is exactly the same as explained in building the He-60 described in a recent issue. This is a slightly bigger floatplane and the instructions suggest inserting a long flat piece of tin plate inside the wing parts that covers most of the central part of the wings. This serves as an internal stiffener. The lower wings have a similar one with the difference that this is slightly bent at the wing root area so that the lower wings have a permanent slight dihedral. 

Alas my kit instructions were in German, which was not one of the 3 languages that I can easily follow but nevertheless the exploded view proved easy to discern in this instance. It is also suggested to form a locating hole to take the struts and the position of these has to be exactly marked so that there is no play when it comes to fit them. The exploded view clearly shows the manner of location of the float and wing struts and from scale plans provided one can measure the size of each strut. A cardboard or plastic jig is also suggested in order to aid alignment of the floats and wings in the exact final position.   

One may find that the struts at a particular place need to be replaced with longer ones or require reducing in overall length of a particular set of struts. This is part of the game when building a vac form kit of this type. I have dealt with fixing the wings and in a separate instance assembled the floats complete with the struts and in the end merged all the pats together. I discarded the vac form propeller given and instead fitted an exactly identical metal one which I obtained from Aeroclub of Nottingham, UK. Rigging to the tailplane was made by applying nylon thread while those at the float struts were made in steel wire. Other additional detail consisted of adding strips to top of floats.


 The interior was painted medium grey with side instruments and front instrument panel in touches of black and darker grey. The upper surfaces were in Humbrol olive green while the lower surfaces in Hellblau. Yellow was applied to the underside of wing tips and to rudder and front area of engine. Civil registration of this military Bulgarian floatplane were in white lettering which came from my spares box, fortunately I had the correct size for the white lettering over the wings and fuselage sides, and black lettering for the underside of wings. The kit was given two coats of Model Master semi gloss lacquer.


This was yet another floatplane type of German origin which operated from Varna in Bulgaria and also operated alongside the He-60s which replaced it during the early days of the formation of the squadron. This was of an early beautiful design, much different from later models of biplane floatplane and the completed model made an interesting addition to my Bulgarian section of scale models.


1) Kit instructions

2) Wikipedia.

Carmel J. Attard

November 2011

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