|PRICE:||$2.75 when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||SReboxed Airfix Kit. 1982 release|
The Henschel Hs 129 was a World War II ground-attack aircraft fielded by the German Luftwaffe. The aircraft saw combat in Tunisia and on the Eastern Front.
A key requirement of the original specification was that the aircraft be powered by engines that were not in demand for other designs. Prototypes with low-power German Argus As 410 engines of 465 PS (459 hp; 342 kW) failed acceptance test, a more powerful replacement was found with the French Gnome-Rhône 14M engine of 700 PS (690 hp; 515 kW).
The design was relatively effective when it was first introduced, and saw service on the Eastern Front in a variety of front-line roles. As the war continued and anti-tank support became the main goal, the aircraft was continually up-gunned, eventually mounting a 75 mm gun in the anti-tank role that left the plane barely flyable. Only a small number of these B-3 models were produced, late in the war.
Over the years, there have been at least three 1/72 Hs-129s produced by major kit companies. In addition to this one (Airfix), both Lindberg and Italeri have produced this kit. I've seen neither one of the latter two but would have to think that the Italeri kit is the better of the three.
Though the instructions state that the Hs-129B-2 or Hs-129B-3 can be built from the kit, you are only offered decals for the B-3 variant. To start, there is no cockpit detailing with only a seat a pilot figure being offered. Frankly, little could be seen through the small and thick transparency anyway. In the first construction step you assemble the fuselage, attach the tailplanes and the wings, which are upper and lower halves.
There is no boxed in gear well, which isn't really that much of an issue. You also have the option of building this one gear up. The engine consists of a full cylinder bank attached to a half bank. The cowling is not well shaped being quite flat in the front, though I suppose you could sand a proper curve into it. One then attaches the prop and installs these to the wing. Next, the weapon of choice is added which is either the 75mm gun or a pair of light bomb racks. Since you only have decals for the box art plane, you'll have to scrounge markings for the other option.
Color information is generic, but the Hs-129 was painted in RLM 70/71/65. The kit option has a yellow fuselage band, lower wing tips and nose. Thanks to my kit being sealed since 1982 when I bought it, the decals are in very good condition and might actually still be viable. You will need to locate swastikas from another source as none are included.
So there you have it. Not the most detailed kit every done, but typical for the time. If you have this one already, then build it. Otherwise, it would probably be best to seek out the Italeri version.
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