The Henschel Hs 126 was a German two-seat reconnaissance and observation aircraft of World War II. The pilot was seated in a protected cockpit under the parasol wing and the gunner in an open rear cockpit. The first prototype being not entirely up to Luftwaffe standards, two more development planes were equipped with different engines. Following the third prototype, ten pre-production planes were built in 1937. The Hs 126 entered service in 1938 after operational evaluation with the Legion Kondor contingent to the Spanish Civil War.
By the time the Hs 126A-1 joined the Luftwaffe, the re-equipping of reconnaissance formations was already well advanced, and by the start of World War II in September 1939, Germany already had several good short range observation and long range recon aircraft. However, the Henschel was well received for its good short takeoff and low-speed characteristics which were needed at the time and was used intensively in the first years of the war over many front lines (Poland, Europe, Balkans, North Africa, Russia). Later it was even used in glider tug and night ground attack roles. Production of the Hs 126 ended in 1941 and the type was retired from the front line in 1942 when it was superseded by the general-purpose Fieseler Fi 156 Storch and the medium-range Focke-Wulf Fw 189 "flying eye".
The ICM Henschel Hs126 B-1 kit comes in a sturdy top opening cardboard box and comprises the following items:
- 3 grey plastic sprues protected within a plastic bags.
- 2 wing halves
- 1 transparent plastic sprue.
- 1 decal sheet.
The kit is virtually identical to the previous Hs126 A-1 kit by the same manufacturer. It has already been reviewed on Aeroscale when it was released (see HERE
), so please read the article by Rowan Baylis if you want a more detailed description of the plastic parts. Overall, the kit is quite nice and probably represents one of the best efforts made by ICM yet. The "identity crisis" mentioned in the review about the A variant doesn't affect this release, since we are speaking of the B variant this time.
The only noticeable changes made to the kit's injected sprues are the presence of parts to represent a Bramo 323 Fafnir engine instead of the BMW 132 of the first boxing. Apart from this, the plastic is the same, transparent one included. My only complain about the engines provided in the kits (in both boxings) are the parts C5 and C6 which together hold no less than 32 attachment points for the cowlings (four for each cylinder) while the pictures and drawings in the Mushroom book show a much lighter arrangement of only nine placed so as to form a triangle. Eliminating the unnecessary ones won't represent a too difficult task though.
The level of detail is good, especially in the cockpit area and if you want a little more, Eduard comes to the rescue with a photoetch detail set (49509) and a sheet of masks (EX306). I'm not sure if Vector, which has done an all resin kit of the Hs 126 in the past (see HERE
), will release some of it's parts separately for the ICM one, but to be honest, I think the Ukrainian kit can be built into a nice replica with what is provided already. It is definitely a much better choice than the very crude Fonderie Miniature kit (see review HERE
and build article HERE
). If you have the later, you can throw it away without hesitation!
One last thing! If you look at the fin of the Hs 126 kit made by ICM, you will notice that it is offset. This is not an error but was actually a feature of the real aircraft to counter the torque effect of the radial engine. So don't try to get it straight on your model!
The decals included in the kit give you the choice of three marking options:
1 - Henschel Hs126 B-1, 1.(H)/32, Finland, december 1941.
2 - Henschel Hs126 B-1, 4.(H)/23, Russia, Winter 1942.
3 - Henschel Hs126 B-1, 2.(H)/14, North Africa, 1941/1942.
All the aircraft wear the standard RLM 70/71 over RLM 65 camouflage, only that the upper surfaces have been entirely covered with white on the machine which served over Russia during the winter of 1942 and partially covered with RLM 69 Sandgelb on the machine which served over Africa. This make three very different paint shemes an a real choice for the modeler unless it was the case in the first boxing of the kit.
The decals are typical ICM in that they are mat and very thin with almost no carrier film. They have the bad habit to disintegrate when placed in water so if you want to use them, several coats of varnish or liquid decal film are mandatory. They are very well printed and in perfect register though but I'm not sure that the Edelweiss unit emblem should have a black background. I would say light blue is more likely.
The 8 pages , A4 size, instructions are in facts simple photocopies fastened together. I don't know if I have got an early sample of the kit or if this will be standard for the whole batch but I find that they give an unprofessional look to the kit. They are usable though, even if the painting instructions are not very clear, especially on the desert machine.
ICM's Henschel Hs126 B-1 kit is a very nice kit overall. Way better than the Fonderie Miniature effort and cheaper than the Vector offering (you can buy three ICM kits for the price of one resin kit!). It can be built into a nice replica of the real aircraft with the parts provided in the box. I can highly recommended it but see that you have enough display place on your shelf. Indeed, the Hs126 is not a small aircraft, the wingspan of the model is 30 cm!
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