The Henschel Hs-129 is one of those little known aircraft outside the circles of Luftwaffe/WW2 historians and gamers. I didn’t know this type existed until a model of it was released in War Thunder. Work on this slow, well armed and armored aircraft started in 1939 after lessons learned in the Spanish Civil War. The Luftwaffe realized that an ground-attack aircraft armed with cannons could be very effective.
In the course of the war this type saw several upgrades, from B-0 standard to B-3. The B-3 with its 75 mm cannon had the largest forward mounted gun in an aircraft until the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The version depicted in this kit is the earlier B-2 variant with a 30 mm autocannon.
The kit comes in a nicely printed Side Opening Box, and features the three color schemes on the back of the box as well as some ‘Super Detailing’ options by Italeri. With engine performance already hampered by the rather heavy guns I doubt the pilots wanted a load of bombs strapped to their Duck as well. And as far as I know the Hs 129 only could carry four 50 kg bombs anyway.
In the box we find a nice set of sprues in the typical Italeri soft, light-grey plastic. All the parts seem to be relatively flash free. Detail is crisp, but rather basic. The cockpit is just a seat and an instrument panel with no details in the fuselage at all. It’s not a really big problem as you can’t see the cockpit anyway, but I always love a nicely detailed cockpit, even if you can’t see it after closing the fuselage.
On the exterior the details are nice, nicely defined panellines that don’t look like trenches straight out of WW1. The kit even comes with a few bombs molded in the usual way: two-parts. The main 30 mm gun that sits in the gondola underneath is however molded as one part. Nice! Other parts are just as nice: the landing gear looks sturdy and well molded and shouldn’t offer too much problems. One minor point are the engines; they lack a bit of detail. But this leaves some room for scratchbuilding.
Decals and color schemes
This aircraft is often referred to as the ‘Duck’ because of its distinctive nose as depicted on the box-art. It comes in four options:
- Luftwaffe: SG 1, Chernovtsy, Soviet-Union, 1943, Winter Camo
- Luftwaffe: SG 1, Castel Benito, Libya, 1942
- Luftwaffe: SG 1, Soviet-Union, 1943
- Royal Romanian Air Force, 41 Assault Group Genichesk, Soviet-Union, 1943
So there are quite a lot of options ranging from Winter camo to desert camo. Still the decal sheet is rather small compared to the number of options you have. That’s because there are only two units: SchlachtGeschwader 1 and the Romanian 41 Assault Group. Speaking of decals, the sheet is nicely printed (most likely by Cartograf) and fully in register. No complaints here.
The clear parts are larger than expected; the Hs 129 only had tiny armored windows to protect the pilot from Anti-Air fire. The canopy is really nicely molded with no visible defects and it looks like it will be a good fit. Roughly 70% of the canopy needs to be painted so masking it won’t be much of a problem. The parts of the canopy that are to be painted do however have some strange texture. But it’s so small it probably won’t show after a nice coat of primer.
A nice little kit of a rather obscure aircraft, it’s probably one of the best kits of this aircraft around. I’m just hoping Italeri will release the B-3 variant some day so I dont have to hunt for an aftermarket 75 mm cannon. This kit looks like it’s fairly easy to build but with some challenging paint schemes.
Vehicle: Hs-129 B-2
Price: € 10,00