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1/48 Henschel Hs 123B-1

James H

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1/48 Henschel Hs 123B-1
Gaspatch Models

Catalogue # 48096
Available from Gaspatch Models for €45,00






The Henschel Hs 123 was a single-seat biplane dive bomber and close-support attack aircraft flown by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War and the early to midpoint of World War II. It proved to be robust, durable and effective especially in severe conditions. It continued to see front-line service until 1944, only to be withdrawn due to a lack of serviceable airframes and spare parts. Henschel was a German locomotive manufacturer. Soon after Hitler's rise to power, Henschel decided to start designing aircraft, one of the first being the Hs 123. The aircraft was designed to meet the 1933 dive bomber requirements for the reborn Luftwaffe. Both Henschel and rival Fieseler (with the Fi 98) competed for the production contract requirement, which specified a single-seat biplane dive bomber. The first prototype Hs 123, the Hs 123V1 was cleared for its maiden flight on 1 April 1935, and General Ernst Udet, a World War I ace, flew the first prototype on its first public demonstration flight on 8 May 1935. The Hs 123 was intended to replace the Heinkel He 50 biplane reconnaissance and dive bomber as well as acting as a "stop-gap" measure until the Junkers Ju 87 became available. As such, production was limited and no upgrades were considered, although an improved version, the Hs 123B was developed by Henschel in 1938. A proposal to fit the aircraft with a more powerful 716 kW (960 hp) "K"-variant of its BMW 132 engine did not proceed beyond the prototype stage.



The Henschel Hs 123 saw service in the Spanish Civil War, as part of the Condor Legion, and despite being generally superseded by types such as the Ju 87, the Hs 123 limped on into the invasion of Poland, followed by the advance of the Low Countries, although operational numbers were by now quite low. Despite this, the Hs 123 took part in operations over the Eastern Front, and served with distinction. The year was 1944, and when the advantages of the type over other front line aircraft was pointed out, a suggestion to restart production was made. It was too late, as all tooling was dismantled in 1940, and by now, even the successor to the Hs 123, the Stuka, was pretty much long in the tooth. The Hs 123 was operated by Germany, China, and Spain, with the latter finally retiring the type in 1953.


The kit




This kit has been in gestation period for quite a while now, with Gaspatch’s stall at Telford Scale Model World advertising the forthcoming kit in 2015. Getting the information together to produce an accurate kit of the Hs 123 was not an easy task, as this isn’t a well-documented aircraft in terms of drawings, and the existing ones are inaccurate for various reasons. Nonetheless, Gaspatch has produced what they claim to be a precise model of this important aircraft, with a caveat relating to small differences between batches and manufacturer. The kit itself comes in a very attractive and extremely robust, single-piece corrugated box, with a beautiful satin finish. The box lid has lid tabs to lock it into the main body. The kit I have here is the B-1 variant, suffixed ‘Adolf Galland’ on the lid. Gaspatch also released the A-0 kit at the same time. The Galland scheme is actually one of FIVE schemes available in this B-1 kit. A history of the type is printed on the reverse of the box, leaving the manual solely for construction and painting detail.












Inside the box, there are a total of SIX individually wrapped dark grey styrene sprues, and a single, small clear sprue. These are accompanied by a small photo-etch fret, a tiny vinyl masking sheet, cardboard jig, and a single Cartograf-printed decal sheet. Lastly, a very attractive A5 manual is included, printed in full colour, adorned with a copy of the box artwork on the front page. Gaspatch sent us the B-1 version of this kit, but have just released two versions of it, with the other being the earlier A-1 variant with a metal and fabric upper wing as opposed to the all-metal wing of the B-1. All other sprues are the same, but as the different wing sprues have different nomenclature with A-1 wing sprue being Sprue A, our review of this particular release starts at Sprue B. Apart from the wing and decal sheet, of course, everything else in the two kits is identical.












This is a release that I feel needs me to abandon the usual sprue by sprue blow of events, in favour of looking at the detail and what is offered in terms of options etc. This is what will really sell these particular releases. If you ever got the opportunity to see the first injection moulded Gaspatch kit, the Salmson, then you were in for a foretaste of what you’d see with these new releases.










Construction typically starts with the cockpit, and the level of detail here sets the pace for the rest of kit. Whilst this mostly a plastic affair, numerous photo-etch parts complete the scene, such as throttle quadrant linkages, levers, seatbelts, rudder pedal straps and respirator container. Next to Eduard’s beautiful Bf 109G series, this possibly has one of the nicest cockpits I’ve seen in 1/48. Remember, I’m a large scale builder normally, so 1/48 usually has to be pretty good to enthuse me, and this does. The two part instrument panel really is superbly detailed, as is the port side console with its various equipment details. Instrument gauge faces are moulded blank, to facilitate the decals that are supplied for this. Panel detail is of course supplemented by some fine internal fuselage wall mouldings, forward instrument panel bulkhead, pilot seat bulkhead, separate floor section for the rudder pedal assemblies (the cockpit itself doesn’t have a main floor as the bottom of the fuse forms this). Again, the various internal details are excellent, with the control stick fitted with its linkage, and tank on the forward bulkhead, finely detailed seat with multipart mounting brackets, oxygen tank and regulator etc. There is also a parcel shelf to the rear of the pilot, with the fuselage being supplied with a separate door for access to this area, creating some nice display possibilities. Also moulded separately to the main fuselage halves are the upper cowl and the section to the front of the cockpit. This is quite a neat design as the upper instrument panel is fitted directly to this before assembly to the airframe, avoiding having this part sandwiched in between the fuse halves, and the aggravation that could cause. Note that the headrest and fuselage fairing are separate. This is due to the A-1 version having marking options where this isn’t fitted. All schemes in this release will use those parts. Cockpit doors on both sides are separate parts, and can of course be posed either open or closed.


















The upper wing is composed of two, full span parts, along with separate ailerons. Detail as per the fuselage, is extremely fine, with excellent panel line detail etc. The lower wings have fabric details too, which I personally think has been beautifully rendered. This fabric and rib detail of course carries over onto the elevators, and rudder. The latter is fitted with a separate trim tab that can be posed, although you will need to alter the photo-etch linkage if you decide to fit it any way other than in line. As this model can be built with or without the undercarriage spats, Gaspatch saw fit to provide two lower wing options to suit. Holes are cut into the upper and lower wings so that the stout main struts can plug straight into them. There’s certainly nothing flimsy about this part of construction. Of course, as this was a dive bomber too, it was fitted with dive brakes. These are separately moulded and can be posed either up or down. They also have the visual indicator tab which sticks up through the upper wing skin when the brakes are deployed. Another very nice touch.
















As previously mentioned, the undercarriage can be built with or without spats, and the construction for both is very different. Thankfully, Gaspatch haven’t tried to create a set of struts that can be hidden in the spats. Both use entirely different components to illustrate these options. You can use full spats or just use the upper spat part, or build without any spats at all. Wheels are also supplied weighted too, so no need to fix that yourself. Two different types of wheel are included. To help you with the addition of the undercarriage to the lower wing, a laser-cut cardboard jig is included. I don’t know how necessary this is, but its addition certainly can’t do any harm to proceedings.






















The BMW 132Dc engine comprises of around a dozen parts, not including the exhaust arrangement, which adds another six parts to the assembly. Engine detail is very fine, with nicely represented cooling fins and central hub. The induction piping is a separate piece. This engine is to be shrouded by the characteristic cowl with its cylinder head bulges. Gaspatch have done a beautiful job of the moulding here, but the cowl comes in NINE parts! I’m confident that it will fit perfectly, having seen test shot builds online, but it could be a little fiddly.




Munitions are supplied of course, and these include bombs for the undersides of the lower wings, and a fuel tank which sits centrally under the fuselage. The bombs may be left off the model and the mounting racks fitted separately.








Clear parts are supplied for the windscreen and wingtip lights. A vinyl mask set is included which has parts for both the inside and outside of the windscreen. It’s not often you see that in a kit. Moulding quality here, and across the rest of the kit, is exceptional and flaw-free. Ejection pin marks won’t hinder you either as they’ve been placed with some thought.


Photo Etch

There are over forty PE parts on the single brass fret that comes with this kit. As well as the cockpit parts (levers, linkages, respirator case, rudder pedal straps, seatbelts), there are also included the trim tab links, lifting point strengthening rings, gun sight reticule and point, external fuel tank valve etc. Production quality is excellent, with small, thin tabs holding the parts in place.






A single decal sheet is included, printed by Cartograf. This includes the markings for all FIVE of the supplied schemes, and also includes swastikas, albeit as halves. Stencil and instrument decals are also to be found here. Printing is first class, being nice and thin and with solid and authentic colour. Carrier film is minimal and everything is in perfect register.








The schemes included are:


  • 10(Sch)/LG2, Balkans, April 1941, Operation Marita
  • 10(Sch)/LG2, Balkans, April 1941, Operation Barbarossa
  • Blue 4 of Erg.St/LG2, Russia, Winter 1941-42, Operation Barbarossa
  • 4 (Sch)/LG2, flown by Adolf Galland, Septamber 1939, Poland
  • 7 (Sch)/G1, Eastern Front, August 1942













These are among some of the best that I’ve seen, being printed in full colour, with specific inks denoting PE and new part application etc. Printed in an A5 format, with a satin finish, construction is shown over 19 building stages, including rigging, and includes images of the painted interior to show you how to finish the various assemblies. No manufacturer codes are given, with a simple RLM chart supplied instead. The last pages show the various schemes and their decal placement etc.








What a great little kit! I think I’ve been waiting to see this since 2014, and the wait has been well and truly worth it. Along with Eduard, the Gaspatch releases are really setting new standards for 1/48 scale modelling, with details that wouldn’t be amiss in a model of a larger scale. There are some great options here too, including the spats, and the schemes are varied. The price is also very attractive too, with this being around 35E or cheaper. I’m so glad that it was Gaspatch who decided to release this one, as it’s perhaps one of the most iconic Luftwaffe types that operated in the early stages of the war, and these guys have done it proud!


Highly recommended.


My thanks to Gaspatch Models for the sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.






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