Italeri 1/48 Hs 123
Soon after Hitler's rise to power, Henschel started designing aircraft. One of the first was the Hs 123, aimed to meet the 1933 dive bomber requirements for the reborn Luftwaffe. The prototype performed its maiden flight on 1 April 1935. It featured a wide, "smooth" engine cowling, with all subsequent Hs 123 wearing the distinctive tightly fitting cowling that included 18 fairings covering the engine valves.
Its biplane wings were of a "sesquiplane" configuration, whereby the lower wings were significantly smaller than the top wings.
Since it was intended to replace the Heinkel He 50 reconnaissance and dive bomber biplane, as well as to act as a "stop-gap" measure until the Junkers Ju 87 became available, its production was limited and, apart from the improved Hs 123B, no upgrades were considered.
In service on the Eastern Front, it gradually underwent field modifications, including removal of the main wheel spats, fitting of additional armor and extra equipment, as well as mounting extra machine guns and even cannons in under-wing housings.
As the already small number of operational planes dwindled, aircraft had been salvaged from training schools and even derelict dumps all over Germany to replace losses.
The greatest tribute to the type’s usefulness came in January 1943 when Generaloberst Wolfram von Richthofen, then commander-in-chief of Luftflotte 4, asked whether production of the Hs 123 could be restarted, since it performed well in a theater where mud, snow, rain and ice took a heavy toll on the serviceability of more advanced aircraft.
Seeing service during a period where exact role of army supporting aircraft was still formulated, the Hs 123 was perhaps the first dedicated attack aircraft design intended to fulfill the close air support role in the niche between the tactical bomber and the dive bomber.
Sadly, no Hs 123s are known to have survived.
This is the Italeri reissue of the classic Esci mold, a good but at places basic kit. It was combo-dream-built together with my good friend @johnb, who made a magnificent job with his.
Should you wish to read my model's full build review, you might do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness: