Eye in the Sky

Henschel Hs 126B/K ‘International’

Sabrekits 1/72, Ref. SBK72013

Very nice surprise coming from the Czech Republic and in particular from newcomers Sabrekits, is this brand new Hs 126 kit. I’ve always had a liking in this parasol-winged aircraft ever since I laid eyes and hands on the Matchbox kit a good mmmm.. 45 years ago. And although I’ve resisted from buying again this old kit, or any other 1/72 Hs 126 released ever since. I have however over the years added some good reference relating to this aircraft into my library and I guess it was just a matter of time before I slipped. Not for just a single kit, but for a handful of them since Sabrekits were good enough to issue several boxings of this kit.

So, why did I slip? Well, simply put, this kit looks gorgeous. This is, I must say, a brand new kit, not a reboxing of any of the earlier Hs 126 kits in 1/72, not even the fairly recent Brengun one. It was the kit I had been waiting for!

Each of the five Hs 126 released by Sabrekits is, basically the same plastic with new decals and a different cardboard box. Each kit is made up of 72 parts, two of them in clear plastic. There is no PE set included, but the amount of detail provided is more than adequate, even for this partly open cockpit and large glazed areas. The differences between the variants are minimal and only the first two prototypes, with their in line engines can’t be modelled from this kit. The V3 would require a little work on the main undercarriage, but could be fairly easily done I reckon. The A and B series were mostly different in terms of the power plant, but both were 9-cylinder radials and if the one provided by Sabrekits is a little closer to being a BMW (Hs 126A) engine than a Fafnir (Hs 126B), it should still satisfy most.

The cockpit detailing consists of internal ribbing and framing, two bulkheads (three if counting the one supporting the pilot’s instrument panel), a floor made up of two parts, pilot’ seat and observer’s ‘saddle’ (seatbelts provided as decals), various side panels, control stick, radio boxes and gunsight. The pilot’s instrument panel is, too, offered as a decal.

Sabrekits do offer engine cowlings that appears a bit fiddly (5 parts not counting the engine and prop) but with flaps in open or closed position. Other options include two antenna masts, desert filter and wheel spats, a bomb rack and its explosive extension, and a separate landing light ‘panel’. Speaking of clear parts, the main canopy is commendably thin and masks are available separately from http://www.mhmodels.cz

As mentioned earlier, each boxing has a different decal sheet. The one reviewed here, Henschel Hs 126B/K ‘International’ offers markings for four machines, an Estonian and a Soviet (ex-Estonian) in the rather smart pre-war 3-tone ‘splinter’ scheme over light blue, a Greek Hs 126K and a 450th Sqn. RAAF (captured), in a RAF desert scheme in Libya. The design and printing appears first class, but for the yellow on the British fuselage roundels was a little off-centered. Not a problem for me, since this particular boxing was purchased in order to get the Greek and Estonian markings. The other four boxings, ‘Blitzgrieg’, ‘Eastern Front’, ‘Over Spain’ and ‘Over Africa’ all offer a number of options that should please everyone. All, though, carry the bomb aiming lines that adorn the fuselage sides.

If separate ailerons, a smoke generator, the different types of tail wheels, and the other type of spinner sometimes seen on pictures would have been nice additions to this kit, it is a very nice depiction of the real machine and certainly a very good base for further detailing. I can’t wait to get into it! Well, them. All five of them!

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

http://www.sabrekits.cz

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