Since the mankind started to use the airplanes almost at the same moment (what was about 100 years ago) it started to be used as a professional war machine. First only for reconnaissance, mostly unarmed. But the pilots, mostly hot-blooded men, started to carry bigger and bigger machine guns, in case if they meet enemy unarmed reconnaissance in the air. This way recce planes specialised to fighters. Fighter pilots, when got bored in the air flying there-and-back again, having no enemy in sight gone down and started straffing trenches or supply columns. This way the fighter, equipped with better armour and bigger bomb load, evolved to ground-attack airplane.
In 1933 Germany have announced Sofort-Programm (imimediate program) to introduce a new type of dive bomber. Two competitors were Fiesler Fi 98 and Henschel Hs 123. What is not difficult to guess the winner was the Henschel plane.
The book content can be divided into few separate parts. First part focuses on the Hs 123 origins, starting from the early days of ground attack planes, foundation of Henschel Flugzeug Werke AG and the competition for the He 50 successor. Next section describes all prototypes and production versions of the biplane, especially the introduced changes and modification in comparison with other variants. Next we go to the operational service from pre-war times, including service in Legion Condor , to the 1944 and campaign in Russia. The most detailed description of frontline service we will find in the Polish Campaign, slightly less in the operation in the West (against Benelux countries and France). Chapter includes also foreign service of Hs 123 in China and Francoist Spain till early 1950'. The text part end with technical description of the airframe, types of equipment, gunsights, bomb carriers, changes of the wings skin or camouflage instructions etc.
Next section of the publication is definitely more for watching than reading as these are scale plans. We are given sixteen sheets/pages of 1:72 and 1:48 scales plans and sections supported with the drawings (unfortunately without scale) of particular parts reproduced from the original plane manual. Drawings in the 1:32 scale are printed on the separate foldout A2 sheet, printed on both sides – size of the plane are simply too big to be printed inside the book. Aside main production versions of Hs 123 we are given scale plans of prototype machines from V1 to V6 and camouflage painting scheme shown of 1:72 scale drawings. The last sheet shows most significant changes of the airframe between production versions, from A-0, through A-1 early and late to B-1.
The last “part” of the monograph are nine colour profiles of German, Spanish and Chinese Henschels. The most unusual machine is shown on port and starboard profiles. This machine is A-1 of Lt.Siegfried Hamann of 3./SFGr.50 in summer 1938. The ground crew have dacorated the plane with a lot of occasional hand drawings, inscriptions and stripes.
I was very pleased after reading this book. It took me just one evening, without haste and carefully watching the photographs and drawings. The publication definitely is comprehensive – improves the general historical knowledge of the reader and gives a good references for modelers. What I really like in Kagero publications are pictures. This time I also wasn't discontented. We are given 99 photographs. Most of them shows interesting features of particular machines. There are also some interesting shots of Hs 123 formations in flight taken from the ground but also from the pilot cockpit.
Scale drawings are nice and clean and shows plane from different views. I have strange feeling that the rivet lines on the wings on 1:48 scale drawings are less visible than those in the 1:72 or 1:32 scales.
To sum-up quickly, as an average modeller, I'm pleased to have this book in my references. If you are not a fanatic you can easily use it as a support for some scratchbuilding or improving the existing kits (like for example re-scribing old Airfix 1:72 kit).
Highs: Comprehensive, good quality of paper and reproduced photographs.Lows: None important, some spelling issues.Verdict: Recommended.
Our Thanks to Kagero Publishing! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.