by: Bryan Dewberry [ ]
This is an inbox review of the new AMtech 1/48 HS-123A-1. Building on the old ESCI kit, AMtech has added a newly tooled sprue of unspatted landing gear and a great looking cockpit by Black Box. Add the new decals, also produced by AMtech, and you've got a nice looking kit.
The first dive bomber of the Luftwaffe, the Hs-123 was also the last biplane to serve in the German Air Force. Following a series of early structural problems, the first production series, known as the Hs-123A-1 was born and sported a powerful BMW 132 radial engine.The aircraft was quickly put to the test in December of 1936 when five HS-123s were sent to Spain as part of the Condor Legion. Missions for the HS-123 began in 1937 and it quickly proved itself in the ground attack role vice the dive bomber role for which it was built.With the appearance of the Ju-87 Stuka, the HS-123s active career began to draw to a close. Production of the HS-123 ended in 1938. At the outbreak of WWII, all HS-123s were used as training or secondary role aircraft and only one unit remained in front-line action. On September 1, 1939 these planes carried out the first ground attack of WWII in Poland. Although sparingly used, the HS-123 saw action up to the summer of 1944.
This 1/48 scale kit is actually the ESCI kit but with some dramatic improvements. The box contents are comprised of three sprues of parts molded in light gray (the original ESCI mold), a small dark gray sprue of unspatted landing gear struts (new tooling from AMtech), a 17-piece resin cockpit by Black Box and a nicely done decal sheet with options for four different aircraft. The contents come in an attractive blue box with some great artwork by Jerry Boucher of the HS-123A-1 on the top and photographs of the finished kit on the side. The ten page instruction booklet is black and white in color and printed in English. The instructions are stapled together which makes it easy to keep the instructions together-something I like. A brief history of the HS-123A-1 is located on the front page of the instructions.
Sprues and Cockpit
The three large sprues of parts are the the old Esci sprues I mentioned earlier. For the most part they are in good shape and provide something good to work with. The fabric on the wings and control surfaces is nicely represented and detail throughout the sprues is a mixture of raised and engraved. Control surfaces are molded inplace but could be easily moved by the aspiring modeler. Molding of the parts is good for the most part. In a few spots you can see where the molds are beginning to see some wear but nothing significant as to impact the assembly and finish of the model. A dryfit of the fuselage halves and lower wing revealed no fit problems.AMtech has included a new sprue containing unspatted landing gear. Though small, this sprue is lightyears ahead of the others. The molding is very sharp and contains good detail. A great addition to this kit not only because of the quality of the sprue but it enables you to model the HS-123 in a different configuration rather than the standard spatted landing gear.If there is a highlite to this kit, the resin cockpit is it. Comprised of 17 pieces, the Black Box interior is designed to replace everything in the original kit. The level of detail and crispness of the mold is something that has to be seen. The molding of the seatbelts in the new seat are so realistic, it's hard to believe it's resin. The instruction booklet has detailed directions for installation of the resin cockpit that includes required kit modifications and cleanup of the resin parts before installation. Directions for the resin isn't a simple loose paper stuffed in the booklet either, but rather they have been included as a permanent part of the instruction booklet. There are some great photos of the unpainted and painted cockpit assembly to help the modeler with assembly of the cockpit. Detailed painting instructions for the cockpit are also included.
AMtech has done a great job bringing this rare subject to the modeler. The addition of the unspatted strut sprue and Black Box interior make this a great little kit. A modeler looking for a subject off the beaten path will find the AMtech HS-123A-1 a good kit for the money. I can't wait to start this kit and see the results.Thanks to AMtech for providing this review sample.
To see my full-build review, click on the following link:
AMtech Hs-123A-1 Full Build Review
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Copyright ©2021 text by Bryan Dewberry [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.