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In-Box Review
Henschel Hs 126B-1 Upgrades
Resin aftermarket sets for ICM's Hs 126B-1
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

ICM's Hs 126B-1 is a very fine kit, with some excellent details throughout. But, inevitably, there's always room for more and Vector have produced a trio of absolutely stunning resin upgrades to take the model to the next level.

Of course, Vector are hardly new to the Henschel Hs 126, having produced their own superb full resin kit of the aircraft a couple of years ago. With the release of a mainstream competitor, it was clear that the future market for that kit would be severely curtailed, so Sergey Kosachev has made an inspired move and adapted the superior details of his own model to fit the ICM kit. In a way, everyone is a winner - the accessories should be guaranteed healthy sales to a wider audience than might have purchased the resin kit, and modellers can incorporate the extra detail into their ICM model.

The three upgrades available are:
VDS48-041 - Cockpit Set
VDS48-042 - Exterior Set
VDS48-043 - Corrected Canopy

VDS48-041 - Cockpit Set
One beauty of the Hs 126 is that any work you put into the cockpit is wide open to view. Vector's upgrade adds a quite phenomenal level of superdetailing. Just 5 of the original ICM parts survive (the pilot's cockpit floor (albeit modified), mounting bulkheads for the instrument panel and rear machine gun, and a pair of ammunition racks) - the rest is all new, with no less than 48 immaculately cast resin parts, plus a fret of etched brass gunsights.

The first task is to prepare the kit fuselage halves by removing all the moulded details in two areas ready for new resin "shells". This modification is clearly shown in a well drawn set of instructions, but it needs a fair amount of care because the surgery must be limited to specific areas, leaving the surrounding details intact. From a modeller's point of view it would have been simpler to replace everything, but that may not have been practical to cast in resin. I've made a start on the modification and it's clear patience be needed to ensure a clean job.

With the groundwork done, the new interior "shells" can be attached, and these are beautifully detailed with fuselage ribs and stringers, small consoles and wiring. From there the cockpit is fitted out with bulkheads, a new seat, complete with excellent moulded-on harnesses, a main instrument panel, detailed side consoles with integral controls and throttle levers, a control column and rudder pedals, radios and camera, a 3-part MG 15, ammunition cases, document and gas-mask cases - the list goes on. In each case, where ICM's original parts are already very good, the resin replacements are even better - remarkably so in cases like the seat - and the finished cockpit should be simply stunning.

VDS48-042 - Exterior Set
Starting up front, the set includes a resin engine which is virtually a kit in its own right. Individual cylinders and exhausts attach to a beautifully detailed crankcase, and this all slips into a fine one-piece cowling. Of course, that will effectively hide all the detail you've just worked on, so there is a temptation to try to thin down the multi-part ICM cowling to open it up for display. The kit's propeller blades are retained, but these now attach to a blunter shaped spinner as introduced during production of the Hs 126B-1.

The control surfaces feature a very realistic subtle taught-fabric effect, and a nice touch is the inclusion of separate control linkages. (Note: no ailerons were included in the early pre-production set that Sergey kindly sent me). Vector also provide new stabilizers. These seem to be lifted straight from their own kit, so the locating tabs are loose for the ICM slots.

New alternative wheels are included in the set. The inside faces of the hubs are much better detailed than ICM's, but the hubs do look a little larger than those visisble in the shots I've consulted of standard Hs 126s. Interestingly though, they appear a very good match for an attractive n/m finished machine in post-war Spanish service.

Finally, Vector provide the prominent optional exterior armour panels for the cockpit sides, something missed by ICM. These are cast beautifully thin and conform to the kit fuselage sides perfectly.

A small single-sides sheet of instructions is included. Again, these are clearly drawn, but they are a bit sparse in that they don't depict the tail surfaces or wheels.

VDS48-043 - Corrected Canopy
The final set provides a corrected canopy. In real life, unlike that of the Hs 126A, the sliding section of the Hs 126B's canopy ran on what I can best describe as exterior "curtain rods". ICM's depiction is very simplified and doesn't really capture the look of the original properly, but Vector offer a complete new canopy and windscreen cast in crystal clear resin, along with new mountings for the rails which you must cut from 0.5mm rod (not supplied). Done carefully, the new canopy will actually operate just like the original. A final touch is a pair of hand-holds to fit inside the windscreen. A small sheet of instructions shows how to modify the kit ready to accept the new parts.

Once again Sergey Kosachev has produced some beautiful resin upgrades. In fact, they are more than just "upgrades", because you could do as I will and use them to convert ICM's slightly hybrid Hs 126A-1 to a standard 'B-1. Whatever your approach, the result should be spectacular. The complexity in some areas - particularly the careful preparation of the interior ready for the resin parts, and the delicacy of the canopy - mean these sets are most suitable for modellers with a reasonable amount of experience. Highly recommended.

Vector kits and accessories are available in the UK from Neomega, but there's no sign of these new Hs 126 sets as yet, so keep your eyes peeled for their release.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Faultlessly cast and superbly detailed.
Lows: Instructions for the exterior set could be more complete.
Verdict: Sergey Kosachev, the master modeller behind Vector sets, has given experienced builders everything they need to produce a stunningly detailed model of the Hs 126B-1 from the ICM kit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Suggested Retail: u/k
  PUBLISHED: Jan 08, 2011

Our Thanks to Vector!
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.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. 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.


Oh, my! I just got the "A" version of the kit for Christmas- Sergey, you wicked lad! I suspect I'll be plunking down my dollars for a set. Cheers! chuk
JAN 08, 2011 - 10:29 AM

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