IXO Models IXJP020 German Henschel Hs 129 Ground Attack Aircraft - 5./Sch.G1, Konstantinovka, Russia, May 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Henschel Hs 129, often referred to by its nickname, the Panzerknacker, (tank cracker), was a World War II ground attack aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe. Although likely to be a good anti-tank weapon, the plane was produced in only small numbers and deployed during a time when the Luftwaffe was unable to protect them from attack.
The Hs 129 was designed around a single large "bathtub" of steel sheeting that made up the entire nose area of the plane, completely enclosing the pilot up to head level. Even the canopy was steel, with only tiny windows on the side to see out of and two angled blocks of glass for the windscreen. In order to improve the armor's ability to stop bullets, the sides were angled in forming a triangular fuselage, resulting in almost no room to move at shoulder level. There was so little room in the cockpit that the instrument panel ended up under the nose below the windscreen where it was almost invisible, some of the engine instruments were moved outside onto the engine nacelles, and the gunsight was mounted outside on the nose.
In the end, the plane came in 12% overweight and the engines 8% underpowered, so it flew like a pig. The controls proved to be almost inoperable as speed increased, and in testing, one plane flew into the ground from a short dive because the stick forces were too high for the pilot to pull out. A competing Focke-Wulf design proved to be no better. Both planes were underpowered with their Argus Ar 410 engines, and very difficult to fly.
The RLM nevertheless felt they should continue with the basic concept. In the end the only real deciding factor was that the Henschel was smaller and cheaper. The Focke-Wulf design was put on low priority as a backup, and testing continued with the Hs-129A-0. A series of improvements resulted in the Hs 129A-1 series, armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20's and two 7.92 mm MG 17's, along with the ability to carry four 50 kg bombs under the fuselage midline. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 7.75 inches
Length: 5.25 inches
Original Issue Price: $24.99
Release Date: June 2006