Sunday, March 6, 2011

Henschel Hs 129

Hers are some images of AMT's 1/48 scale Henschel Hs 129.
From Wikipedia "
The Henschel Hs 129 was a World War II ground-attack aircraft fielded by the German Luftwaffe. Its nickname, the Panzerknacker (tank cracker), is a deliberate pun—in German, it also means "safe cracker". In combat service the Hs 129 lacked a sufficient chance to prove itself; the aircraft was produced in relatively 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 fuselage sides were angled in forming a triangular shape, 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, as on some models of Messerschmitt's Bf 110 heavy fighter, and the gunsight was mounted outside on the nose.

Henschel's plane came in 12% overweight with the engines 8% underpowered, and it understandably flew poorly. 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. The Fw design proved to be no better. Both planes were underpowered with their Argus As 410 engines, and very difficult to fly.

The RLM nevertheless felt they should continue with the basic concept. The only real deciding factor between the two designs was that the Henschel was smaller and cheaper. The Focke-Wulf was put on low priority as a backup, and testing continued with the Hs 129 A-0. A series of improvements resulted in the Hs 129 A-1 series, armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons and two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns, along with the ability to carry four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs under the fuselage midline.

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