Henschel Tank Buster

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The Henschel Hs 129 was a twin engine ground-attack aircraft used by the German Luftwaffe during WW2. It was also know as "tank buster" for its powerful counterattacks against the advancing Soviet tanks. Around 1937, the German Ministry of Aviation issued a specification for a heavily-armed small twin engine fighter with increased armor. The manufacturers Hamburger Flugzeugbau, Focke-Wulf, Gotha, and Henschel were contenders. They each completed there prototype aircraft frames around 1939. While the Focke-Wulf prototype "FW 189 C" simply added armor to the existing and well-renowned reconnaissance aircraft Fw 189, the Henschel "Hs 129" was a completely new design engineered specifically for the commission. While both used the same engine, the Fw 189C did not stand a chance in comparison to the Hs 129 which was specifically designed to have additional armor and to be heavily armed. The HS 129 was selected for production and the first HS 129 A-0 aircraft were produced in autumn of 1940. However, the A-0 production was halted at only 12 aircraft due to issues including insufficient power.

The original engines powering the Hs 129 were air-cooled inverted-V type Argus As 410 engines with a take off power of 459 hp. However they were simply insufficient to power a 5 ton aircraft, even with two engines. World War II had already begun and the top priority for high powered engines was for fighters and bombers. However once the production in occupied France of the Gnome-Rhone 14M 14-cylinder two-row air cooled radial engine became a possibility, it was quickly decided that the Hs 129 B was powered by those engines instead. The 14M engine had a takeoff power of 700hp, which was still insufficient, but despite its compact size (950 mm, and 400kg) its performance was a remarkable improvement over the As 410 A engine.

The standard armament consisted of two 20 mm MG 151 machine guns inside of the fuselage and two 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns mounted in the wing roots on both sides. The underside of the fuselage could be equipped with various types of explosives or heavy caliber weapons such as the 30mm MK 101 cannon, 30 mm MK 103 cannon, and 75 mm BK 7,5 anti tank cannon. At 9.75 m long, the Hs 129 was one meter shorter than the Ta 152H and had a slightly smaller wingspan of 14.2m. This compact size made it difficult to target from the ground. The Hs 129 B and later versions in particular had a trapezoidal fuselage with straight wings making it a fine example of simplistic sturdy design. With its closely situated engine nacelles and cowlings, one can truly appreciate its functional beauty as a small twin engine aircraft.

The Hs 129 had a relatively large wing area for a small aircraft,enabling it to have acceptable performance despite insufficient engine power. It gained its trusted reputation from its focus on ground attacks , and ease of maintenance and use. The trapezoidal cockpit was extremely cramped and encased with an armor "bathtub" to protect the pilot from anti-aircraft gunning from the ground. The windscreen was crafted from multilayer 72 mm thick bullet proof glass. The instrument panel was reduced to only the most vital elements and the gun sight was mounted externally on the nose. Some of the instruments were mounted to the inboard faces of the engine nacelles.

This kit enables the replication of the Hs 129 B-2/RIII version equipped with a 30mm MK 101 machine gun cannon fed by its 30-round drum magazine above. With these abundant weapons and the functional beauty of a small twin-engine aircraft, this kit aims to challenge the very boundaries of how far a scale model can go to "miniature model of the actual aircraft". From the standard armament and instrument panel to the mounted weapons, find the true essence of the "Tank Buster" with the minute differences that only can be seen in the thorough replication from SWS kits.

About the Author

About Joe Cooke (VladHVAC)

Joe Cooke A disgruntled Canadian from Ottawa


Joe, Fantastic work! I hope my Z-M Ki-45 looks a fraction as good. I looked at this model at the IPMS NatCon and it has an incredible level of detail. Thanks for showing us what it can build into.
FEB 02, 2020 - 05:29 AM
you've done a fabulous job on that kit and although it's a bit to big a scale for my taste when it comes to aviation.
FEB 02, 2020 - 03:37 PM
Hi Joe.Congratulations for this amazing construction and also for your great presentation!Christos
FEB 06, 2020 - 07:09 AM
Beautiful build! Thanks for sharing
FEB 08, 2020 - 06:32 AM