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Book Review

Henschel Hs 126 Book Review

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review August 2008 Title Henschel Hs 126
Author Robert Panek & Robert Peczkowski Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2008 ISBN 978-83-89450-40-1
Format 208 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £17.99


Mushroom Model Publications is based in the UK. Their books are printed in Poland, in the English language, by Stratus.

This book is in their usual format of soft-cover in 9” x 6 ½” format. However, this new book has more pages in it than usual, at 208 of them and the cover announces that it has EXTRA CONTENT.

This latest book from Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) describes the design, development and operational use of the Hs 126, the principal German Army co-operation aircraft of the Luftwaffe in the early years of WWII. A classic high-wing monoplane, designed for short take-off and landing and good visibility for the observer, it was the German equivalent of the RAF’s “Lysander”. It faired equally badly when faced with enemy opposition!

The Henschel Hs 126 remained in front-line service rather longer than the Lysander, as the Luftwaffe could establish air superiority on some fronts, but was rapidly replaced by faster and more potent aircraft as these became available. In second-line service, the Hs 126 was used as a trainer and tow plane, but late in the war it found a new operational niche as a short-range night bomber on the Eastern Front.

The Hs 126 was used by several air arms: In Spain – 6 were used by the Legion Condor and after the Civil War 5 were sold to Spain, Lithuania – got one when Polish anti-aircraft fire damaged it and it landed in Lithuania and was interned, the USSR captured 5, Sweden got 5 when they landed there and were interned, Greece ordered 16 in 1939, Estonia bought 6 and Australia got one captured one.

All versions of the Hs 126 are described and illustrated. There are 268 black and white wartime photos, one color photo on the cover, 45 color profiles and 15 black and white line drawings in 1/72nd scale

Aircraft illustrated in the profiles are:

  • Hs 126V-2 (illustrated twice. Once with an in-line engine and once with a radial)
  • Hs 126V-3
  • Hs 126A-0 (illustrated four times)
  • Hs 126A-1 (illustrated four times)
  • Hs 126B-1 (illustrated 29 times. Four times in winter white wash and once on skis. Once illustrated with a tow hook and once with skis)

All the above in Luftwaffe markings.

  • Hs 126B-1 in Estonian markings
  • Hs 126B-1 in captured USSR markings
  • Hs 126K-1 in captured British markings
  • Hs 126K-1 in Greek marking
  • Hs 126B-1 in Latvian markings
  • Hs 126B-1 in captured British markings
  • Hs 126B-1 (illustrated twice in Legion Condor markings)

Twelve of these color illustrations are 2-views, showing the aircrafts in profile and under the wings. Another 5 are 2-views showing the aircrafts in profile and above the wings. Two more are 3-views showing the aircrafts in profile and above and below the wings. One illustration is a 4-view that shows the aircraft in winter-white wash from both sides, top and bottom.

There are 15 color photos of engines out of Hs 126’s in the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow. One is the BMW 032 used in the first series Hs 126A and the other is the Bramo engine.

An additional 17 color photos of the walk-around type are from the Aviation Museum in Berlin. These show a small section of the Hs 126’s fuselage, a wheel and landing gear leg and the tail unit that is stored there, but not yet restored at all.

There are no less than 79 illustrations out of a Hs 126 tech manual.

The Henschel Hs 126 is offered as kits by Matchbox (kit no. MBX26 - $17.05) and Revell of Germany (Kit no. REV04398 - $15.50) both in 1/72nd scale and available at Great Models.. There is a 1/48th scale resin kit by Hand-Made Limited Kits brand (kit no. MPHML003 - $87.45) also at Great Models. Squadron brand makes a vacuformed canopy for the Hs 126 in 1/72nd scale (set no. SQT9127 - $2.65) at Great Models.

This book will be a valuable reference to do any one of these kits or great reading for the arm chair aircraft historian. Highly recommended.

I want to thank Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) and Casemate for this review sample.