1/72 Airmodel Heinkel He-60

Gallery Article by Carmel J Attard on Nov 17 2011


Name: Heinkel He-60
Scale: 1/72
Cost: 11 Euro
Make: Airmodel
Type: A vacform biplane kit, early type of maritime reconnaissance aircraft. There are no decals or resin parts.
Website: www.airmodel.de

The He-60 was a sturdy little plane that was designed to meet the requirement for a shipboard reconnaissance aircraft. The floatplane was designed by Reinhold Mewes of the Heinkel’s works. The He-60 was capable of being catapulted from the large German warships like Admiral Scheer and Leipzig, and its first flight goes back to 1933. It was armed with a one MG17 machine gun that fired forward and a single 7.92 machine gun mounted in the observer’s position at the rear of the pilot compartment. The He-60 was powered by a BMW VI 6.0 2U which was a V-12 water-cooled 660 HP engine. This gave it a speed of 149mph and a range of 513 miles. The He-60C differed slightly in detail improvements from the He-60B and both types served on German battleships and cruisers as well as equipped four coastal recce wings. The type saw action even before the Second World War started. Like many German aircraft of the time it served during the Spanish Civil war when six He-60E were sent to Nationalist Spain.. By the time that the WWII started most of the He-60s have been withdrawn from front line service and were relegated to training duties as the He-60D and only a few remained in service as maritime reconnaissance aircraft with units based in Greece and Crete. A few were supplied to Bulgaria being based at Varna and operating alongside Arado Ar-196, also based there. They were often used on maritime reconnaissance missions loitering over the Black Sea.


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The kit
The kit comes packed in a polytene bag, the first of the type in model form and is a vacform kit molded in white acetate. A comprehensive instruction sheet depicts an exploded view of the kit parts, aircraft history and good color details with side view markings are also suggested and 1/72 scale drawing are provided. No decals are supplied.

Building the kit is tackled into two separate sub assemblies before finally joining all the parts together. These are the twin float complete with all the struts and additional detail; and the main fuselage, adding interior detail, closing the fuselage as well as adding on the wings, struts etc. The instructions depicts several small items which are marked in italic letters that need to be scratch built, in fact there are no less than 24 in total comprising of wing and tail plane struts, float struts, prop shaft and cockpit interior parts. Two windshields had to be produced out of clear acetate. All struts were made from Contrail strips available at Roll Models or Aeroclub. A camera carried over the lower port wing also had to be made from scrap plastic.

The vac form parts were first cut, sanded and prepared for fixing ensuring that they are a good ‘dry’ fit. The cockpit interior was assembled, adding seats, control stick and rudder pedals to cockpit floor. The rear seat for the observer/gunner is merely a round stool that is attached to the starboard side of fuselage interior by a bracket. The fuselage had surface detail re-scribed and engine exhaust outlets refreshed using a 1mm twist drill. The floor assembly was fitted to one half of the fuselage. The fuselage was then closed utilizing added tabs fixed to the inner face, which assisted for self-alignment of the halves. The entire interior was medium gray with seats in drab. An instrument panel, black with white dials, was added. Propeller shaft and prop were to be added at a later stage. Float halves were joined together, and the wing parts and tail planes cemented together. The complete tail plane was then cut in two portions when dry, a slot was cut at the rear to take the tail planes. The tail planes had plastic tongues to locate inside the fuselage slots. Templates made from card were used to align and fit the wings and the floats to the fuselage. It was essential to measure and cut the struts to the required sizes and lengths. In the end float water rudders were added to rear of floats. Other details like the wing-mounted camera, gun mounting at rear of cockpit, crew figure were all added. Aerial tubes added to upper wing and top of tail fin. These were made from a small length of metal wire cut to size and cemented with super glue. Propeller rear was filled with putty, allowed to dry and sanded down to shape. A small hole was drilled to take a spigot at the rear of the hole and the propeller was fixed to the front. Rigging was added at this stage using nylon thread. Wireless was made in same fashion out of nylon thread. Bracing wires to floats were made out of lengths of steel wire.

Color and markings
Heinkel He-60s were initially finished in overall Hellgrau 63 of a semi-gloss sheen. The underside of the floats up to the waterline was Grun 72. Interior was largely RLM Grau 02. I have completed my model of the He-60 in colors carried by Bulgarian Navy during the early part of the war. These were delivered in a batch of either Dunkelgrau 71 or Schwarzgrun 70 for all upper surfaces and the sides with Hellgrau 65 for the undersides. Identification yellow areas applied to rudder, around the lower side of engine and under wing tips. WWII Bulgarian insignias were applied to all six positions. Squadron insignia appears to forward side of engines, which was the same squadron equipped with Ar-196, in fact it was a time when the two types operated alongside each other and possibly the He-60 was at the phasing out stage of its service life. A white triangle marking on the fin carried the name and type tag of the aircraft. The model was finally given a couple overall coats of semi gloss lacquer thereby finishing another enjoyable project.

This was yet another additional type to join my Bulgarian military aircraft section. As one can see it was diverse with so many different types of German origin. 

Carmel J Attard

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Photos and text © by Carmel J Attard