Inter-war Light Aircraft
Henschel Hs125 – British Aircraft Swallow II – Potez 580
The period of the 1920s and 1930s was a fertile period in the development of all branches of aviation, perhaps most in light civil aircraft where the relatively low development costs meant many ideas could be tried and low production runs were normal and expected. This meant that small and emerging companies could establish a foothold in the aircraft manufacturing business with light aircraft. Most of the light civil aircraft developed during this period have now been lost and forgotten, but looking at three this week will help remind us of the innovations taking place in the industry during this period.
Henschel Hs125 in 1/72 by Dujin
This aircraft was designed for a competition to select a training aircraft for the German Luftwaffe, The first one flew in 1933 but the Focke Wulf Fw56 was selected instead and only two Hs125s were made. Later both these aircraft were converted into sports aircraft.
British Aircraft Swallow II in 1/72 by Dujin
The British Aircraft Swallow was a licence built version of the Klemm L.25 light aircraft. Several of the German aircraft had been imported into Britain and been popular so a company was established there to build them locally. The Swallow II was a slightly improved version of the original aircraft. The first one flew in 1933 and 135 were manufactured for British aero clubs and private pilots. During World War 2 a number were converted by removing their engines and they were used to train gliders pilots for Britain’s assault glider force.
This aircraft was an improved version of the earlier Potez 43 series of aircraft with basically a similar fuselage but more powerful engines. The Potez 580 was the first of the Potez 58 series and first flew in September 1934. It was a utility and touring aircraft capable of carrying three passengers. Several other versions were manufactured, differing mainly in being powered by different engine types, the most popular was the Potez 585 with a slightly more powerful engine. In all about 202 of this series were manufactured between 1934 and 1938.
Usually I write about the kits from which the models of each of these aircraft was made individually but, in this case, they were all made by Jean-Pierre Dujin and may now be impossible of very difficult to find. Since his death in 2010 some have been reproduced by FGMmaster Dujin and FSC Dujin but these three models are not among those listed on their websites.
There is/was a LF Models model of the Hs125 but it might be as difficult to find as the Dujin kit. There are several kits of the Klemm L.25 which might be converted into the British Aircraft Swallow, and the Swallow II with a bit more work. I have the Huma kit and think it looks very nice. The Dujin kit of the Potez 580 appears to be the only option for that aircraft.
The original Dujin kits were hand made resin, probably in small numbers. They are relatively simple but well made resin kits which fall far short of the exacting expectations of current day modellers. However, with some care, ingenuity and patience good replicas of some very interesting aircraft from the inter-war and immediate post war can be made, often aircraft that have been forgotten in the mists of time. There is a short tribute to Dujin on the International Resin Modellers website and an extensive photo gallery of his models Scale Model Aircraft. There is also a Facebook page dedicated to models made from Dujin kits which shows what fine models can be made from these kits.