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Focke-Achgelis Fa 223

Special Hobby, 1/48

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: SH48020 - Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 Drache
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 84 pieces in gray styrene; 8 clear parts; 4 resin pieces; 33 pre-colored photo etched pieces and 31 regular photo etched pieces
Price: USD$42.96 available online from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook - In Box
Advantages: Well moulded; nice surface texture; high level of detail inside and out; good quality clear parts with well defined frames;
Disadvantages: Packaging style resulted in some damage to clear parts in transit;
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Matt Swan

Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Fa 223 
is available online from Squadron 




Designed for the Deutsche Lufthansa as a six seat passenger aircraft, this odd looking bird first flew in August 1940.

With the war already in progress it was decided to utilize it in a military format. It was planned to use it for rescue operations, antisubmarine patrols, reconnaissance and cargo transportation. Powered by one 1,000-horsepower radial piston engine it could reach a maximum speed of 109 miles per hour, could carry two 250kg bombs, was equipped with a rescue cradle and winch, and had a reconnaissance camera and a jettisonable 300 liter auxiliary fuel tank.

Initially 30 pre-production aircraft were ordered but only ten were completed before the factory was destroyed by Allied bombs. A new plant was constructed near Stuttgart where seven more aircraft were manufactured. In early 1942 the type was finally considered ready for operational testing and trials began. Encouraged by early results where the aircraft assisted ground troops an additional 100 aircraft were quickly ordered but once again, Allied bombs cut this production run short after only eight had been assembled and six of these were destroyed in the raid. Yet another factory is put up, this time in Berlin with a projected production capacity of 400 aircraft per month but only a single unit was produced before the war ended.

In the end only ten or eleven aircraft ever made it to operational status but these established several notable records like being the world’s first helicopter to achieve production status and to be the first helicopter to fly across the English Channel. However, when the war ended the story of the Fa 223 did not, development was continued in France as the SA 3000 and in Czechoslovakia units were assembled from salvaged parts as the VR-1.




For such a historically noteworthy aircraft I find it somewhat amazing that until now, it had never been produced in 1/48 scale injection. The model arrives is a compact lift top box with four sprues of light gray, slightly soft plastic parts and a single sprue of clear parts all packaged in a single poly bag. This style of packaging caused the main canopy piece to be broken off the sprue creating a small fracture dead center in the front pane and several small abrasions were found on the top of the canopy. The clear parts do show excellent clarity and well defined raised frame lines. They also fit well to the fuselage piece.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The kit also includes some really nice photo etched pieces, two frets with one of them being precolored. The colored set covers the instrument panels, instrument details and seat belts while the second set covers additional interior and exterior details. Instrument panels are also provided as pure resin parts. You could dispose of the PE panels and paint the raised faces on the resin part or sand the face down, attach the PE pieces and obtain a little better depth to the parts.

The little bag of resin details also includes rotor heads and transmission boxes that display a good level of detail and standard pour stubs.

Returning to the gray plastic pieces the surface of all parts is nicely smooth with not sink marks and there does not appear to be any flash on the parts sprues. Inside the fuselage forward section there are several small injector pin marks that will have to be removed. Interior detail looks to be outstanding on this kit with lots of fine tubular structure and instrument detail. With the large clear greenhouse this is a definite plus for the kit.

Exterior fabric detail for the aft section looks good and we gets lots of finely cast tubular structures to support the rotor housings. I think one of the challenges to this kit will be removing all these pieces from the sprue without causing damage, followed by lining them all up properly. Some supporting cable structure will have to be scratch built from fine wire, stretched sprue or invisible thread but placement for all this is shown in the instructions. All the large kit pieces fit together well during test fitting (no alignment pins on this kit) but it does look like attaching the forward fuselage section to the aft section could be a little tricky, if fact, it looks like there could be quite a bit of tricky assembly to this kit.

Parts inventory gives us eighty four pieces in gray polystyrene, eight clear parts, four resin pieces, thirty three pre-colored photo etched pieces and thirty one regular photo etched pieces for a grand total of one hundred sixty pieces in the box.

Decals and Instructions

Instructions come as a nice little booklet of fourteen pages beginning with a good historical back ground of the type in both English and Czech. Following this is a complete parts map. There are eighteen exploded view assembly steps that are very well illustrated and include several color call-outs by Gunze-Sangyo color numbers only. Four full pages are devoted to exterior painting and decal placement for four different units. In these steps exterior colors are given by Gunze-Sangyo numbers, by color name and by RLM number.

The kit decal sheet is a small sheet that includes the basic unit marking for four aircraft. The decal sheet does not include and service stencils or warning markings which seems somewhat odd for a German aircraft. The decals appear to be nicely thin and have good color density and print registration. Swastikas are provided in a politically correct manner being in two pieces that we have to assemble. Previous experience with Special Hobby decals indicates they behave well with standard setting solutions and are not prone to silvering.




It seems that this kit should appeal to a wide range of modelers covering both the World War Two and helicopter aficionados.

The kit seems to be well engineered and test fitting shows a generally good fit of all major components. Interior details are very good as are exterior details. Kit decals seem adequate but the lack of service stencils makes me hopeful that the aftermarket will soon come to our rescue with a better marking sheet.

Considering all the fine tubular structure that needs to be assembled I don’t feel this kit is appropriate for beginners but should present little problem to more accomplished modelers.

This is a historically significant aircraft and a kit that I recommend you have in your collection.

Highly Recommended.

Review and Images Copyright © 2006 by Matt Swan
Page Created 20 March, 2006
Last updated 20 March, 2006

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