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Heinkel He 51
“Richthofen Squadron”

Classic Airframes, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Classic Airframes kit numbers 4154 - Heinkel He 51 “Richthofen Squadron”
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 73 parts in grey plastic; one part in clear; four parts in cream colored resin; markings for four aircraft

MSRP $48.00
Available online from Squadron Mail Order

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: All-new kit; high level of detail including; beautifully subdued surface detail fabric texture and recessed panel lines; separate ailerons, flaps and rudder; hollowed-our exhaust stacks; generally good fit; attractive selection of marking options
Disadvantages: Fine flash on some parts; vague fit around oil cooler; experience will be helpful
Conclusion: An emphatic improvement over CA's original Heinkel He 51 for experienced modelers, well detailed and very attractive marking options. 


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Heinkel He 51 “Richthofen Squadron” is available online from Squadron




Classic Airframes has released the third, and I believe final, boxing of its newly tooled Heinkel He 51.  While this kit does not differ in parts content from the earlier two editions, which Brett Green reviewed here previously, it does provide for an entirely new set of markings for four aircraft.

The first set of markings is for an aircraft is from I. / JG 132 circa early 1936.  It is a simple overall scheme of RLM 02.  It carries the Code “A1” and has a fuselage band composed of two black stripes, for which decals are provided.  It is believed that because of the unusual code, rather than the five character code, the aircraft may have belonged to the Gruppe’s Kommandeur.

There are decals for the swastika in a white circle on the red band for both sides of the fin and rudder, to be used for this or the other JG. 132 aircraft.  There is also the black, white, red tri-color for the tail, as the aircraft may have worn this national marking on the starboard (right side) of the fin and rudder early in 1936.

The second aircraft is also from I. / JG 132.  This aircraft is coded 21+D11 and is in RLM 02, but has a red nose, the Geshwader’s color.

The third aircraft is from 2. / JG132.  This aircraft is coded White 10.  While the aircraft is in RLM 02, the nose and top decking are in the Geshwader’s red.

Being an aircraft of 2 Staffel, it has a white vertical nose band and a white vertical fuselage band with red on each side.  There are decals for the white, vertical bands, but the red on the fuselage band must be painted.  All things considered, and given the level of the kit, most modelers would opt to mask and paint the white bands.

The final set of marking are most interesting, and probably the ones I will use.  These are for a He 51 of the Royal Bulgarian Air Force with the pre-war national markings of a red Maltese cross, crossed swords and gold lion on a white disc with the white, green and red horizontal rudder stripes.  The aircraft carries the unit number, 22, on the side and the individual aircraft number, 8, on the fin.


  • Classic Airframes 1/48 scale Heinkel He 51 "Richthofen Squadron" Review by Steven Eisenman: Image
  • Classic Airframes 1/48 scale Heinkel He 51 "Richthofen Squadron" Review by Steven Eisenman: Image
  • Classic Airframes 1/48 scale Heinkel He 51 "Richthofen Squadron" Review by Steven Eisenman: Image
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The color call-out indicates RLM 71 for the primary color with RLM 65 underside, but it could just as well have been a dark green and light blue Bulgarian paint, as I believe these aircraft were delivered in RLM 02, and repainted in Bulgaria.  The nose of this aircraft is painted in red, which extends to the rear of the fuselage in a tapered flash.

There are no decals for the red on the fuselage or the rudder stripes.  There are, however, decals for the red trim on the wheel covers.  I presume most modelers would want to keep the same shade of red on the fuselage, rudder and wheel cover. Rather than trying to match the wheel cover decals, these decals can be used to create a mask to aid in painting the trim on the wheel covers.

The decals are printed by Cartograph of Italy and appear to be quite sharp, with good color and in register.  The detail on the Bulgarian national marking is particularly good, with the lion being quite distinct.





With this third boxing of the He 51, Classic Airframes has now given modelers one of a most extensive and colorful collection of this famous pre-World War Two aircraft.

I agree with Brett that deciding the marking option to do may be the most difficult part of this kit.

But as has been noted previously, this model will require experience in limited run kits and a great deal of self-confidence in the art of rigging bi-planes.

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright 2008 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 20 November, 2008
Last updated 20 November, 2008

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