Andy Brazier takes a look at Special Hobbies 1/48th Focke Achgelis FA 223 Drache, the worlds first production helicopter.


The first helicopter in the history of aviation to reach production status and also the first one to fly across the English Channel. This is, however, just a brief list of all firsts attained by the Drache. Its production had been planned to give 400 machines, but in the end and mainly because of Allied air raids, just about 20 of these remarkable machines emerged from the production line. In the final stages of the war, the Allied managed to capture a handful of Draches and put them to flight tests in Britain and in the USA whilst in France, there were actual attempts to develop the type further.

In the box 

Packed in a top opening box, the Special Hobby 1/48th Focke Achgelis FA 223 Drache was first released in 2006, and the moulds have held up well with very little flash found on the kit.

The contents of the box are -

4 grey plastic sprues

1 clear sprue

8 resin parts

2 photo etch frets, one pre-coloured

a set of instructions

1 small decal sheet.

Exterior detail is nice with the tail end of the helo having a nice subtle ribbed effect, with the forward cockpit compartment having a few panel lines, and a very slight ribbed area.

All the fuselage parts can be found on the one sprue, along with the two part tail plane.

The moulded on rudder can be replaced with a resin one of you desire, as one is supplied.

None of the parts have any locating pins, which is pretty usual for Special Hobby kits.  

Interior detail mainly comprises of a tubular framework that the cockpit seat and instrument control panels all sit on.

The inside of the cockpit walls do have a few sink marks in there that will need to be taken care of.

A lot of the cockpit components are taken care of by the inclusion of the photo etch, with the seat harness, foot pedals and various straps adding to the detail.

The instrument panels are a choice of resin or photo etch.

Most of this will be seen as the cockpit has a big greenhouse style canopy.

The passenger/cargo cabin of the fuselage has a bulkhead for it, but nothing else for the interior, not that you can see much in there anyway.

The rotor mounts are made up of several finely cast tubular structures, which does look to be a bit of a challenge to get off the sprue without breaking them and fitting them all together.

The rotor heads and transmission boxes are all made up of resin parts and have some nice detail on them. These are all on small pouring plugs, which doesn't look to hard to remove.

The rotors themselves, of which there are six, have a ribbed effect on them but don't have a droop.

Working out how to remove the rotors for transporting and storage (unless you have a big cabinet to put it in) looks to be a challenge.

The nose wheel is one piece, and has some nice detail on the hubs.

The main wheels are split into left and right halves, and also feature a little detail for the hubs, but none have any tread detail.

Only the nose wheel has a a strut, as the main gear is connected up to the tubular framework for the rotors.

The clear parts are packed in a separate bag and are well moulded with raised frames over the greenhouse style canopy. A mask set for this would have been a nice inclusion by Special Hobby, but they didn't, so making your own or sourcing one needs to be done.

Instructions, decals and markings 

The instructions are printed on a folded A4 size paper, and consists of 13 pages, with the last three for the three full colour profiles. The booklet is glossy and in colour for most of the build with internal colours given along the way.

The cover has a short history of the Drache in English and Czech, followed by the parts tree map. The build takes place over 7 pages and 22 steps.

The build sequence looks easy enough to follow even if the build itself looks quite daunting.

The decals are printed by Eduard, so there shouldn't be any problems with them.

The Swastikas are printed in a politically correct manner, with them being printed in two halves.

Colour registration looks good, although the red in the British markings does look a tad dark.

No stencils are supplied, which seems strange.

Three markings options are supplied, one British, one American and a German machine.

All are the same RLM71 upper and RLM65 lower colours.


It is quite surprising that this is the only 1/48th kit of this first production helicopter ever tooled, and even more surprising because its German, which most manufacturers seem to kit out every mark and variant of every piece of machinery the Germans ever built during the Second World War.

This is not in any way a kit for the beginner as its a multi media kit, with some complicated building involved.

Attaching the rear tail section to the forward cabin looks to be a little tricky to say the least as its connected by a tubular construction.

Although this looks like a daunting kit to be build, this in my view would be a satisfying build, and a great add to your collection.

Mfg. ID - 48201

Suggested Retail - 39,90 €

Related Link -

Our Thanks to Special Hobby!

This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. 

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.



You may also like