In 1939 twelve Heinkel He-115 A-2 aircraft were delivered to Sweden and six more were delivered to Norway before the outbreak of World War 2. All additional aircraft were manufactured for the Luftwaffe and by 1944 a total of 400 aircraft had been produced. The original aircraft was equipped with the BMW 132 K engines which were license built Pratt and Whitney Hornet engines producing 970 horsepower each. Defensive armament consisted of two 8mm machine guns, one mounted in the nose and the second mounted aft of the pilot. Some later models carried twin machin guns in the aft position. Offensively the aircraft could carry one M/38 or M/41 torpedo or, as an alternative load, two 250 kg bombs. One of the unique features of the He-115 weapons bay was that it had two sets of doors. The aft main doors would suffice for most loads; a torpedo would require the smaller forward doors to accommodate the longer weapon. It carried a crew of three, the pilot, a radio operator/gunner and an observer.
The 115 was a large aircraft with weak defensive armament making it easy prey for Allied fighters. On the plus side it showed itself to be a fairly sturdy aircraft that behaved well on water and in the air. Besides its intended use as a torpedo bomber the aircraft also performed as a smoke screener, mine layer and for long range reconnaissance missions. Between 1938 and 1944 several versions were built seeing a redesigned bomb bay, improved electronics, various structural and float reinforcements and defensive weapons. The C-2 version had reinforced float-planing bottoms for operation on snow and ice (that must have been interesting) and the single 115-D version incorporated two 1,600 hp BMW801C radials, a crew of four and was able to reach a top speed of 248 mph. In the early stages of the German advance across Europe three He-115 A-2 and a single He-115 B-1 fled to Scotland. These received the British serial numbers BV184 to BV187 and were used in clandestine missions into occupied areas. None of the He-115s survived to the present day. As an interesting side note in 1986 a single wreaked aircraft, unit S4+EH, was accidentally discover at a depth of 220 meters during the recovery operations of an oil drilling accident near Haltenbacken. Consideration was given to a recovery attempt but was discontinued due to excessive cost.
In 1926 Ernst Heinkel A.G. developed the HD-14 biplane torpedo plane but the aircraft did not fulfill the stipulated requirements. Heinkel improved the design and two were built as HD-16s and shipped to Sweden for trials and modifications in 1928. The aircraft as such did not amount to much and never saw combat but they did allow for Heinkel to gain experience in launching torpedoes from aircraft and this led the development of the He-115 in 1938.
There are three 1/72 kits of the He-115. In 1972 Airmodel released a vacuform kit that is not worth even starting. Matchbox put one together in 1975 but it suffered from the classic trench sized panel lines and heavy-handed detailing common for the era. The Matchbox kit was also issued under the AMT logo a few years later. In 1977 FROG (Flies Right Off the Ground) was working on a kit for release but never made it beyond the test shot phase before the company collapsed. Revell acquired the FROG package and released it in the late 1970s with the original box art and decals. This kit was issued again by Revell of Germany in 1993. It has also been issued by several Revell subsidiaries in Britain, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan. The subject of this review is the late 1980 release from Revell of Germany Japanese subsidiary Tsukuda with Satake box art.