Art Model 1/72 Ta 152H-1 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2009||Manufacturer||Art Model|
|Kit Number||72004||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice rendition of this distinctive subject||Cons||Partially enclosed wheel wells, cockpit colors on interior decals|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$15.00|
Doctor Kurt Tank was the designer of the Focke Wulf Fw 190 series and put the name Focke Wulf forever in the history books. Nevertheless, Tank was given his own design team to tackle the problem of developing a high-altitude interceptor. The resources of Focke Wulf were left to production of the existing Fw 190 line.
The task at hand was to develop an interceptor that could reach higher altitudes with a combination of greater lift and more power. To counter the effects of prolonged operations at altitude, the cockpit had to be pressurized. The result was the Ta 152H, an aircraft that bears a strong resemblance to the Fw 190D series, but was in fact a completely different aircraft. The wingspan alone was significantly greater.
Deliveries of the Ta 152H commenced around December 1944 with some 60 examples being produced before war's end. How effective was this aircraft? Rather than quote some book, let me share an insight from a friend who flew the Mosquito for 418 Sqn (Canadian) and became an ace, then was drafted into the USAAF to fly 'weather reconnaissance' (OSS) missions with the Mosquito for the rest of the war. According to him, as long as both Merlins were running, there wasn't anything that Jerry could put up that could catch him on his high-altitude profiles. That changed with the Ta 152. The aircraft could easily reach his flight level, but could not mount an effective intercept unless it got above or in front of him. Evidently a few came close. If I recall correctly, one of these close encounters resulted in the loss of an engine, but they still managed to get away and limp home.
Here is a nice kit from Art Model, the Ta-152H-1 in 1/72nd scale. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and a pair of main wheels in gray resin.
This kit starts off in the simple cockpit with the main and lower instrument panels separately rendered. The details on the panels and side consoles are provided as decals, but for some reason the surface color is almost Soviet turquoise green rather than RLM 66. With a little care, the background color can be cut away and the instruments and control panels added directly to their RLM 66 painted interior surfaces.
The long wing has a main spar as well as a set of ribs forward of the main wheel wells to install similar to Eduard's outstanding 1/48 Fw 190 kits. The upper wing halves have the wheel well interior molded integral and you can see that these would block out the engine bay as designed in the full-scale aircraft. Tank's long-nose fighters did not have a completely enclosed main wheel well. This allowed the engine to draw more air through the cowling when the landing gear was down. Since you're likely to build this kit gear-down, you'll want to see more than an empty plastic shell up where the engine would be.
If you want the wheel wells opened up into the engine compartment, simply trim back the covers extending out of the upper wing halves. If you do this though, you won't have anything but an empty fuselage up in the nose to see...
The kit exterior is nicely rendered and is similar in detail as the old 1/48 Trimaster kits.
Markings are included for one aircraft wearing two different color schemes:
- Ta 152H-1, W.Nr. 150168, JG 301, Green 9, 1945
I'm not sure if this aircraft wore the two schemes presented here or if they're two interpretations of the colors worn by the aircraft based upon photo evidence. In any case, check your references.
This is a nice little kit that will build into a unique subject with a little patience and skill. The AMS modeler will have fun with this project. This kit is available from HobbyTerra.
My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!