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Storch

Tamiya 1/48 Fi 156C Storch Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2008 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Fi 156C Storch Scale 1/48
Kit Number 61100 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nicely detailed kit as only Tamiya can create, window masks Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (Yen) ¥5,200 (About $48.00)

First Look

Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch
Storch

The Fieseler Storch was developed as a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft that could operate in very restricted spaces. The aircraft was developed as a metal-framed, fabric-covered aircraft that employed leading edge slats and nearly full-span flaps (even the ailerons drooped when the flaps were down) to get the most lift at very slow airspeeds. The aircraft was powered by a 240 horsepower Argus inverted V-8 engine. With that much power on a light airframe and big wings, the Storch could take off in under 100 feet with no winds!

Over 2,500 Storches were built, the Fi 156C-1 was a staff transport, the Fi 156C-2 served as a short-range reconnaissance aircraft, and the Fi 156D was the ambulance variant.

The Fi 156 Storch was most famous for its Grand Sasso mountaintop landing and take-off near the hotel that Italian dictator Benito Moussolini was being held on September 12, 1943.

While this isn't the first 1/48 scale Storch to be produced (ESCI has that distinction), this is easily the best in this scale and may be the best Fi 156 in any scale, though the Tristar kit is excellent as well in 1/35 scale (look here).

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on seven parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. Take a look at the first to images to the right. Tamiya has started a new engineering process in their kits - molding the side windows in place. You might think that this is more trouble than advantage as it might complicate painting, but this kit also includes a set of paint masks to take care of all of those windows. The kit includes a small fret of photo-etched parts for the instrument panel as well as a few other details. On the same card as the photo-etch are two other parts: a wire for the main landing gear to provide strength to the otherwise spindly landing gear, and a metal main spar that runs through the upper cabin to attach the wings to the airframe.

The kit captures the look of the interior tubular framework quite nicely. The interior detailing does provide the seats, stick, throttle, instrument panel, trim wheel, rudder pedals, and self-defense rear machine gun. Seatbelts are provided as decals.

The Argus engine is very nicely detailed, and since you can display the aircraft without the cowling panels, you might consider adding ignition wiring as the only real details missing off of this beauty.

Speaking of landing gear, this kit can be equipped with wheels (and rubber tires are included) or with skis (also included).

The tailplanes and elevators are molded as one piece, though it is typical to see the elevators full up if the seatbelts are used as a gust lock to protect the fight controls from the wind while parked, or full down when the aircraft is on the ground immediately before or after flight. You might consider separating the elevators and positioning them according to your 'scenario'. Don't forget to reposition the flight control stick accordingly!

The ailerons, flaps and slats are molded separately, so you can pose the aircraft in flight or at rest. The rudder is also provided separately and it can be posed in whatever position you'd like.

The cabin door is molded separately so you can pose the door open or closed.

Two different overhead transparencies are also provided - one with and one without the rear machine gun blister.

Seven figures are included:

  • Seated pilot
  • Seated Luftwaffe general (passenger)
  • Seated Erwin Rommel (passenger)
  • Two standing Erwin Rommels (Afrika Korps uniform and winter European uniform)
  • Standing officer figure w/field glasses
  • Standing ground crewman figure

To round out this beauty of a kit, a nice set of Jerry cans and fuel drums are included to provide additional detail for your Storch being serviced.

Markings are provided for five examples:

  • Fi 156C-3, SF+RL, 1 Wustennot Staffel, North Africa, 1942
  • Fi 156C-3, DL+AW, North Africa, 1942
  • Fi 156C-3, SJ+LL, Rescue Operation of Mussolini, Italy, 12 Sep 1943
  • Fi 156C-7, RR+KN
  • Fi 156C-5, VK+GS, Eastern Front, 1942

This is clearly the nicest Storch in 1/48th scale and there is little you'd ever need from aftermarket that isn't already in this box. This kit is a special edition from Tamiya to commemorate the 100th release in this series, so you do have more here than you might find in other subjects and as I said before, this kit is a beauty.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!

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