Focke Wulf Ta-152H-1
The Focke Wulf Ta-152H series was the ultimate development of the FW-190 design, and appeared in small numbers right at the close of World War II in Europe. Most of our readers are probably familiar with the history of the type, so I won’t go into many details. Needless to say, the Ta-152H series, which was powered by a Junkers Jumo 213E-1 engine of over 1,700 hp., was as good as any of the piston engine fighters that were operational at the end of the war.
The H series had an extended wing for high altitude operations, and although its roll rate was somewhat less than the short-wing radial engine versions, its performance was comparable or better than anything then flying. The pre-production Ta-152H-0’s, of which about 20 were delivered to the service test organization Erprobungskommando Ta 152, were used to work the bugs out of the systems, and later, JG301 managed to acquire some of them for operational use. About 150 Ta-152H-1’s came off the production line before the end of the war, and a few of these, along with some Ta-152H-0’s, were obtained by JG301, who used them for interception as well as coordination with Me-262 units operating in their areas. Most, however, never reached their intended destinations, and were destroyed on the ground or captured at the end of the war. Although the Ta-152H had spectacular performance, it didn’t affect the outcome of the war. The noticeable external difference between the Ta-152H-0 and Ta-152H-1 was mainly in the addition of extra fuel cells in the wings of the Ta-152H-1.
There have been three kits issued of the long-wing Ta-152H series. The old Frog issue from the 60’s, although good in its day, is now a dinosaur and is suitable for collectors only. Dragon issued a Ta-152H-1 in 1992, while Aoshima’s kits were next, in 1997, with their Ta-152H-0 and Ta-152H-1 issues. I have both Aoshima kits from that era, and cannot detect any differences in the parts on the sprues for the H-0 and H-1 versions, although the decals are different. Both, however, provide yellow and red fuselage bands for JG301, which operated both types. The H-0 kit only included green 4 while the H-1 kit has 2, 5, and 6 in green and yellow, and 2 and 9 in red. The recently released Ta-152H-1 kit decals are identical to the 1997 issue.
The molds are also identical to those of 1997, but this is not a real problem since this was a very good kit then, and still is. The Dragon issue of 1992 appears to have a little more detail, but as I recall from building it, it has some fit problems, whereas the Aoshima kit went together much like a Hasegawa kit from the same era. I’ll include photos of all of these for comparison.
The only problem with the Aoshima Ta-152H-1 is the upper wing surface, which does not include the panel lines or caps for the wing tanks. In addition, they left off the “gear down” indicators, which stick up above the wing surface when the gear is down. These are included in the Dragon kit, and, aside from better detail in some respects, are the only other advantages to the Dragon kit.
The kit instructions consist of four pages, about letter sized, which include the first page with five essays in Japanese, Chinese, English, German, and French, obviously written by the company’s lawyer to negate the effect of overzealous ambulance chasers. There is no history of the aircraft provided. The second page provides a four-view of the aircraft with paint and marking details, a color guide which includes some description and RLM colors, and a section on how to use the decals. Pages three and four provide assembly instructions with some color information, although I found some of the data to be confusing. Some color numbers are given that are not in the color guide, so I would suggest using some of the standard references to get the proper colors. The overall color scheme is also rather confusing, as it appears to depict Ta-152H-1 w/nr. 150168 (the only w/nr. provided on the decal sheet) and two different aircraft, “Red 9” and either “Red or Yellow 2”, all apparently assigned to JG301, with the yellow and red tail bands. However, my sources state that this aircraft, shown in a drawing and photograph in the Monogram Ta-152H booklet, was actually ”Green 9”, with the number in a slightly different style than provided on the decal sheet if you invert the green number 6. I used it anyway, as it is close. I’m supposed to be having fun, right?
The Aoshima kit is molded in light grey styrene and has very little flash. Surfaces detail consists of fine recessed panel lines, with fabric control surfaces maybe slightly exaggerated. Cockpit detail is moderate – not as intricate as the Dragon kit, but perfectly adequate for out-of-the-box modeling in this scale. Fit is better than most 1/72 scale kits of this era, and although some filler is required, this is no problem, even for an inexperienced modeler. Of course, the cockpit interior needs to be completed and painted before basic assembly is done. The cockpit comes in a Hasegawa-type tub, containing a seat, instrument panel, control stick, and armored headrest. Decals provide instrument panel and side panel details. The tub fits into the assembled fuselage, and the cowling provides two options, one with cowl flaps open and the other with flaps closed. Both fit nicely on the “engine”, and as no details are visible once the prop is in place, everything is adequate. The wings consist of a complete lower panel and two upper panels, with wheel well detail quite visible in the lower sections. The wing armament is molded into the wings, and I cut these off and reinstalled the guns in the final stages of production. The landing gear consists of main gear struts, small, rather delicate bracing struts, landing gear covers, and inside gear well doors. The wheels are detailed and easy to paint.
Painting and Finishing
The easiest way to paint this model would be to do the top colors first. Colors are in dispute, and the instructions say to use RLM 71 and 75 over 65 light blue. That doesn’t seem right at all, so I used RLM 81 and RLM 82 greens over RML 76 light blue, and these colors seemed to be closer to the color photos and drawings in the Monogram book. The decals were quite thin and went on smoothly, although the large red and yellow rear fuselage bands were not too cooperative. The decal instructions were sometimes confusing, with some markings (usually maintenance labels) not mentioned, and I had to check with other references to get the correct locations. The tail swastikas appeared to be a little small, but the decal box solved that problem.
One omission on many Fw-190 kits is the lack of a step, which is usually shown in photos in the extended position. Also, the small VHF whip antenna under the rear fuselage is not mentioned in the instructions, although a small wire is all that is needed here. The instructions also show the LF antenna between the cockpit and the tailfin, but only in the extended position. The antenna may not have rolled up when the canopy was rolled back on this version, and when the canopy was rolled back, the wire hung loose along the rear fuselage. Information on this would have helped. I just installed a straight wire, even though the canopy was opened to show the cockpit detail. Not a big deal, but something to consider, nevertheless.
Although this is a rerun kit, it is a good one, and although it is probably a little more expensive than the Dragon kit, it is certainly worth getting and building. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Dragon Models USA and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to spend some pleasant hours building and reviewing this kit.