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In-Box Review
148
Focke-Wulf Ta 152C-0
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

The successor to, and last incarnation of, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was the Ta 152. After the Ta 152A fell by the wayside at an early stage, it was envisaged in a number of versions:

Ta 152B - Sclachtflugzeug (ground attack aircraft)
Ta 152C - Normaljäger (standard fighter)
Ta 152E - Aufklärer (reconnaissance aircraft)
Ta 152H - Höhenjäger (high altitude fighter)

The 'B and 'E series seem never to have reached fruition, but the 'C and 'H trickled off production lines in small numbers for a total of just 67 Ta 152s. Most of these were 'Hs, which have long captured modellers' imaginations with their elegant long-span wings.

But what of the Ta 152C? Seemingly, at least a pair of 'C-1/R31s reach Stab JG 301 at Welzow by the end of April 1945, but what would arguably have been the most important of the '152s, in its designated role as a standard fighter has been largely overlooked as a mainstream quarterscale kit - until now.

The Kit
Of course, this isn't the first time that Dragon (in their old guise as Trimaster) have tackled the aircraft. Their first version, 20 or so years ago, was a limited edition of their Ta 152H with new resin parts for the nose and wings. A novel kind of Hi-Tech conversion produced at a time when even etched parts were often seen as daring. I well remember sneaking a peek inside the box at Beatties' old Holborn shop, but it was too exotic and expensive for my pocket, and has long been a highly sought-after collectors' item.

Since then there have been a number of aftermarket conversion sets - notably, Fusion Models' excellent resin set - but it seems fitting that Dragon should bring us the first mainstream quarterscale Ta 152C.

Arriving in a well presented and sturdy box, with all the sprues and accessories bagged separately (and the etched details, clear parts and decals further protected on a cardboard insert) there's an immediate sense of déjà vu, because the fuselage and most of the details such as the cockpit and undercarriage are taken straight from Dragon's existing Ta 152H. New sprues are provided for the wings and nose.

The kit comprises:
92 x grey styrene parts (23 not needed)
5 x clear styrene parts
(Note: treat the parts map with caution, as it indicates a few parts as "not for use" that are in fact needed, as vice versa)
19 x etched parts
Decals for a single colour scheme

For anyone disappointed that the kit isn't an all-new tooling, I think Dragon's decision to use 'H sprues is well justified; the kit was an excellent one, and the Ta 152C-O prototype will arguably have an appeal limited primarily to dedicated Luftwaffe enthusiasts.

I've already reviewed Dragon's Ta 152H, so I won't go over old ground other than to say that the fuselage and detail parts are still looking in excellent shape for their age, with no apparent signs of mould wear creeping in. Sadly, the canopy doesn't fare quite so well in the sample kit, and mine can certainly benefit from polishing and dipping in Klear/Future.

The new parts occupy two sprues and are very crisply moulded with a silky finish and neat panel lines and a few subtle embossed rivets. Fabric surfaces are quite subtly depicted.

Test Fit
In a way the kit is something of a ready-made conversion set, because you'll need to do some surgery to remove the old Ta 152H nose to fit the new cowling and radiator for the '152C's DB 603. There's a choice of front cowls with open or closed cooling gills. The necessary cuts follow existing panel lines and I found the fit to be very positive, but it still probably isn't a job for absolute beginners. The area on the Ta 152H fuselage along which you cut is already partially thinned (to allow the cowls to be posed open to reveal the engine that was included in some boxings) so some additional support with plastic card on the inside might be advisable to give a really secure foundation for the Ta 152C's new nose.

The new wing matches the old fuselage very well, with a nice tight fit at the roots so, all in all, it promises to be a pretty straightforward build. The new wing also features good thin trailing edges, but the leading edge seems a bit blunt so I'll give a few swipes with a sanding stick.

The only disappointment in terms of the parts provided is that the new nose is empty, leaving a yawning void visible through the wheel well. A blanking plate with some details to give some sense of the rear of the engine and its accessories would have been welcome to busy things up a bit. As it is, some creative "gizmology" is the order of the day.

Accuracy
Outline-wise the parts match my plans (Model Art, 1989) pretty well and most details bear up against the photos of the 'C in that book and Monogram's Close-Up #24 - Ta 152.

A couple of points do stand out though:

The chord of the ailerons seems very narrow on the upper surface. I think this is because the designers haven't included a curve towards the tips. I'll re-scribe the hinge-line about 1mm or so further forward.

Likewise, the shape of the landing flaps seems rather suspect - although this is less noticeable, their being hidden underneath.

The canopy features the external locks of the Ta 152H, but photos of the V7 prototype W.Nr 110007 don't show these.

The Ta 152H fuselage has flare dispensers that should be filled to depict '007.

Instructions & Decals
Apart from the small muddle on the parts map, the instructions are clear and easy to follow with well drawn assembly diagrams. Colour matches are provided for Gunze Sangyo and Model Master paints.

Decals are provided for just one aircraft:

Ta 152C-0, W.Nr 110007 (V.Nr V7), CI XM.

A small sheet of decals is very good quality, printed by Cartograph with excellent registration and a comprehensive set of stencils. Sadly, no swastikas are provided.

The painting guide for '007 features RLM paint matches, but disagrees with most of my references as regards the fuselage spine, calling for RLM 83 and 75 instead of the RLM 81 & 82 usually shown (oddly, Dragon's box-top painting does depict the RLM 81).

Dragon show the entire undersides painted RLM 76, but photos of the aircraft seem to show partly n/m under the wings, with the paint only reaching back as far as the main spar-line.

Conclusion
Despite a couple of niggles, I think Dragon have done a good job with their Ta 152C-0. It's a subject that has deserved to be kitted conventionally for a long time, and Dragon's version promises to offer a far more straightforward build than using a resin conversion set - with the added bonus of being considerably cheaper. Dragon's Ta 152C-) will be available worldwide very soon, with suggested prices as folows:

USD 31.95 (MSRP)
JPY 3200 (Tax Excluded)
GBP 27.99 (Ref. Retail Price)
EUD 30.99 (Ref. Retail Price)

Recommended for Luftwaffe modellers with a little experience who want to add the last of the "Butcher Birds" to their collection.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Crisply moulded new parts combined with existing sprues from a classic kit. Etched details. Good quality decals.
Lows: Ailerons and flaps suspect. A few minor mods needed to model the decals subject.
Verdict: It's good to see the Ta 152C available at last as a mainstream kit in this scale. Beginners should still beware that some surgery is needed to add the new nose, so some experience is advisable.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 5548
  Suggested Retail: $31.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 16, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.65%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi Eetu The Ta152C has a total different engine!! so what do you want with the old one ( BTW the Italeri box also had no engine) .. of course I agree that something in there would have been nice .... If I got that right, this is (at least partly) new tool .. Jerry Crandall was somehow involved and is also publishing a decal set for it (Eagle Editions) .. all th ebest Steffen
AUG 18, 2009 - 11:31 AM
Of course, sorry. Thanks for clearing out the engine question. I looked at the wikipedia article but somehow managed to miss the engine info... Well, at least the engine parts from the H-0 could have been useful for cobbling together some sort of a doohickey to plug the void and resemble the engine rear. I don't know... With the all CAD, slidemolds, bells & whistles they're boasting, I was just thinking Dragon would have at least made an engine rear plug. But nothing. Yep, it's partially new tooling. It appears that the sprues containing the wings and the nose components are new ones. Btw, judging fromt their color and the material used in Trimaster's original kits, I presume the PE is steel? (get those lighters ready!)
AUG 18, 2009 - 12:18 PM
Hi Eetu Yes, the new parts are confined to the wings and nose. The etched frets are indeed steel (or nickel - to be honest, I never know), but certainly not brass. All the best Rowan
AUG 18, 2009 - 06:20 PM
This looks promising for sure.I felt a little cheated when i got the Italeri re box of the Tri master/Dragon H model and it didnt include the engine, a little sad this one doesnt have it either.
AUG 18, 2009 - 09:39 PM
Hi Mike As Steffen pointed out to Eetu, the Ta 152C was powered by a different engine to the 'H, so the old parts would be no use. The new cowls aren't designed to open, so a full DB 603 would be wasted, but it is a shame that Dragon didn't include some representation of the rear of the engine. All the best Rowan
AUG 19, 2009 - 01:23 AM
Sorry should have read that first post I still wish the Italeri re box of the H had come with the engine found in the Trimaster kit. Im still going to buy this kit though it looks great
AUG 19, 2009 - 08:23 AM
Rowan; A couple questions: The front cowling looks a different shape-wise compared to the fusion conversion and the cooling gills do not look as "open" compared to the Dragon H and fusion conversions...correct? The radiator front also appears different than the fusion conversion/photos of the real thing. Not big issues and easily modified but would like to know your thoughts. Thanks in advance and for the great review. Can't wait for the kit to hit the market and just in time as I finish my fusion conversion! Kevin - Newburgh, Indiana
AUG 19, 2009 - 04:11 PM
H Kevin I agree - the cowl flaps aren't very "open" (the difference is actually a little clearer with the parts in your hand). What I'd really like to do, once I'm settled in my new base on the Isle of Wight, is a side-by-side build of the Dragon/Fusion interpretions, so people can judge for themselves from the overall result. I should make position clear: In the early days of this kit, Dragon consulted me for advice, and I pointed them towards the Fusion set and recommended they contact Jerry Crandall/Eagle Editions. I'm hoping Eagle will someday publish the ex-Monogram (or should that be "was-to-be-Monogram") book on the Ta 152 - in its updated form, that's likely to be the ultimate reference. There are pros and cons to both Dragon and Fusion (cost, for one thing...) My biggest concern with the Dragon kit is the top-surface line of the ailerons. I'm wondering if they've taken the chord from the 'H and transferred it to the shorter wing. I missed it on first glance and then it was a "Ohh, hold on a minute!" issue. Not the end of the world, but it does look very narrow... All the best Rowan
AUG 19, 2009 - 04:31 PM
Thanks Rowan...I appreciate the quick response. Yes, I suppose there are many factors to consider (especially price), and given that we now have the Dragon option I am defininitely not complaining:-). Regarding the new Dragon kit, I see your point about the ailerons and my only nit would be the cowl (of course I have not seen the actuall kit). With that said, one could slightly modify the H cowl included in the kit as it appears very similar to the fusion cowl, and fabricate portions of the radiator which appears more open in the front (based on pictures/fusion's conversion) compared to the Dragon kit. Overall, I am really looking forward to the kit as I want to sling a big old torpedo under one as a torpedoflugzeug (why were the Germans even considering these subtypes towards the end of the war???---Hitler was all about the offensive I guess???). By the way, thanks for the great and timely review. Jerry kept mentioning that he was going to post a review on Hyperscale but I have yet to see it (I realize that folks are busy). I was surprised to see yours so soon! Fantastic job! Cheers, Kevin
AUG 19, 2009 - 06:14 PM
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