Focke-Wulf Ta 154A-0
Reviewed by Brett Green
Kurt Tank's night fighter was inspired by the deadly exploits of the deHavilland Mosquito.
The Focke-Wulf Ta 154 shared the British fighter/bomber's wooden construction, high performance and even its familiar name - "Moskito". However, a combination of technical problems and political prejudice against the Focke-Wulf night fighter meant that only a handful actually entered service.
Night Fighters in Plastic
German night fighters in 1/48 scale were very scarce at the beginning of this decade. Since then we have been offered a feast of Nachtjagd subjects - Bf 110G, Ju 88Gs, He 219 and even a few Wilde Sau single seaters. Add to that the more esoteric types such as the Ho 229 and Do 335 and things look even better.
Karo As released two 1/48 scale vacform Ta 154s some years ago. These were not bad kits for their time with detail parts in resin. I built their Ta 154A-4 around 1994.
ProModeler's injection moulded 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Ta 154 plugs an important gap in this interesting category.
ProModeler's Focke-Wulf Ta 154A-0 comes packed in the now familiar one-piece box. The box is fairly solid while sealed. Mine made it safely by airmail from the USA to Australia, but is flimsy after opening.
Around 100 medium grey parts are supplied on five sprues. The main parts are finished with a slight satin texture. I will probably give these parts the once-over with 2000 grit abrasive paper and a polishing stick.
The five clear parts are thin and very clear. They are bagged separately. The navigator's top window is moulded integrally with a section of the mid-forward wing.
Kit fuselage length is almost exactly correct and the wingspan is 3mm short compared to the specifications in Monogram's "Close Up 22 Moskito". The outline of the model looks true to the original aircraft.
Surface detail on the main parts feature crisply engraved fine panel lines. There are no ejector pin marks or sinkmarks on any of the outer surfaces of the parts, but there are a few minor blemishes on the cockpit sidewalls.
The features of the Ta 154A-0 are all present including early flame dampers, straight wingtips and Lichtenstein radar. Exhaust stacks for the A-1 day-fighter are also on the sprue, but some filling to the nose will be required if this variant is modelled. Either Dragon/DML or ProModeler will probably release this variant with a new nose cap and appropriate decals at some stage.
The pilot's cockpit detail is nice, but the pilot's instrument panel looks a bit basic. Both seats include textured cushions but no harnesses. The detail in the radar operator's cockpit is half-hearted. There has been no attempt to replicate the high sidewalls in this part of the aircraft.
Inserts are supplied for the side fuselage gun panels. The top cannon barrel is moulded as part of each panel. The lower hole for the 30mm cannon will need a cannon barrel added and be blanked off, or the large empty hole will look pretty obvious.
Small details are well represented. These include tiny separate intake scoops, underwing FuG 101 antenna and the big FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar array. I also like the look of the annular radiator faces.
The engineering and parts breakdown is interesting. The separate nose cone and nacelle fronts indicate that more variants are on the way. Some sprues are already marked "Ta 154A-0 / A-1". There is no provision on the wings to accommodate separate upturned wingtips, so the A-4 may be a while down the track.
The undercarriage has been designed to ensure a very positive, very solid location. This method of engineering does compromise the detail in the main gear wells, but it is not possible to view much through the small forward doors in any case. Furthermore, I have never seen any illustrations of the Moskito's wheel well.
The wings are supplied as separate halves and, as mentioned above, do not have separate wing tips. The top wing is one piece per side and the bottom wings each comprise separate section inboard and outboard of the engine nacelles.
My main wing parts are slightly warped. If the parts are assembled without correction, the wings will display a pronounced "droop". None of my references indicate that a droop was present when the aircraft was at rest, so I will address this minor problem with a wing spar.
The rudder is a separate part with large locating tabs. These will have to be removed or repositioned if the rudder is set at any angle other than dead ahead. The elevators are moulded as part of the upper horizontal tail parts. This assures a sharp trailing edge. The fabric surfaces of the rudder and elevators are convincingly done.
The assembly instructions are okay, but the paint callouts and camouflage guides are poor. The painting reference lists only RLM and FS numbers. No paint brands are mentioned. This is unhelpful for less experienced modellers.
The painting diagram has failed to capture the camouflage pattern of this well-documented aircraft. It suggests the wrong shaped mottles in the wrong places in the wrong quantities. The boxtop artwork is a more accurate guide if you don't have more specific reference.
Markings are supplied for one aircraft, TQ + XE. Full stencil data, including the prominent red walkway markings, is also provided.
DML/Dragon originally announced this model. The Hong Kong company will undoubtedly re-box this and other versions of the Ta 154.
The parts breakdown and engineering produce a different "feel" to earlier DML/Dragon and Revell-Mongram releases. This may indicate a closer collaboration between the companies than we have seen to date - the Ta 154 demonstrates the finesse of detail seen in DML kits, and the robust engineering typical of Revell-Monogram.
ProModeler's 1/48 scale Ta 154A-0 looks impressive in the box and should result in an accurate replica with little extra work.
Highly recommended for all Nachtjagd enthusiasts.
Review Copyright © 1999 by Brett