Pacific Coast Models 1/32 Ta-152H-1

KIT #: 32008
PRICE: $69.95 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: New mold kit


             The Ta‑152H was developed from the Ra‑1/Ra‑6, a series of related designs submitted by Kurt Tank in response to a request from the RLM in late 1942 for a Hochleistungsjaeger, a high‑performance high altitude fighter.  When the Technischen Amt accepted the Focke‑Wulf proposals in mid‑1943, Tank was accorded the unusual honor of having the new type designated after him, rather than being given a new "Fw" designation.  The series became the Ta‑152, and the Ta‑152H was the only one of these to see any operational service before war's end.

     The Ta‑152H, with a longer fuselage and greater wingspan than any other Focke‑Wulf Fw‑190 development, first appeared in prototype form in late 1944, when the Ta‑152 V3, V4 and V5 were delivered to Langenhagen.  Powered by a Jumo 213E in‑line engine, and armed with a 30mm Mk108 Motorkannon and two 20mm MG151s in the wing roots, the airplane had a pressurized cockpit that gave the equivalent cabin altitude of 16,500 ft. at 35,000 ft.

     The first Ta‑152H‑0s - which lacked the wing fuel tanks and MW50 and GM1 systems of the operational Ta‑152H‑1 -, were in service with Erprobungskommando Ta152 in November and December 1944, under the command of Hauptmann Bruno Stolle.

     Most of the Ta‑152H‑1s delivered for operational service in February and March 1945 were equipped with the R11 Rustsatze, which included all‑weather instrumentation.  Approximately 150 Ta‑152H's were produced by the Focke‑Wulf factory at Cottbus before the factory was abandoned in the face of the Soviet advance in April 1945.

     One pilot who flew the Ta‑152H recalled that, "The flying characteristics of the Ta‑152H put all previous German fighters in the shade. Although I never flew the Me‑262, I would venture to say that the Ta‑152 was by far the superior when it came to dogfighting with the Allied fighters then in service. In my opinion, there was no better fighter in operational service at the time."

     Oberfeldwebel Willi Reischke of the Stabschwarm, JG301 ‑ the only unit to take the Ta‑152H into battle ‑ had the opportunity on April 14, 1945, to demonstrate the truth of what the Ta‑152H could do as a dogfighter.  The four aircraft of the Stabschwarm were scrambled to intercept two enemy fighters that were strafing ground targets a few miles from the field at Neustadt‑Glewe.  The Schwarmfuehrer's wingman unexplainably dove into the ground as the Germans dove to attack what turned out to be two Hawker Tempests. Reischke fastened on to one of them in a dogfight that never went above 500 feet AGL.  "At this altitude," recalled Reischke, "neither pilot could afford to make a mistake, and it was now that I began to fully appreciate what this airplane could do."

            He pulled tighter and tighter turns, never approaching the limits of the Ta‑152's capability.  When the Tempest pilot ‑ unable to shake his pursuer ‑ tried to flick turn in the opposite direction, Reischke gave him a full burst, and then his guns froze.  He stayed in position where his opponent would be able to see him, and literally flew New Zealand Warrant Officer O.J. Mitchell into the ground by forcing him to turn so tight the Tempest entered a high‑speed stall/spin.

     Reischke scored a total of 3 kills in the Ta‑152H in the closing weeks of April 1945.  His comrade, Feldwebel Joseph Keil, scored five kills during this time to become the only Ta‑152H ace 

     Reischke's airplane, "Green 6," was surrendered to the RAF at the end of the war. It was disassembled and flown to Farnborough, where it was reassembled and flown twice by British test pilot Eric Brown, who was not a fan of the aesthetic of the Ta‑152 in comparison to the earlier Fw‑190 series airplanes he had flown, though he was highly impressed by its power, even without the MW50.


            The Ta-152H-1 has been released in 1/32 scale once before, when Jerry Rutman first brought out his 1/32 all-resin Ta-152H-1 a few years back.  This kit by Pacific Coast Models is the first release of a kit of this airplane in this scale in injection molded plastic.  As such, it is a much easier kit to build that the Rutman resin kit.  The limited-run plastic parts and resin are by Sword, with a fret of photoetch detail and seatbelts by Eduard, with decals by Cartograf.  A modeler should use the corrected number sheet for markings, since that sheet has the correct shade of Grun 25.  The very good Cartograf decals provide markings for the four Ta-152H-1s flown by the JG 301 Stabschwarm, and a very good color profile for each of these aircraft (which were each painted differently) is done by aviation artist Richard Caruana.

            When this kit was first released, there was a flurry of criticism that it was incorrect - that it provided a radiator similar to the Fw-190D-9 that the Ta-152H-1 didn't use, that the landing gear had problems, that the engine plug was incorrect for the Jumo 213, and that there was no washout in the wings.  From my review of the kit and my experience building it, none of this criticism is accurate, other than the very minor criticism that the retraction gear is incorrect, which is a problem with a very easy solution.  In fact, having read the early comments, I was initially under the impression that the kit had been corrected, but I have been assured by Ken Lawrence that there has never been a correction to the kit.  I can assure anyone who buys any of these kits that it is right in all the major points.


            Construction begins with cleaning up the plastic parts, since there is some slight flash, and in taking the resin parts off the molding blocks.  In the case of the main gear wheel wells, this is a very involved process, since the block covers the top of the gear well, which is supposed to be a curved surface when finished.  Thank goodness for a plug-in Dremel tool, since I would have run the batteries out at least once accomplishing this bit of cleanup. 

            I then divided the model into two major sub-assemblies:  wing and fuselage.

            The lower wing comes in three parts.  I glued the wheel wells into position on the lower center section, then attached up upper wing halves.  Then I glued the lower outer wing parts in position.  I needed both cyanoacrylate glue and Mr. Surface to fill the seams, plus several sessions with different grit sanding sticks to get smooth surfaces and leading edges.  I then painted the engine plug and glued it in position. I also found that with careful assembly, it is possible to put in the proper degree of “washout” in the wing.  If you are clumsy in this, you will end up with no washout in the wing.  This is subtle enough (there was only a 2 degree washout) that you really only notice it when looking at the trailing edge in edge-on profile.

            The fuselage was easy.  I glued the resin exhaust stacks in position, then glued the upper rear cockpit decking.  I painted the resin cockpit and the interior area of the cockpit with Tamiya “German Grey,” then detail painted the instrument panel and the side consoles.  This was glued in position and I glued the fuselage halves together, finishing off by attaching the resin plug for the radiator interior.  I also needed cyanoacrylate glue and Mr. Surfacer on the centerline seam here.

            After test-fitting the wing and sanding where necessary to get a good join, I glued the wing to the fuselage, and used some large rubber bands to pull the wing up and get a good solid join on the upper wing-fuselage joint.  I attached the radiator cowling at this time.  I needed cyanoacrylate glue and Mr. Surfacer on all these seams. 

            Overall, none of the filling and sanding was anything one would not expect with a limited-run kit, and once done with the panel lines rescribed where necessary, all that was needed to finish the airframe was to attach the horizontal stabilizers.

            I found when I assembled the landing gear that I needed to sand the mounting peg at the end of the gear strut to fit its mounting hole, which was smaller in diameter.  I also had to cut off about 1/4 inch of the top end of the gear door for it to fit properly in the extended position.



            I decided to do Josef Keil's “Green 3,” which was in RLM 75/82 uppers and RLM76 for the lower surface.  I used Gunze-Sangyo paints for this and freehanded the camouflage following the very complete painting diagram provided. I then gave the model a coat of Xtracrylix Gloss Varnish.  The biggest problem was mixing the Grun 25 for the spinner to match the color of the decal number.


            The kit decals when on without problem.  I used some additional decals from the dungeon for the wing walk outline.


            I gave the model a coat of Xtracrylix Flat Varnish, followed by some light exhaust staining with Tamiya Smoke.  I figured since these airplanes only saw operational life for a few weeks that they were likely not to have been weathered or dinged.  I then attached the landing gear, for which I used the too-small 20mm cannons as the gear retraction struts, having replaced those with 20mm cannon barrels from a Hasegawa Bf-109G kit.  The prop was attache, and I then unmasked the canopy and placed it in the open position.


            This is an easy model for anyone with some experience with limited-run kits, and makes up into an impressive model with a 21-inch wingspan.  The model looks very good next to my Hasegawa Fw-190s and rounds out the collection of Wurgers.  The kit is highly recommended.

Review kit courtesy of my wallet.

Tom Cleaver

January 2010

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