Pioneer 1/72 Ta-154 'Moskito'

KIT: Pioneer 1/72 Ta-154 'Moskito'
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $6.00
DECALS: Yes
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: Pioneer/PM/Revell all have the same kit w the same flaws

HISTORY

Kurt Tank was either a genius, or a man who was hell bent on blowing the Fuhrer’s money on wild ideas. Both schools of thought have some merit, though I tend to side with the “genius” label, especially in view of some of his inspired works and improvements on available airframes of the time. The infamous Mosquito of Great Britain had definitely made an impression on the German staff, the lightweight construction, large engines, and ease of manufacture made it an aircraft to not only be envied, but also emulated.

  The Moskito (clever name, huh?) of the RLM did not have the successful career of the allied version. The nose gear was apt to crushing on a landing, making a three-point a two point, I suppose, with the mainframe doing a lovely endo to end be hauled off to the scrap-heap later on.  The laminate plywood was faulty in many of the craft, some fingers point to sabotage (or if you are William Shatner: Sabotaige) from the enslaved workforce made to produce the weapons of their captor’s. 

  If the design had been given enough room to grow, it may well have proven to be a powerful fighter and ground attack aircraft. It was light and nimble, responded to the skillful pilot in a fashion unparalleled by comparable twin-engine designs of the time. Some of the nightfighter chassis had “Jazz Music” guns installed, pointing up out of the fuselage at a high angle, the airplane, guided in by the r.i.o., would fly underneath bomber formations and cut loose with some serious firepower, tearing into the Lancasters above, gutting them in the bomb bay.

  Many have complained of the large engines blocking the pilot’s view, but realistically, in the ground attack role, or as a nightfighter, the pilot’s peripheral view wasn’t too important. The radio intercept officer would have provided the data for a night attack, and the view directly to the front was unhindered, especially with the short nose.

   My version features a slightly altered control surface on the wings, new antennae, and undermount missiles, as a Luftwaffe 46 plane.

THE KIT

 What can you say about this kit? Not much and still kiss your mom on the cheek and go to church on Sundays. It is a dog in the truest sense, as far of a cry from Tamigawa as one can get, which is exactly why I loved it. There is something fun about a bit of a challenge, and with a kit that is this badly formed, you can let your imagination run rampant. This is a bit of a danger with a loon like me, though.

For some odd reason, two of the sprues are molded in dark grey, and one in light grey. Hmmm. Maybe the work shift ended early in Turkey that day? Beer-thirty? As has been noted by other, more austere authors, the plastic is soft and weak, with limited detail. Break out the sheet styrene, and the spares box.  Decals are best circular-canned, find some spares or get a sheet of generic Luftwaffe items.

CONSTRUCTION

The single page of instructions clue you in quickly as to what you have gotten mired into.  The cockpit floor is a slab of styrene, the seats are Lazyboys, and there is one control stick that sticks up as an afterthought. Using the kit base, I scratched up some seats, side control panels, and a rio viewing station in under half of an hour. Even thought the kit pit is small, it is worth your time to spend a little while dressing up the cowpie.

   The wings go together easily, and unlike so many of the other reports I have heard, they were not at all warped. Maybe the Turkish beer worked? I did need to do some seam filling along the engine nacelles where they meet the wing, Mr. Surfacer would work well, but I used my mixture of white glue and baby powder, as I like the way it smooths out in a 90 degree joint.

      Since the gear is meant to go into the nacelle halves prior to gluing, I used the old trick of cutting out a chunk of the tube depressions on the interior nacelle, so that the landing bits can be fitted into the airframe after painting (this is illustrated in my P-38 NightLightning build). http://modelingmadness.com/reviews/allies/us/usaaf/ewald38m.htm

   With the fuselage put together, it is time to test fit the wing assembly. Do not try to glue this thing in, and then sand to fit. That way lays danger! It took about two hours to get the wing to ride into the slot of the fuselage well, and even though it fit o.k., there was still a lot of PSR (putty sand repeat) until the seams felt flush. Using a gel glue, fit the wing, and check it for level against the tail structure.

   I drilled out the weapon’s ports with a pin vise, the closer to any sort of reality, the better with this one.

COLORS & MARKINGS

  With a kit like this, you just have to experiment, so I rang up my wife who was at the craft store, and asked her to pick up some US G.I. Silly String.. With a flat primer coat of Krylon white, I sprayed the plane from about ten feet away, then let the string dry.  I oversprayed the craft with a dark grey, then removed the string particles with a few gentle tugs and rubs.  Using dark yellow, red brown, and olive drab, I airbrushed on some topcoats of different colours for a bit of depth. Once this was dry, the whole craft was sealed with clear satin.

   Panels were tinted using Min-Wax wood stain “Puritan Pine”, just enough to give some distinction to the different lines. Decals from a series of Revell kits managed to give me the night-time markings I required, and they went down well with some micro-sol and an application of Future.  No swastika was put on, as in this story line, the German Nazi party has collapsed.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

The kit radar posts are meant to be some sort of plumbing, as far as I can tell, so I ended up using a selection of bits from the spare bin to make my “top only” night guidance system Some fine stretched sprue goes into the topside antennae, to complete the delicate little plane

CONCLUSIONS

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Hey, for six bucks, what do you want?  It is a neat kit, once you get past the major issues of fit, plastic, and instructions.  Whoa, wait a minute…

REFEENCES

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke-Wulf_Ta_154

 http://www.geocities.com/lastdingo/aviation/ta154.htm

 http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/ta154bar.html

Greg Ewald

February 2008

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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