Media: Injected Plastic
Decals: One version, the v7 prototype
Date of review 7 February, 1997
I aquired this kit just before Xmas, so have only recently been able to make a start on it.
First impressions upon opening the box are vey good. The kit contains 58 delicately moulded components in Dragons usual light grey plastic for the main assemblies, a clear two part canopy, a small etched steel sheet containing 12 parts, a decal sheet for the V7 prototype and a large, clear instruction sheet . Worth noting too is the box art; an atmospheric painting of the Ta 152 downing a ( ? ) Yak 3.
Construction is straightforward enough, although there are a few errors on the instruction sheet, namely the cockpit side consoles are the swapped over and the undercarriage doors suffer from the same error.
The cockpit assembly is comprehensive, consisting of a two part instrument panel , joystick, seat, the aforementioned consoles and a pair of dainty rudder pedals. These are, unfortunately, almost invisible when the fuselage is assembled, but hey, I know they're in there! One point to bear in mind when painting the inside of the fuselage is to paint behind the cockpit too, as this area will be visible later due to the canopy being fitted on a rail. I omitted to paint this, and was left with a light grey, rather than schwarzgrau, area.
The rest of the construction process is straightforward, although fit of some parts is poor to say the least; the air intake on the left hand side (surely the mother of all intakes...have you seen the size of this thing?) had about a 0.5mm gap where it should have been flush against the fuselage. In addition, the two wing upper surfaces left a gap of about 1mm both sides of the fuselage. These however were filled easily with liquid paper and milliput respectively. One final problem with the wings is that, whilst the undercarriage bay roofs are complete and nicely detailed on the upper wing halves, the part of the bay in the centre ( i.e. under the cockpit floor ) is a gaping hole straight up giving a lovely view of the beautifully smooth and undetailed cockpit floor and fuselage sides. However, it is only the work of a moment to fill the gap with a piece of plasticard and a bit of stretched sprue detailing.
These were the only problems I had during construction. Two things I would recommend though are to remove parts B23 and 24 ( undercarriage retraction jacks ) from the sprue prior to commencing assembly, as the locating pin extends well below the sprue, thus meaning they may get damaged when handling the sprue. Also, the detailing on the cowling of the cooling gills is very poor and will probably need to be rescribed or replaced with plastic card and deployed open.
As with a lot of kits of Luftwaffe aircraft, I found the colour scheme vague. In the end I went for an RLM 76 and silver underneath (actually Metalcote polished aluminium) with RLM 70, 75, 81 and 82 on the upper surfaces, which certainly looks the part, but is probably wrong!
The final stage is decaling and this was quite a smooth process. Many alternative decals are provided, for example there are 3 or 4 different fuel triangles. Quite why this is I am unsure; did the aircraft use different fuels throughout its life ? Anyway, truth be known, they are so small that it is hard to see what type of triangle is used. Still, the decals applied easily and reacted well to setting agents. Last grumble now...where are the swastikas??? O.k., I'm sure we've all got a sheet or two in our collections, but this really does annoy me. That marking was part of the aircraft, just like the guns, propeller, paint, Balkenkreuz... so why omit it? Why not omit the guns as they were (potentially) more lethal? I know it is now seen as a symbol of intolerance and racial hatred, but in that case why not omit red stars from soviet aircraft (as the Russians were just as guilty of horrific crimes as the Germans ) and Hinomarus from Japanese aircraft?
Phew, I feel better now! Back to the review. This is a basically very good kit. It goes together with little trouble and what problems there are are easy to correct and are in accessible places.
Review by Duncan Flint
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