Tristar 1/35 Fieseler Fi-156C-3/trop Storch

KIT #: 35049
PRICE: $44.95 SRP 
DECALS: Six Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes canopy masks


Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (English: Stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. Production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous to this day for its excellent STOL performance; French-built later variants often appear at air shows.

Visit the reference link for more information on this long-lived aircraft.

There are not a whole lot of aircraft kits in 1/35, aside from a few helicopters and a resin kit or two. This puts this Tristar kit in pretty rare air. It also means that this one is probably geared more towards the military vehicle builder who wants to use it in a diorama than it is to the aircraft builder who would prefer it in 1/32. However, there are enough of us who build kits of subjects they like regardless of scale and so it was that I picked this one up when it was on sale.

The first thing that struck me is how well the parts are molded. I was also impressed that every sprue was in its own polybag. I then noticed that there were two sets of wings with the ones on the main sprue not being used. The difference between these is that the ones that were separate has less 'fabric' and what looked like additional fuel areas. This tells me that either an earlier version was or was planned on being kitted. I was also impressed by the fact that the main landing gear legs have wire imbedded in them. This is a much better idea than having the very thin upper portions in plastic.

The kit comes with a complete engine, which makes it nice if you want to leave off the cowling side panels, something often done to improve cooling. The only options I saw were to have a tail wheel or a skid, and the back seat either a standard high back seat or a round version that allows quick access to the machine gun. I guess if one were carrying a VIP, then one wouldn't be using the rear gun.

You would expect a model of this plane to be a bit fiddly and there are a lot of small parts; especially for the aileron/flap hinges and for the interior tube framework. Since each of the hinges is two pieces, it seems one can model the ailerons/flaps in the lowered position.  I liked that most of the cockpit glass was a single casting to which one adds the door and the parts that undercut the rest of the clear bits on the lower section. For under the fuselage there is a fuel tank which was often carried.

Instructions are well drawn, showing where all the bits go and their colors. Color information is provided with Gunze and Tamiya references. While no RLM numbers are provided, most of us can figure out what is what. There is a very large decal sheet, printed by Cartograf, that provides quite a few options. This is good as I figure aftermarket sheets in 1/35 will not be happening.

There are six options. First is the box art plane in what looks to be either RLM 78/79/80 or the Italian equivalents, as often times, only Italian paints were easily available. This plane isfrom 2(H)/14 in early 1941. Next is one from 1/JG 54 in Russia during 1942 in the standard RLM 70.71/65 scheme. Next, with invasion stripes, is a French AF version from Gr3/33 right after the war. It is in RLM 71/65 with yellow under the wing tips. An Italian version from Albania during 1942 is next. This seems to be in a standard Italian mottle scheme for the time. Two very post war planes are next. First a Czech version  in light grey with red cowling and horizontal stabs, registered OK-BZD. The other is a Polish AF version in dark green over light grey with nothing other than insignia is six places. Also included in the kit are a set of canopy masks, a very thoughtful addition.

In all, it looks like it will build into a very nice model. It has more than enough detail to satisfy most and even in this rather large size, should still leave room on the shelf.


September 2012

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