Academy 1/72 Fi-156 'Storch'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The 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 for its excellent STOL performance and low stall speed of 31 mph (50 km/h). The type was also built in the Soviet Union, France, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. French-built later variants often appear at air shows.
The Fi-156 has been a fairly popular subject in 1/72 scale with kits produced by Heller and Airfix. These two kits have been extensively reboxed by other companies. The Academy kit came into existence around 1998. This is the 2003 boxing that includes a kubelwagen.
The interior is fairly Spartan consisting of a pair of seats, control stick and instrument panel. As you'd expect, the glazing is fairly extensive and somewhat complex. The kit provides a separate nose (undoubtedly to accommodate the MS.500's radial engine).
Wings are upper and lower halves that fit onto tabs on the glazing's roof piece. These are supported by two strut sections on each side and will be quite sturdy when dry. The landing gear is appropriately spindly with each side consisting of three pieces. Wheels, tail skid and various antennas complete the kit.
Provided in a separate poly bag is a kubelwagen that has about as many pieces as the aircraft itself. This consists of a floor pan onto which an engine shape with axle stubs and a front suspension piece are attached. This then gets the wheels glued on.
Flip it over to attach the seats, engine piece, side panels, hood rear seat and such. The kit provides two tops so you can model it top up or down. There are even pioneer tools, a spare tire and clear windscreen which can be folded down if one wishes.
Instructions are well done and you are provided two markings options. One is the appropriate Afrika Korps option shown on the box art. The other is a standard RLM 70/71/65 splinter scheme with a plane on the eastern front. There are aftermarket canopy and camouflage mask sets available for this kit and they are recommended. Decals are nicely printed and there are aftermarket options, which you will need as no swastikas are provided.
Many years ago, I built the Heller version of this kit and found that while the struts were a bit fiddly, the kit went together fairly well. This one should be even better in terms of fit.
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