Zoukei-Mura | 1/32 Focke Wulf Ta 152H-0 Super Wing Series No. 11
Reviewed by Damian Andrus
This kit, the 1/32 Ta 152H-0, is the second variant of the iconic Ta 152 produced by the Japanese company Zoukei-Mura. As depicted on the box it's number eleven in their 1/32 scale Super Wing Series; its predecessor, the Ta 152H-1, was released in 2010 as second in the SWS.
The kit presents in a well-built box, with an image of "Green 4" of Stab/JG 301 attacking a group of B-24 Liberators in the hotly contested skies over Europe.
- 7 sprues in gray plastic, 5 in common with the H-1, 2 dedicated to the H-0
- 1 sprue in clear plastic, well protected by foam sheet
- 1 sheet of canopy masks
- 1 large sheet of decals
- 2 Instruction booklets: 1 short for H-0, 1 long for H-1
H-0 vs. H-1, the Aircraft
The Ta 152H-0 was the preproduction of the Ta 152H series. There were approximately 40 examples produced at Cottbus, Germany before the end of the conflict. The H-0 differed from the H-1 in that the latter had six internal wing fuel cells. Six fewer hatches on the underside of the inboard wings is diagnostic of the H-0 variant. The kit is correct in this regard.
Ta 152H-0 W.Nr. 150010 at the NASM's Silver Hill Restoration Facility is the prototype for the Z-M H-0 and H-1 kits. An obscure detail - the NASM aircraft is one of two H-0's to be fitted with a wooden tail unit. It is almost impossible to visually distinguish between the wooden and metal tail, so the modeler may change markings without concern.
H-0 vs. H-1, the Kit
Z-M's approach to the H-0 kit differs in a couple of important ways from the H-1:
Firstly, the H-1 was molded in three colors of plastic: gray, black, silver plus clear. This gave some the impression the kit was more toy-like even though it was finely molded and certainly not a toy. Unfortunately, perceptions, at times, can be reality.
Second, there were those who thought the H-1 tooling was a bit too emphatic and could do with more restraint, for example, rivets too prominent or aggressive, not enough subtlety in panel line demarcations, and so forth.
None were deal-breakers, just a bit irksome to those modelers who were after the Holy Grail of Ta 152s.
Fortunately, Z-M's management took these criticisms to heart, then went about correcting the problems which involved a good deal of expensive tool modification.
- The rivets, domed and recessed, are much more subtle and closer to scale.
- The panel lines are thinner and more refined.
- A new gray plastic instrument panel with backs of the instruments is included.
- A new, finely tooled cowling louver panel is included.
These modifications were performed on both the new H-0 and original H-1 parts. Kudos to Zoukei-Mura for listening to the concerns from modelers.
Instruction Booklets for H-0 & H-1
The H-0 two sheet booklet contains changes in parts related specifically to the H-0 variant, three profiles of aircraft markings - "Green 4" of Stab/JG 301, "Yellow 1" of 3./III./JG 301, "White 7" of 1./III/JG 301 and decal placement instructions. The H-1 booklet contains the building instructions common to both variants of the aircraft.
The decal sheet includes markings for the three aircraft mentioned in the instructions, plus extra tactical numbers in yellow and black. Also included are national markings as well as a complete set of maintenance stencils.
Details: Fuselage & Cowling
The parts in this section are very well done - detail is sharp, yet subtle enough not to overpower a thin coat of paint. It's also nice to have the open/closed cowl flap option.
Prop & Spinner
Prop is very well done and accurate in profile according to period photographs. There are slight tooling marks on the edge of the blade openings of the spinner, but should only take a few seconds to clear up.
The engine is a real gem - highly detailed with no flash to trim away. The exhaust stack openings are slightly recessed to give an appearance of being hollow; they're a good start if you want to drill them out. The supercharger is nicely detailed, as is the engine bearer arm. There's appropriate plumbing for the rest of the compartment, as well.
Canopy and Cockpit
The canopy, including windscreen, is sharply molded, very clear and mimics the original well. I like the option of molded in belts or not, something for everyone. The head armor, cushion and fairing will take a bit of scraping, no big deal. The Instrument panel is well laid out. The bezels are bit on the heavy side,however. Overall, the cockpit has lots of detail and should build up very nicely. An indicator of the completeness of the kit cockpit is the lack of aftermarket products.
Wings & Control Surfaces
The H-0 kit wing surfaces are more refined than those of the H-1, one of the benefits of Z-M re-tooling. The wing leading edge is very similar to their Mosquito, molded to eliminate the seam between top and bottom halves. The interior surface of the landing flaps is smartly detailed, unfortunately, not so for the flap area on the wing underside. There are five ejector pin marks between the flap ribs; four can be dealt with in a fairly simple manner. The most inboard is in a pretty tight spot, but it's doable. On the up side, if you choose not to fill they won't be seen in top and side views. I'm curious to see how the wing fillet snuggles in to the opening in the side of the fuselage.
The control surfaces are separate and appear to be accurately molded. The stitching seams may stand a little bit proud, but can be easily scrubbed down with fine steel wool to a more scale look if so desired. Certainly easier to take down than to build up.
The landing gear struts are highly detailed and substantial. Z-M provides a positive locking system so the legs should do the job without the need for replacement. Main wheels and tires are provided as separate parts; brake lines on the wheels are a nice touch. The tail wheel strut is nice and beefy as well, so there should be no problem when the built kit sits on the shelf.
The 30 mmm Mk 108 cannon is nicely done, though you may not see much of it when in place. The 20 mm MG151 barrels have recessed openings to give a bit of dimension, saves having to drill, replace with brass tubing or aftermarket.
The Zoukei-Mura 1/32 Ta 152H-0 kit is an excellent depiction of the prototype, a kit which I highly recommend you consider. This is the first Z-M kit I've had the opportunity to examine closely and it is impressive. Especially attractive is Z-M attention to detail and their exceptional response to modeler feedback. With more releases, assuming of this quality, the company's future looks very bright in the modeling world.
Many thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review kit, which can be purchased at the following link:
The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 Monarch 3
by Thomas H. Hitchcock, Eagle Editions Ltd., Hamilton, MT, USA, 2010, ISBN 978-0-914144-53-3
Focke Wulf Jagdflugzeug FW 190A FW190 "Dora" Ta 152H
By Peter Rodeike, Stuve-Druck, Eutin, Germany, 1998, ISBN 3-923 457-44-8
© Damian Andrus 2016
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This review was published on Saturday, April 23 2016; Last modified on Thursday, April 28 2016