Manufacturer: ProModeler from Revell-Monogram, 8601 Waukegan Rd., Morton Grove, IL 60053-2295, 847-966-3500.
Kit: No. 5951
Comments: Injection molded, 135 parts, decals.
Pros: Good detail and a good representation of an interesting subject.
Cons: Warped and drooping wing, instruction assembly sequence seems awkward, some parts locations are vague.
German aircraft designer Kurt Tank developed the Ta 154 to meet the demand for an attack bomber built from non-strategic materials - in this case wood. At the time the design specification was issued in 1942 the Luftwaffe was likely impressed by Britain's comparable wooden wonder, the de Havilland Mosquito, which was doing much damage to the Reich in the air and on the ground. The Ta 154 was eventually developed into a night fighter. Unfortunately, the development of the Ta 154, later ironically dubbed the "Moskito," was slowed by problems and eventually Allied bombing destroyed essential factories. Still, somewhere between 60 and 100 aircraft were built, and a small number of them trickled into operational units of the night fighter force.
Pro-Modeler's new Ta 154 is the first 1/48th scale injection-molded kit of this World War II aircraft. It is cleanly molded in a soft neutral grey plastic that has a satin texture similar to kits made by Dragon (the original developers of this kit). A fairly comprehensive cockpit interior is provided. Options are limited to producing one specific machine, though unused parts and markings on the sprues indicate that more versions may be released.
A lot of the interior parts seemed thick, but once I started working with them I appreciated how well they fit. Their thickness was not visible on the exposed surfaces. Install the gun-port panels in the nose with quick-setting cement so they don't slide back inside. The lower gun ports are open to the cockpit, so I added plastic tubing here to represent the blast tube and close the view.
The instructions were a surprise; missing were ProModeler's usual pictures of the real aircraft (does a Ta 154 survive?). The assembly sequence would complicate painting, so I left off the props, landing gear, engines, and exhaust details until after the major painting was accomplished. The instructions never show the installation of the props into the cowls, but it's pretty obvious. There are no locators for the tiny air intakes (part No. E3), so I consulted my reference and drilled small holes for the parts' pins.
My sample's right top and bottom wing panels (B2 and B4) were warped. As the plastic was soft, I was able to adjust them with hot water. When I test fit the right wing to the fuselage I found it rested above the fuselage when it should have been even with the fuselage top. I was able to adjust this a bit by reducing the thickness of the wing tab.
Once I installed both wings to the fuselage I was confronted by obvious wing anhedral (droop). Reference photos show this to be incorrect. The solution was simple. When I installed the nacelles, the fit to the top surface of the wing was good, but the bottom showed gaps. I shimmed the outer seams with styrene strips. These not only closed the gaps, but corrected the outer wing anhedral!
The rest of the assembly went well, and I needed only a little filler on the wing leading edges where they meet the top root panel (G5), and on the trailing edge of the wings near the tips. The fuselage nose cap (A28) is a bit undersized, but after painting it isn't noticeable.
This kit is definitely a tail-sitter, so add as much weight as you can in the nose and the engine nacelles. Flattening the wheels and cementing the wheels on the axles will help keep the nose down, too. I painted my Moskito with Gunze Sangyo and Polly Scale paints. When replicating the spotted camouflage, use reference photos or the box art as your guide; the pattern on the instruction sheet is too sparse. Decals are given for one machine, a pre-production A-0 sub-type. They were a bit thick but went on well with normal amounts of decal setting solution.
An excellent reference for working with this kit is Monogram Publications Close-Up 22 Moskito by Jay P. Spenser. The kit scales out well when compared to the dimensions listed. I was able to finish my Ta 154 in 24 hours, and I'm impressed with the finished model. It captures the elegant twin-engine design and it makes an interesting companion to my other German night fighters. This kit presents a few challenges, so I would recommend it to those modelers who can handle a bit of planning and improvisation.