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First Look Review
Focke-Wulf Ta-152H-0
  • Drag_Ta152H_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

Considering how popular the Ta 152H is among Luftwaffe enthusiasts, it's very surprising that there's only been a single 1/48 scale mainstream kit of the aircraft. Luckily, it's a very good one and, despite being almost 20 years old now, the Dragon (ex-Trimaster) Ta 152H can still sit happily alongside the latest releases.

Since it first appeared in 1989, the basic kit has been available in a number of forms. The original Trimaster model (sold as an 'H-1, not an 'H-0) included extensive white metal and etched parts. With the demise of Trimaster, the model was re-engineered by Dragon to replace most of the white metal parts with styrene equivalents and cut down the number of etched extras, which disappeared entirely in some subsequent re-boxings. The kit first appeared with a detailed engine and this was also omitted later (notably in Italeri's simplified version of the model that appeared a few years ago).

Now Dragon have re-released the Ta 152H complete with its original engine parts and a set of etched details, making this the closest to the original Trimaster version that I've seen. Arriving in a very attractive "Dragon Expo" box adorned with artwork courtesy of Eagle Editions, the kit comprises:

124 x grey styrene parts
5 x clear styrene parts
19 x etched metal parts
Decals for two colour schemes

The moulding is generally excellent and there's basically not a trace of flash to give away the age of the moulds. There are a couple of small points to watch out for that have appeared in every release including Trimaster's original: a touch of sinkage on the fuselage alongside the cockpit and ejector pins showing on the exterior of the wing top surface. Neither are a major headache and few minutes' work will rectify them.

Surface finish consists of precisely engraved panel lines, with raised hinges etc., plus subtly depicted fabric-covered control surfaces. A test fit of the major parts is pretty good - the fit isn't as precise as some recent kits, but nothing that modellers with a bit of experience can't cope with. Those long wings are a little drooped - something true in every version of the kit I've got, even Trimaster's. (I've read elsewhere on the internet that Trimaster's wings weren't warped, as though it was, somehow, Dragon's "fault" in subsequent releases - well, all I can say is that they are in the original Trimaster kit in my stash.)

It's great to see the Jumo 213 back again. The engine is crisply moulded and, combined with a 30 mm MK108 cannon, comprises nearly 40 parts. A cradle is provided should you wish to display the engine separately. The original kit included etched ignition wiring etc. and wire to make piping out of; that's all gone now, but the styrene engine is still impressive in itself.

The 13-part cockpit is neatly detailed with well formed instrument panels and consoles and is rounded off with an etched seat harness.

One part that suffered after Trimaster folded was the canopy. It's still nice and clear with precise framing, but someone, in their wisdom, re-engineered it with unrealistic slots on the inside for the plastic headrest that replaced Trimaster's original etched piece. Dragon have reinstated the etched headrest here, but the slots are still present, so it looks like the canopy mould must have been modified irretrievably at that time.

Instructions & Decals
The assembly diagrams are clearly laid out, unchanged for the most part from the 1980s instructions. Colour matches are included for Gunze Sangyo paints.

Dragon have included decals for a pair of Ta 152Hs - "Green 1" and "Green 9", both of Stab/JG 301. No W.Nr are included, but the decals mark a real change for Dragon in that swastikas are provided. True, they're split into two elements that must be assembled to form the offending items, but it's very welcome to see them included (and, of course, swastikas are easily obtainable on aftermarket sheets if you prefer).

The decals are printed by Cartograph with quite a matt finish. Carrier film is minimal and the thin items show precise registration. I'm wary of the green used for the unit insignia; it may darken when the decals are applied, but on the sheet it's too much of an "apple green" compared with my references.

It's great to see Dragon's Ta 152H again and looking in such good shape. Considering that it's been in production, on and off, for nearly twenty years, the moulds are in remarkably good condition. It's not overly complex (unless you choose to fit the engine), but it's also not a kit for total beginners. In skilled hands, though, it'll build into a very impressive addition to any Luftwaffe collection.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well detailed and crisply moulded styrene parts. Good etched details.
Lows: A couple of minor moulding marks to clean up, and wing-droop to watch out for. Suspect colour of decal numerals.
Verdict: The ex-Trimaster Ta 152H is still looking great, despite its age. This release sees the detailed engine reinstated and can build into a very impressive model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 5539
  Suggested Retail: Not known
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 23, 2008

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Hi Rowan an Neil food for thought: look how the spinner/prop looks lighter than the engine colour. Sadly the angle is not like in the other picture so the sun light reflects both on concarv surfaces in this pic while it is concave (spinner) and convex (propblade) on the captured Ta above greets Steffen
AUG 24, 2008 - 06:37 AM
Hi Steffen I've found a third photo of Green 9 after capture in Monogram's "German Aircraft Interiors 1939-45 Vol. 1". Unlike the other two photos I've got, this seems to have been taken on a different occasion and it shows little, if any, apparent contrast between the spinner and propeller blades. All the best Rowan
AUG 24, 2008 - 07:58 PM
Hi Rowan Many thanks for the addition. This is exactly what i was trying to put into discussion with my post above. Anyway the only "fool proof" evidence would be the capture report (I know it has a different name, but I cannot remember it). best wishes Steffen
AUG 24, 2008 - 09:19 PM
Hi Steffen As I was in touch with Eagle Editions, I had a bright idea and asked Jerry Crandall if he could help explain the "Green 9" mystery. His reply is extremely informative and explains the discrepancy between the photos: "Hi Rowan; Thanks for your note. Regarding the “Green 9” color issue, when it was captured it had a black spinner with a white spiral. This is documented by a RAF report describing this Ta 152 when it was captured. For some reason, for the Farnborough exhibition, the spinner was repainted red with a white spiral. The color description on this RAF document describes the lower surfaces as being light blue and the upper two tone green. It does not mention anything about portions of the underwing being unpainted, but it is very possible as NASM’s 152 seems to have portions of its underwing unpainted. Hope this helps you... Jerry" So the pale spinner was real enough (red, not green) - but only courtesy of the RAF! All the best Rowan
AUG 27, 2008 - 07:03 AM
Hi Rowan Great piece of information! greets Steffen
AUG 27, 2008 - 07:46 AM
Hi again Steffen Yes - it proves the value of exactly the RAF report you suggested. All the best Rowan
AUG 27, 2008 - 07:55 AM
I have a 1/72 scale Dragon kit of the Ta-152. I wonder if this would be a good aircraft to use the color RLM 84. This sky green color is often debated as to whether it was actually used or not. Input welcome. Russell
AUG 27, 2008 - 09:02 AM
Hi Russell I'm thinking along those lines too. While the official colour called for was RLM 76, there is sometimes variation evident in photos due, in all likelihood, to the use of pre-painted subassemblies as was done with the Fw 190. RLM 76 varied in both colour and tone, particularly towards the end of the war - and, although I haven't yet seen hard evidence for its use on the Ta 152, I don't think "RLM 84" can be ruled out either for at least partial use on some machines. Part of the underside of the wings is also clearly n/m on some Ta 152s - but others seem to have been fully painted. All the best Rowan
AUG 27, 2008 - 11:24 PM
Excellent review, Rowan. I agree with you on the numbers. I have the Kagero JG 301 book as well and will also use the decals from the book. Very nice to see how a review can turn into a very informative discussion.
SEP 14, 2008 - 10:38 PM

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