The Focke-Wulf Ta 152C was Kurt Tank's finest fighter, and the one which represented the pinnacle of mainstream development of the Fw 190 line. Series production orders for the Ta 152C had been placed in October 1944, but the actual production was only just beginning when Allied forces overran the assembly plants, so this fighter never entered service with the Luftwaffe.
The Ta-152C was the airplane Kurt Tank was thinking of when he told the pilots of III/JG54 that the Fw-190D-9 they had just converted onto was "a provisional type."
The Ta 152B has originally been envisaged as having interchangeable Jumo 213 or DB 603, but with the approval of the Ta 152C the Jumo 213 was to be standardised for this version. However, it was decided to give higher priority to the Ta 152C, and only three prototypes of the Ta 152B-series were completed before the war came to an end.
In August 1944, following the stoppage of the Ta 152B program permission was granted to adapt the Ta 152B airframe to the DB603 series engine. Kurt Tank, who all the time favoured the Daimler-Benz powerplant, made a maximum effort to bring the new type forward, utilizing as much of the B-series airframe as possible. Plans were afoot to commence production deliveries from the Roland Group by April 1945.
The Ta 152C with the lighter DB 603 engine was otherwise identical to the Ta 152B. The MW 50 boost installation was standard, and cabin pressurisation was deleted from the specifications to shorten development time and simplify production. During December 1944 and January 1945, the first Ta 152C-O service test aircraft joined the test program. The definitive production version was to be the Ta 152C-1, and it was hoped that the first examples could be rolling off the production lines in April of 1945.
The Ta 152C-1 was powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 603LA twelve-cylinder liquid cooled engine and very heavily armed with one engine-mounted 30-mm MK 108 cannon, two fuselage-mounted 20-mm MG 151 cannon plus two wing-mounted 20-mm MG252 cannon. The maximum speed was a whopping 740 km/h at 11 500 meters using MW 50.
When I set my mind on building a Ta 152C, the choice of the kit wasn't difficult. The only Ta 152 available in 1/48 scale is Dragon's Ta 152H, also known from the Trimaster and Italeri boxings. As Ta 152H differed very significantly from the "C" model, in engine installation and wing configuration, the excessive conversion was imminent.
My greatest concern at this stage was finding the appropriate pieces for the conversion. Scratchbuilding, while feasible, usually gives more headache during construction. Given the necessary surgery of the fuselage I was concerned about the structural strength of the multi-part Dragon Ta 152H fuselage. Also, scratchbuilding the entire Ta 152C wing would be a massive undertaking.
Luckily I got my hands on Fusion Models set no. 4806. Better still, upon opening the box I could not believe the excellent quality of the pieces! The set consisted of an instruction sheet, decals and 17 excellently cast resin parts. These were devoid of air bubbles or other imperfections, indeed you could compare these castings to the best injection-moulding by Tamiya!
The construction started conventionally with the cockpit and fuselage interior. Soon the nose was cut off to insert the new resin one.
The Ta 152H wings were sawn off just outside of the cannon, paying attention to limit the damage to the surface detail to the necessary minimum. Another surprise, the fit of the wings matched the quality of resin - the wing profile matched exactly and there was only a little filling and sanding required.
The rest of model was built as per Dragon kit instructions.
The airframe was then painted following the scheme from the instruction sheet, with RLM 75/83 upper surfaces and RLM 76 underside. Some panels on the underside of the wing and fuselage were "left in natural metal" to reflect the now well-known paint-saving practice of the final war years in Germany.
The paints used were:
The weathering was done following the photos of the original air, of which luckily there are many. The most prominent aspects of the weathering are the exhaust stains and simulation of chipped paint.
The Fusion Model decals (of excellent quality) were applied following the traditional application of Micro Sol and Micro Set, which was enough to disguise decal film completely.
In order to protect all the models I use a satin acrylic varnish from Windsor & Newton, applying two fine layers with an interval of 50 minutes between them.
Finishing touches included attaching the remaining small details and adding an antenna wire.
Additional images, click to enlarge