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Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: Revell
Ref No: 04535
Material: IM

Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito
Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito
Kit Review
Let me start by saying that I have quoted #04535 as the kit number, but I actually made this one from the lower element of the Ta 154 Mistel composite kit #04824 produced by Revell in 2012. All of them are based on the Dragon tooling (#5522) first released in 1996.

This is a typical Dragon kit from the 1990s, nicely moulded with fine recessed detail and in its original guise coming with photo-etched detail parts, but in this Revell reissue, you just get the plastic. I had #04535 in the collection already, but that is due to have the AlleyCat conversion added to it, so I removed the Ta 154 sprues from the Revell reissue of the Mistel version and used them instead as that kit comes with all the parts for the standard night-fighter on the sprues. 
The interior was made from-the-box, the only additions being some 'Super Fabric' seat belts from Eduard. The interior was painted black first (Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black), then the middle of each panel was sprayed RLM 66, followed by a light application overall of RLM 66 to level it all out and create shadows. I am not one for weathering, but if its your scene you can add washes, filters and pigments to dirty up the interior, as it's pretty dark as is. The insets for the guns on either side of the nose don't fit that well and in filling and sanding out the gaps you will wipe out all the moulded detail - annoying. The fuselage is beautifully smooth, due to the wooden nature of the original, but don't forget to open up the holes in each half for the dorsal strengthening pieces, I did! I left off the separate rudder for now, as it's a snug fit and won't need glue.
The engine nacelles are OK, although the fit of the supercharger intake fronts (#F4 & F5) are not that good, so you will end up doing some fiddly filling and sanding to get it all flush. I added quite a bit of weight into the front of each engine unit (F9 & F10), as the instructions state 50g each side and there is just not enough space to get it in between F9/F10 and the front cowl etc. (F1/F2/F3). I also added some above the roof of each wheel well (#E14) to ensure that this one sat right. 
The propellers, undercarriage, doors, radio altimeter antenna (A27) and exhaust flame dampers were all assembled and painted separately and only added to the model right at the end. You can add the nose cone (A28) without fitting the undercarriage door (A9) in place though, as that eases handling the model during painting, plus the nose cone does not fit that well either so you will have to do some filling and sanding. You had better also install the rear cockpit aft section (G5) prior to starting the main painting, but you will need to paint the frame that is inside it before this. The radar antenna, pitot tube and landing light are left off until later as well but the little intakes on the of each engine (E3) are best added prior to painting.
Colour & Markings
As usual the model was primed with whatever primer I had to hand (sometimes this is just a medium grey like H308), then polished. The overall scheme of the option I wanted (TQ+XE) was easy as its RLM 76 overall with blotches of RLM 75 on the upper surfaces, fuselage sides and vertical fin. This machine also had the top of the rudder and corresponding area of the rudder painted with a dark shade, some state RLM 74, others RLM 70 and I went for the latter. The RLM 76 is darkened slightly with a dark blue to allow shading along the panel lines etc., then with careful study to the series of period images of this particular machine I applied the RLM 75 blotches freehand. As long as the paint is thinned enough (using Levelling Thinners to retard the drying) and the pressure is low enough (say 8-12psi), you can systematically work your way across the whole airframe. Once done the whole lot was sprayed with heavily thinned RLM 76 to level everything. The ragged edge of the RLM 70 regions on the tail/rudder was done with the edge of torn tape and at the same time I had the RLM 70 in the airbrush I sprayed the propellers and spinners. Once all was done to my satisfaction, the whole model was sprayed with Tamiya clear (X22). Once this had fully cured, a dark wash was applied to all the engraved details, then this was all sealed again in readiness for the decals.
These were from the original Revell release, so they were over 20 years old and were a little difficult to get settled onto the model. I used Micro Sol and Set in quite large amounts, but in the end most settled down without that much trouble. All the stencils came from the newer Mistel version, as they were more comprehensive than the original kit and better printed. Once all dry the model was sealed with a coat of X-22, followed the next day by a couple of thin coats of acrylic satin varnish.
Final Details
The gun barrels exposed on either side of the nose were picked out in a suitable shade (X-10), then the main and nose undercarriage units were added. These had all been pre-painted in RLM 02 with an oil wash to add some definition to the various component parts. The wheels had the tyres done in XF-85 Rubber Black and the hubs in gloss black. I had inserted the bases for the flame damper exhausts (F11 & F12) into each engine nacelle right at the beginning, so they were painted along with the overall scheme. The damper units themselves were sprayed White Aluminium from the Alclad II range, then a heavily-thinned mix of Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown and XF-69 NATO Black, followed by picking out any raised detail etc. with a suitable contrasting shade of brown. The outlets and exhaust staining on the wings was all done with XF-69 NATO Black. The radar antenna had the antlers in RLM 76 with the antenna themselves (F15) done in RLM 65, except the lower dipoles, which were striped red and white. I did inevitably loose one of the spacers (F13), but made a new one from a length of suitable diameter plastic tubing, then spent quite a while getting each antenna in position by viewing from the front and side to get vertical and horizontal attitudes correct. You will probably find that the new extra thin cement in the Ammo range is really good for this, as it give a good bond and is fully set in 10 minutes. The canopy sections were all masked and painted with the main scheme, so you can apply the RLM 75 blotches as required, now they were unmasked and secured in place - the hinged section is probably best secured with cyanoacrylate.

Having built many Dragon kits over the years this one was entirely as excepted. Compared to modern toolings many will find it rather basic and difficult to build due to a number of fit issues, but that's down to what you are used to. Overall the end model is every bit the Ta 154, although regardless of careful alignment of all the undercarriage parts, the stance of the model is too 'level', the well-known backwards sit of the real thing is not there and I have no idea why? Maybe a more modern tooling will come along one day, who knows, for now though if you want a Moskito in 1/48th then this is the only option, either in a Dragon on Revell box. 

Paints used
Alclad II
White Aluminium

Gunze Mr Hobby Aqueous Hobby Color acrylic:
Mr Surfacer 1500 (Grey)
H65 RLM 70 Schwarzgrun
H69 RLM 75 Mittlegrau
H70 RLM 02 Graugrun
H416 RLM 66 Schwarzgrau
H417 RLM 76 Hellblau

Tamiya Color acrylic:
X-1 Gloss Black
X-22 Gloss Clear
XF-64 Red Brown
XF-69 NATO Black
XF-85 Rubber Black