Academy's 1/72 Fieseler Fi.156 Storch with Kübelwagen
When Reinhold Mewes and Gerhard Fieseler experimented with high-lift devices, they did not think the result would be the most successful German liaison aircraft of the war. The Fiesler Fi 156 was just that, though, and its incredible performance allowed it to land in a length roughly the same as its wingspan. Constructed of a tubular steel frame covered with fabric, the wings of the Fi 156 featured large flaps and full-span slots along the leading edge. The first prototypes took to the air in 1936 and by 1939, production supplied the Luftwaffe with 227 Fi 156s. By the end of the war, nearly 2,900 Storchs were delivered, and after the war production continued in both France and Czechoslovakia.
This is a reissue of Academy's Fi 156 kit, with the added benefit of coming with a Kübelwagen kit as well. Easily the best 1/72 Storch out there, this kit is molded in a light gray plastic and features recessed panel lines and nicely done fabric sections. The large area of transparencies are crisply molded and provide an option of an open hatch and two styles of roof glazings. The decals provides a couple of options, as well as markings for the Kübelwagen. Speaking of which, the Kübelwagen is also a nice little kit and is the same one as in the Academy vehicle set released a while back.
Returning to the Storch, the interior is somewhat basic. There is a one-piece floor, with the rear seat pan, front bucket seat, and control stick molded separately. An instrument panel finishes the lower half of the cockpit, while a machine gun and cross bracing are included for the clear roof section. With the large clear canopy of this kit, extra detailing will really show up well in this kit. The fuselage is split into halves, with a separate nose section providing an option for the French radial-engined version. The Argus engine nacelle is split into right and left halves, with a separate front end and a one-piece propeller. The cockpit glass is made up from five pieces and it would probably be easier to mask these off before assembly.
Moving to the wings, these come molded in right and left halves, split into upper and lower pieces. The leading edge slots are separate as well and the wings have large slots to guarantee a firm connection to the fuselage. The tailplanes are one piece, with a separate piece for the underwing slat and the upper strut. The wing struts come in two pieces, so there will not be too much problem with alignment. The landing gear has a main strut with two separate bracing pieces, and the tail skid is also separate.
The Kübelwagen is a simple little kit, but it will look great parked next the Storch. The main piece consists of the fenders, chassis, and floorpan, with separate axles, mufflers and wheels finishing the undersides. Turned over, there are two side panels, a hood, and a rear deck integrated with the rear bench to build the main body. The interior is fairly basic, consisting of just a pair of seats, stick shift, and instrument cluster complete with a separate steering wheel. Details include separate headlights, a spare tire for the hood, two choices of canvas tops, and tools. For decals, this kit comes with license plates for the front and rear, and a large "OTTO" for the side.
There are two options for the Fi 156 in this kit, one from North Africa and one from the Eastern Front. The North African example is the one on the boxtop and consists of green squiggles over a desert tan base. Coded 5F+YK, this plane is from Aufkl.Gr (H)14. The Eastern Front option is finished in standard RLM 70/71 splinter camouflage. This plane apparently was the unit hack for one of the NAG night fighter units, as it carries that unit emblem on the nose. The decals are well printed and fell quite thin. They should go down without any problems.
This is a nice little kit made even nicer by the fact that there are two models in one box. The Kübelwagen provides a nice addition to the Storch and both provide plenty of options outside the box. The Storch served in many Luftwaffe units as well as with the air forces of many different countries, most of which could be modeled with little more than a roundel change. I know I'll end up building more than one of these.
Our thanks to MRC for the review sample.