by: Peter Allen [ ]
In late 1942, Focke-Wulf engineer Hans Multhopp headed up a design team that started aerodynamic studies for a new turbojet fighter. This culminated in 1945 as a fighter project known as "Huckebein" (a cartoon raven that traditionally makes trouble for others), also known as Project V (Project VI in some references) or Design II at Focke-Wulf and later to be given the designation Ta 183.
The Ta 183 had a short, squat fuselage with the air intake passing under the cockpit and proceeding to the rear where the single He S 011 turbojet was located, although the first three prototypes were to be powered by Jumo 004B jet engines. A provision was made in the early studies for the aircraft to be equipped with a 1000 kg (2205 lbs) thrust rocket engine to assist interception duties, with the fuel for a 200 second rocket burn being located in underwing drop tanks.
The wings were very thin, swept back at 40 degrees and were mounted in the mid-fuselage position. A tapered main wing spar constructed of two duraluminum I-beams with steel flanges formed a torque box, with the attachment at the fuselage consisting of a single bolt. The wing structure was completed by adding bonded wooden ribs with a plywood covering. Each wing panel contained six fuel cells totalling 1565 litres (345 gallons). The huge fin was swept back at 60 degrees, with the tailplane mounted on the top of the fin. The tailplane also exhibited considerable dihedral. Wing elevons and the rudder provided control, the tailplane control surfaces only being used for trimming. The flaps and landing gear were operated hydraulically.
The pilot sat in a pressurised cockpit with a bubble canopy which provided excellent all-around vision. Four MK 108 30mm cannon was envisioned for the production Ta 183 armament, also a bomb load of 500 kg (1100 lbs) could be carried. This could include one SD or SC 500 bomb, one BT 200 bomb, five SD or SC bombs and even a Rb 20/30 camera. The weapons load would be carried in the equipment space in the bottom of the fuselage and thus partially protrude about halfway from the fuselage.
On February 27 and 28, 1945, the Emergency Fighter Competition conference was held by the OKL (High Command of the Luftwaffe), and the Ta 183 was chosen to be developed and produced. There were to be sixteen Versuchs (experimental test series) aircraft: the Ta 183 V1-V3 to be powered by the Jumo 004B turbojet, pending delivery of the He S 011 jet engine, the Ta 183 V4-V14 as 0-series preproduction aircraft and V15-V16 as static test aircraft. The maiden flight of the first aircraft was planned for May/June of 1945, and was to test both the Design II and Design III tail configuration. The first production aircraft were scheduled to be completed by October 1945, but no examples of the Ta 183 were completed because on April 8, 1945 British troops captured the Focke-Wulf facilities.
After the war, the Ta 183 story continued. The Soviets found a complete set of plans for the Ta 183 in Berlin at the RLM offices, and began construction of six prototypes in March 1946 by the MIG design bureau. On July 2, 1947, the first Soviet-built Ta 183 took to the air powered by a British Rolls-Royce "Nene" turbojet. They discovered that the original Ta 183 design needed either automatic leading edge slots or wing boundary layer fences to alleviate low-speed stalling. Also, as a compromise between high-speed and low-speed flying, the horizontal stabiliser was moved approximately one-third down from the top of the vertical tail. The modified Ta 183 first flew on December 30, 1947 and in May 1948 was ordered into production as the MIG 15.
Meanwhile, Kurt Tank (head of the Focke-Wulf design department) had left Germany to go to Argentina in 1947 at the invitation of President Juan PerÛn. There Tank was to build a turbojet powered fighter for the Argentine Air Force, and he decided to build the Ta 183. Tank made several changes to Multhopp's original design, mainly the wing being changed to a shoulder mounted position. The first flight of the "Pulqui II" was made on June 27, 1950. Although the flight was without mishap, test pilot Captain Edmundo Weiss did not like it's flight characteristics. Changing the wing location disturbed the wing-lift aerodynamics, and after six aircraft were completed, the Pulqui II program was cancelled in 1954.
Span: 10 m (32' 9.7")
Length: 9.2 m (30' 2.2")
Max. Speed: 962 km/h (597 mph)w/He S 011
Historical Background by Dan Johnson of Luft 46 website
The ManufacturerMarsh Models are better known for their excellent car kits and have now entered the aircraft area of modelling under the brand name of Aerotech.
After a lengthy gestation period Areotech's first two releases, the Fw Ta183 and the Gotha Go P60A, have at last hit the market.
The Fw Ta183 reviewed here has been the subject of a few pre-release reviews and sample builds in various magazines over the last nine months or so. One good thing is that the price, originally estimated at over £35 has been set lower at around £30 . This is comparable to other resin kits in the high average price bracket. But a treat awaits.
The KitThe kit's contents are:
White Metal Parts:31
Clear Parts: 4
Decals: Multi choice of aircraft
This is a very comprehensive kit with virtually every conceivable detail extra included in the price. All parts are grouped coming in individual resealable plastic bags.
MAIN PARTSThe first impression is that it looks like an injection kit with hollow cast fuselage halves and wings that have tabs for inserting in to the corresponding wing root slots. Great idea as it eradicates the need for reinforcing wing root joints.
The casting is excellent with well defined recessed panel lines and detailing.
There is virtually no flash although on the fuselage halves there are a number of small casting stems that need careful removal. Other than that a light general clean up should be sufficient.
There is one thing however, in that I read a report in a magazine where on that particular pre-production sample one of the wings had drooped/warped. Unfortunately this has not been addressed as my sample also has a warped wing. So it ís the hot water and/or the hair dryer treatment to fix.
SMALL PARTSAs with the larger parts, the small ones are excellent. Being exceptionally clean and thin with no cutting from casting blocks or removal from resin flakes. Minimal clean up required.
All parts need a wash in soapy water and rinse to get rid of any casting release agents.
WHITE METAL PARTSThese are amongst the best I have seen. Very clean castings that require minimal filing and clean-up.
These parts include undercarriage legs, cockpit parts and undercarriage doors. The jet exhaust is also supplied and is likewise very nice, but I wonder if it might add weight too far back to avoid tail sitting.
The jet intake is also supplied in metal including additional material to act as a counterweight in the nose. However the intake depth is much too shallow so would need drilling out and/or a substitute pipe found. Luckily I have a length of aluminium tube that is the perfect diameter.
ETCHED PARTS2 comprehensive frets are supplied and again these are superb. They cover everything you could imagine from cockpit detail panels, seat belts to the inner framing for inside the undercarriage doors. Also the parts are provided for inner flap details.
The only thing that may cause concern is that the mounting tabs for the missiles provided are etched and it would have been much better if these had been resin castings. Being etched, they may not be as convincing if they had been supplied as resin castings. I imagine when building this kit I would source alternatives or scratch build from plastic card.
CLEAR PARTSTwo vacuformed canopies are provided for each kit. The parts are clear with good frame marking, but would benefit a dip in Future/Klear.
Also included are the lenses for the wing tip lights.
DECALS & INSTRUCTIONSThe decal sheet is very extensive with a big selection of code numbers and emblems, in addition to all the insignia and swastikas. Some stencils are also supplied. There is even US markings for a captured aircraft version.
One thing of interest is the decals are designed for use directly on to matt paint.
There are two instruction sheets provided, one with the assembly instructions which are OK. The other is very good using photographs as a colour guide.
CONCLUSIONAll things considered this is one cracker of a kit. Aerotech have done their homework and have produced an amazingly well engineered kit. There is virtually nothing left out. An extremely well detailed model should result. And although the price is expensive, it is very good value when you consider the huge amount of multimedia parts included.
Apart from the slightly warped wing and a little work to sort out the intake this the best kit of its type I have seen in a long time.
It scores 9+ because of the wing and are there any tens? This comes mighty close. Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but I am sure this will be both an exciting and straight forward build.
I think it is a kit more for the experienced because of there being so many mixed media parts and options. But having said that a newcomer to this kind of kit should not find it too difficult as long it is not rushed and patience and care are exercised throughout the build, although I would recommend trying a simpler kit first to gain experience