Fieseler Fi 156 A-0/C-1 Storch
Tristar 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35034
Review by Terry Ashley

Tristar have departed briefly from the usual AFV line to release their first aircraft in 1:35 scale in the form of the Fieseler Fi156 Storch A0/C1 which was used closely with ground force liaison.

Releasing this type of aircraft in 1:35 scale opens many opportunities for crossover between aircraft and armour modellers with Bronco Models being the first of the current generation of manufacturers to see this with the release of their recent kit of the 1:35 Piper Cub L4H (0-59) (kit #CB35014).

The Fieseler Fi156 Storch (Stork) was first produced from 1936 as a light liaison aircraft for the German Armed Forces and possessed impressive STOL capabilities where is could take off into a light wind in less than 45m (150ft), and land in 18m (60ft).

It was powered by an Argus As 10 C-3 air-cooled inverted V8 engine rated at 180kW (240hp) giving a top speed of 175 km/h (109 mph) and also enabling the Storch to fly as slow as 50km/h (32mph) stall speed.

The wings could be folded back along the fuselage allowing it to be carried on a trailer or towed slowly behind a vehicle and the long landing gear legs contained oil and spring shock absorbers that compressed about 450mm (18 inches) on landing, allowing the plane to set down almost anywhere.
This also gave it the long legged bird like appearance during flight hence the nickname “Storch” (Stork).

The Storch was used by an impressive list of Countries both during and after WWII due to its excellent STOL capabilities and remained in service with some into the 1950’s.

Operators: Germany (Luftwaffe), Bulgaria (20), Croatia (4), Finland (2), Hungary (36), Italy (6), Romania (10 also built more under licence), Slovakia (10), Spain (10), Sweden (19), Switzerland (5), Soviet Union (1) as well as Britain, France (Armeé de l'Air and the Aéronavale) and the United States. Britain captured upwards of 60 aircraft and used them in the RAF during and after the war with the United States also capturing many aircraft intact.

Other Post War users included;
Cambodia, Czech Republic, Greece, Laos, Norway, Poland, South Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

The Kit:
The model from Tristar is of the early production A-0/C-1 variant without the rear firing MG15 which was introduced with the C-2 and subsequent versions, the round glass section for the MG15 is included in the kit but not the raised rear section of the canopy and this may indicate a later version to follow this kit? A notable inclusion is the main cabin glasshouse moulded as one part with the choice of fully clear or with the framework pre-painted but more on this later.

I don’t have any available 1:35 (or 1:32) plans of the Storch so can’t check the model against these but the dimensions match available data very well, for example the wingspan is 14.25m (46ft 9in) which is 407.15mm in 1:35 scale and the kit parts measure out to 408mm (give or take a fraction here and there).

The standard of moulding is good overall with clean surface details but there is some substantial moulding seams on most parts and on the thin cabin framing and landing gear struts this extends to a little fine flash to be removed. There are virtually no pin marks to contend with that are visible after assembly but cleaning up the seam lines can get a little tedious and care is needed on the thin frames and struts.

Argus As 10 C-3 Engine:
The kit provides all the basic structures for the engine and with the cowlings as separate parts this can be displayed quite easily.

The main block is in four parts that include the lower cylinder pushrods and top rocker cover with nice details and added to this are the eight separate cylinders that have nicely defined cooling fins, there are mould seams down the sides of each cylinder but this only needs to be removed from the two end cylinders each side as the others are hidden when the cylinders are attached to the block.

You should also note there are three different pattern cylinders and you should take careful note of the part numbers to ensure these are fitted in the correct position and added to the cylinders are the exhaust manifolds and exhaust pipes. These are a little fiddly to fit and some minor trimming may be needed but test fitting before hand will determine if any is needed and can be kept to a minimum by ensuring the cylinders are lined up correctly.

Added to the front of the engine is the housing that traps the airscrew shaft allowing this rotate freely but the housing is a little shallow and doesn’t extend far enough forward but may not be noticeably if the cowling is fitted. There are also the two magnetos added to the front housing but there should be a large connecting pipe between the two which is missing and will have to be added.

The forward bulkhead has the two part oil tank and the engine fits neatly to the two engine mounting bearers that are moulded as part of the fuselage halves which does ensure they are lined up correctly.

The engine cowlings are in four parts, the lower cowling with open intakes at the front, the two side panels and the top cowling cover and these have external detail but there is no detail on the insides should you want to show the model with the cowlings removed to display the engine.

Added to the underside is the standard oil cooler but there is not the larger tropical oil cooler required for the Italian Air Force Libya markings provided on the decal sheet.

There is also considerable additional detailing that can be added to the engine with the most obvious being the 16 spark plug leads and the oil tank plumbing as well as smaller wiring about the place and the Wings and Wheels Storch in detail book has good photos of the engine to help in added these details.

The large fixed pitch wooden airscrew is in one piece with nice hub detail and there is also a small moulding seam to be removed and this can be fitted to the engine shaft at any time but leaving it off till all painting is finished would be a good option.

Cabin Interior:
This is a complete module built up with the floor, rear bulkhead and inner framework which is then added inside the fuselage halves with just a few additional details on the fuselage walls themselves.

The frames as mentioned needed a fair bit of cleanup to remove the moulding seams come flash and as they are quite thin care is needed here.

Details include the pilot seat with separate seat pan and inner cushions for nice definition as well as the lower seat framing separate to simulate the perforated frame supports and you get alternate rear seats to use as required.

The two control columns are added as well as the pilot’s foot pedals but the pedals are a little on the thick side and should also be slanted inward more that they are. There are two items added to the left fuselage wall that should actually be attached the framework, the lower hand wheel (part C-9) and the flap crank handle (part C-10) which actually fowls the framing if fitted to the sidewall before adding the inner framework.

To add the flap crank handle (part C-10) to the framework you also need to add another small section of frame that is missing as the handle is fitted to this on the actual aircraft and there is also fine chain added to the crank as well if you want to add this detail. The work needed is quite straightforward and shouldn’t pose any real problems other than the need to do it in the first place.

For the instrument panel you are given a choice of a normal plastic panel with engraved details or a clear panel with engraved detail with the dials supplied as a decal that is added to a rear backing plate (part D-14) and fitted to the back of the clear panel. This will of course require additional care during painting but the better dial details is probable worth the effort.

There are some notable omissions from the cabin with no seat belts being the most obvious and there are also no radio sets provided which are usually carried on the rear cabin bulkhead and of course there are smaller details that can be added depending on how far you want to go with the details.

As mentioned the large glasshouse is provided in a single large moulding with separate slanted lower panels and door which can be shown open if you wish. This is the early configuration without the rear mounting for the MG15 so there is only the one option here but the circular panel for mounting the MG15 is included but not the raised rear canopy so this may indicate a later model to follow?

You actually get two full sets of clear parts, one in ‘normal’ clear plastic and the other with the canopy framework pre-painted in dunkelgrün which will show through inside after you paint the outer camouflage. But care will be needed as there is some very minor overspray on the framework and careful masking will be needed to cover the painted on framework completely but it’s certainly a nice inclusion. The pre-painting is on the main glasshouse, side slated panels and the door but you will have to remove the paint from the large wing attachments on either side of the glasshouse to glue the wings in place later if you choose the pre-painted option.

Added inside the glasshouse are the compass which goes at the top of the forward windscreen and the top mounted air intake but the V shaped air outlet inside the glasshouse is not provided.

Fuselage/Landing Gear:
This is split in half in the conventional manner with a separate one piece rudder and has cleanly represented surface detail including the underside stitching below the cabin but due to the split of the fuselage halves the underside stitching that should run the entire length on the rear fuselage is missing.

The tail planes are also in one piece each with separate control surfaces and support rods with the surfaces designed to be fixed in the neutral position although it wouldn’t be much trouble to lower these if required?

You get a choice of tail wheel or tail skid and these have to be trapped between the two fuselage halves as do the cabin tub assembly and engine but there are no fit problems here making for a trouble free assembly. You would have glued the cabin and engine etc. to one side of the fuselage before hand in any case as is usual and obviously painted the interior prior to joining the fuselage halves together.

The long spindly landing gear of the Storch is captured well with the main legs having the upper sections from steel wire for strength and the lower sections in plastic; you also get a choice of extended legs if displaying the model in flying mode as these extend down about 18inches further than when on the ground and this is a nice inclusion.

As mentioned previously the long support rods needed the mould seam line/flash cleaned up and once assembled you should take care with the model as the gear is quite flimsy even with the steel wire main legs just as it was with the real machine.

For the main wheels the hubs are in plastic with separate vinyl tyres but the hub detail is a little different from that seen in the most common wartime wheels and the tyres have squarer shoulders than the more rounded wheels seen in most photos.

The wings are made up of five main parts each, the upper and lower wing and separate front slat and two part flaps with all these having nicely defined surface details for the fabric covering and the fuel tank panels etc.

Added to the main wings are the flap actuators and counter balance weights with the flaps again designed to be in the neutral position with other smaller details including the landing light with clear lens, wing tip position lights in clear plastic and also the wing root T wing fold release handles and the fuel gauges that stick down below the wings.

The fit of the main wing parts is again good without any real problems other than the usual joins seams and the assembled wings slip over the large locating lugs on the clear glasshouse making for a robust join which will help reduce any wing droop after assembly.

The kit has one large decal sheet and a smaller one with additional markings with both printed by Cartograf of Italy for the usual excellent quality printing with the carrier film cropped close to the printed image to lessen any silvering when applied.

The interesting thing to note is the swastikas are broken down into two parts each so as not to offend those who want to re-write history and it’s your choice if you add these to your model or not?

There are markings for 5 Storches included but no actual unit information is given and these are:
  • 1. Finland Air Force, 1940
    Overall Dark Green over Light Blue
    Unfortunately the Finnish roundel ‘swastika’ marking is the wrong colour being black when it should be a mid blue meaning you will have to source these elsewhere if you wanted to build a Finnish Storch.
  • 2. Legion Condor in Spanish Civil War
    Overall RLM Dark Green over Light Blue
  • 3. Luffwaffe Poland Invasion, 1939
    Overall RLM Dark Green over Light Blue
  • 4. Luffwaffe Eastern Front
    Splinter RLM 70/71 over Light Blue
  • 5. Italian Air Force, Libya 1942
  • Dark Yellow with mottled Dark Green/Red Brown cam over Light Blue
Clear parts

Overall this is a good basic model of the early Storch but there are some details simplified and plenty of scope for additional detailing to be added. There is quite a bit of cleanup needed on some finer parts but the fit of most parts is good and the model is dimensionally okay making for fairly trouble free assembly.

The most important thing is the kit is in 1:35 scale making for some exciting crossover diorama possibilities and as this is the first foray into large scale aircraft models from Tristar they will obviously learn from this for future developments.

But all the basics are there for an excellent model with the engineering of the one piece glasshouse a standout feature and an even better model will result if you spend a bit of detailing time.

Highly recommended 7/10


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Detail Images
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Storch in detail
Special Museum Line No.12

WWP Publications

48 Pages, 24 in color
ISBN 80-86416-00-3

Detailed walkarounds of museum Storches.
book Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
Schiffer Military History

48 pages, Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0764302992

A reprint of the German Das Waffen-Arsenal that described the development and history of the Fi 156 Storch. Detailed photos and line drawings are included to add to the detailed text on this German plane., over 100 b/w photographs, line drawings, 11" x 8 1/2"

Thanks to Tristar Models for the review kit.

Page created January 9, 2008

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