First Look Review
Fieseler Fi-156 Storch
Fieseler Fi-156 Storch
  • 00195

by: Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]

When Tamiya announced the imminent release of kit n°100 in their 1/48 scale range of aircraft models, it caused some speculations about what subject they would have chose to reproduce. The fact that it was the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was a bit surprising for some because it was a liaison and not a combat airplane. But when we think about it, it's not an innocent choice since Tamiya as decided more and more to focus on subjects which can be associated in dioramas with ground vehicles, probably to promote their new 1/48 scale Military Miniatures kits. So in that regard too, the Fi 156 is a liason kit!

The kit box
For their "Milestone" kit, Tamiya have decided to do something particular in that they designed a special packaging for it. Indeed, this time the standard box is enclosed within a glossy black sleeve wich features gold letterings, making it look like a mix of the Monolith from the "2001 Space Odyssey" movie and an Eduard Royal Class box. Once the black sleeve is removed, one can notice that the inner cover artwork is vertical. Here too Tamiya chose a different way than usual. Things continue when you finally open the box and take a look inside, since other packaging surprises are waiting for you: two fuselage halves have been separated from the rest of the kit in a special compartment and metal parts are displayed behind a "window" for good effect. It seems like Tamiya wanted to make the discovery of this kit an event and I must say it's a total success!

The kit
Once the "opening box ceremony" is over, it's time to actually take a look at the content of the kit. Tamiya's new Storch kit is composed of 8 sprues of light grey and transparent styrene parts, all separately bagged. The overall quality of the plastic is typical of what we can expect from the famous japanese manufacturer: perfect mouldings, subtle engraved or relief surfaces, plenty of details etc... But the "highlight" of the kit is probably the fuselage halves I mentionned earlier. Indeed, Tamiya managed to bond the clear plastic of the canopy sides with the grey plastic of the fuselage. A real technical achievement which will make the build easier for sure.
The kit features a detailed cockpit interior with photoetched instrument panel, a complete engine and the following options:
- three different canopy roof glazings.
- choice between wheels or skids for the main landing gear.
- choice between three tail wheel/skids.
- external fuel tank.
- 6 figures (2 seated and 4 standing of which 3 represent Erwin rommel).
- a complete set of german accessories (3 fuel drums, 8 Jerry Cans, several bags, a bucket etc...)
To that, Tamiya added a metal spar to give the wings the right dihedral, a metal landing gear strut to give more strentgh to the model, a set of masks for the canopy and five decal options!
The instructions are also different this time in that they are printed within a 20 page booklet. Yes I said "booklet", not "panoramic sheet"! I'm glad Tamiya chose to do the assembly guide that way and I hope they will continue to do them like that in the future. The instructions are superb with 4 pages of history (japanese and english text in my sample with B&W illustrations), one page with a list of required paints (from Tamiya of course), a 34 steps (!?) assembly guide spread out over 12 pages and a painting guide for the figures.

Decals and painting guide
Decals are provided on two decal sheets for five aircraft:
A - Fi156 C-3 trop SF RL used by Erwin Rommel, 1st Desert Rescue Squadron, 1942, North Africa.
B - Fi156 C-3 trop DL AW used by Erwin Rommel, Unit unknown, 1942, North Africa.
C - Fi156 C-3 SJ LL used to free Mussolini, September 12, 1943, Gran Sasso Italy.
D - Fi156 C-7 RR KN, Unit unknown.
E - Fi156 C-5 VK GS, Unit unknown, winter 1942, Eastern Front.
Options A and B are Afrika Korps machines in desert camouflage over a light blue underside. Options C and D are European machines with splinter camouflage over a light blue underside. The last machine (E) has a winter wash applied over the splinter camouflage and is fitted with skids. The decal and painting guide is printed in color on both sides of a big A3 paper sheet. If only all the instructions were made like the ones of the Storch kit! Painting references are given for the Tamiya range of acrylic colors only.
The decals look good on the sheets and in my sample, swastikas are present, as well as instrument dials and seatbelts.

Perfect kit?
Most people will probably be wildly enthusiastic about Tamiya's new Storch and they will be right, but while the kit is very close to perfection indeed, in my opinion there are still things that could have been improved. I must admit however that I'm only speaking about small details:
- there are ejection pin marks on the cockpit sidewalls which will have to be eliminated for a better finish.
- The masks for the canopy are not pre-cut.
- the seatbelts are provided as decals and not as photo etched parts.
- the elevators are not separate (while the other movable control surfaces are).

Tamiya's 100th release in their 1/48 scale range of kits is a fantastic product in every aspect. If you like well engineered plastic models then this one is made for you. The fact that it is possible to display the Storch in a diorama with German ground vehicles or even Armor, makes it even more interesting. Maybe a Piper Cub next Mister Tamiya?

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale.
Highs: Great model kit in a great packaging. Superb instruction booklet and supersize painting guide. 6 figures included as well as accessories, PE detail parts, masks, metal struts and and and...
Lows: Only details (see review)
Verdict: Fantastic, nearly perfect model kit!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 61100
  Suggested Retail: $45.75
  PUBLISHED: Jan 03, 2008

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.

Copyright ©2021 text by Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


So am I, It´s on the way from Japan and will be here any day now! You can never go wrong with the big "T"! For me this is a most welcome release as I love the ungainly Storch! Besides, we had It in Northern Sweden (Lappland) as the S14 and it was called "Fjäll-Storken" (the Mountain-Stork). I will buy at least two of these kits! Thanks for the review! Cheers! Stefan E
JAN 03, 2008 - 08:54 AM
Hi again Well, getting my chance to see the new Storch "in the flesh", so to speak, last night, it really is as good as Jean-Luc says - beautifully presented and produced. I see what he means about the ejector pin marks, though - they look like they could be a pain to tackle. While having the side windows moulded integrally with the fuselage will certainly simplify assembly to some extent, to be honest, I'm not totally convinced as to the benefit of moulding the parts in both grey and clear, compared with the more normal method (for an aircraft like this) of simply moulding them entirely in clear styrene. True, that wouldn't have the same visual impact - and Tamiya are making a lot (arguably too much, in view of the extra packaging) out of this being a milestone kit - but, it would be simpler and cheaper to produce and make no difference in terms of actually building the kit. And I expect we'll never know the answer, but I also wonder if moulding in two types of styrene increased the need for ejector pins... Still, it is a fantastic kit! All the best Rowan
JAN 04, 2008 - 01:46 AM
Hi Rowan! I asked myself the same question! If this is the case, then I hope Tamiya will return to more traditional methods for their next kits. Jean-Luc
JAN 05, 2008 - 08:14 AM
I also wonder about their new idea of joining the clear parts as part of the molding process...but i wouldn't expect them to change it now that they're doing it! I mean look at their 1/48 armour with their diecast metal chassis- why? No one knows why or what the point is, yet they keep doing it! Meanwhile Hobby Boss are making kits of the same subjects at half the price with better detail. My thinking is that the two big Japanese companies realise they cannot compete on price with the Chinese and so they try to come up with fresh ideas instead. Back to the Storch, i think it's a great subject and Tamiya engineering and fit is still number one. So i can't wait to get hold of it. Andrew
JAN 05, 2008 - 11:18 AM
Still did not get my kit, but a thought re canopy. Maybe (as I wrote just my thought) so maybe the made the parts integral to avoid having ejector marks on the clear parts .. those are really large and would need help to get out of the tool ... furthermore ejector pins are also included after the tool is ready when there are problems releasing the sprue from the tool (test shots), look closely and you will find a lot around the deep assembly holes. I could also imagine those added later have a worse fit than initially planned ejectors re Chinese competitors .... I agree they are dirt cheap (buying from China directly) but most stuff has at least one major fault ... I won't bore you with my Fw 200 experience but have a look at Terry Ashleys (PMMS) review on the Shermans just to give some examples .. OTOH Big T also gets some stuff wrong and I also hate the metal chassis ... while it is bearable in the Greif kit Now I hope I get the model released from German customs and redirected to my home ... rats happy new modelling year Steffen
JAN 05, 2008 - 09:20 PM
Hi all Wings & Wheels Publications have a very useful walkaround for anyone wanting to add more detail to Tamiya's kit: I bought my copy from Modelimex. All the best Rowan
JAN 05, 2008 - 10:00 PM
I hope to be buying mine from my LHS and this looks like a wonderful kit and the subject is one that has been on my wish list for years. I have the Revell boxing of the Hasegawa(?) 1/32 scale kit and I just needed a book for reference, thanks Rowan I feel a set of masks coming on Mal
JAN 09, 2008 - 08:22 AM
Im very glad to see this topic taken up by a manufacturer with a reputation for high levels of crisp detail like Tamiya. If I must complain,it will be over the price of the kit,not the quality. I must say Im looking foreward to buying it and "ageing" it in my closet for awhile until Im ready to build it
JAN 14, 2008 - 02:41 PM
Hi again Along with the new WWP book, don't forget Squadron's Fieseler Storch In Action as a useful source of inspiration. All the best Rowan
JAN 14, 2008 - 08:20 PM

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