by John Lester
Focke-Wulf Ta 183T-1
1/48 scale Ta 183 is available online from
"In 1946, the Kriegsmarine prepared an
urgent requirement for a new fighter for use in carrier operations. Only
one design, a conversion of the Luftwaffe's Ta-183 just entering
service, could be placed into production within the specified timeframe.
After expedited trials, the resulting Ta-183T-1 entered service aboard
Germany's three carriers in January, 1947. It was not well loved by
pilots, maintenance personnel or operations planners. Despite the
addition of automatic leading edge slats and refinements to the other
control surfaces, low speed handling was still barely satisfactory. The
undercarriage had not been sufficiently strengthened for the rigors of
shipboard operations, and it was soon found the tail hook grafted behind
the main gear was prone to shearing off during arrested landings.
Relatively short range, added to an alarming rate of mishaps, led to the
type's removal by November, 1947. Remaining airframes were transferred
to coastal defense duties in Occupied Norway, where their folding wings
(at least) were prized for enabling storage in caves and underground
bunkers, and their range was less of an issue against the streams of
Allied B-36 and B-47 bombers heading for Germany".
I'm not sure where the idea for a navalized Ta-183
came from since the type seems rather poorly suited for carrier ops. But
once it became firmly rooted in my brain there was no choice but to
The AMTech kit is a breeze to build, as has already been discussed here.
I added Eduard PE seatbelts to the cockpit and grafted on a tailhook
robbed from some old Monogram airplane. It was a toss-up whether to add
wing fences (a la the MiG-15) or scribe in leading edge slats ... but
since slats were easier, the decision turned out to be surprisingly
Deciding how the wings would fold was the tough part. After much heming
and hawing, I decided the only may this model would ever get off my work
bench was if I did the simplest modification. The wing halves were
assembled and cut on a line perpendicular to the leading edge, between
the flaps and ailerons. Thin sheet plastic was cut to fill the gap
between the tops and bottoms, with a series of lightening holes drilled
in. A simple folding mechanism was made from aluminum and brass tubing,
with more brass rod anchired inside the main wings to support the
structure. hydraulic hoses and stiffening bars were made from wire and
stretched sprue, and some surface details added from scrap PE pieces.
The model was finished in a notional North Atlantic
scheme. Testors Model Master RLM 02 and 82 (I think - it was one of the
RLM colors!) form the splinter pattern on the topside; Humbrol Flat
white with a few drops of Model Master Flint Grey mixed in coats the
The finished model is no contest winner, but I had
fun building it and it looks sharp on the shelf next to the other AmTech
Ta-183 I finished (marked as a captured Japanese Ki-192 prototype).
Now, for that Do-335 Zwilling project...
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Page Created 13 May, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007
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