|1/48 Focke-Wulf FW-190A-5|
|Kit Number: 8174|
|Reviewed by Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS #26266|
Website: Eduard Catalog Page
The history of the Focke-Wulf FW-190 is well known so I'll leave that for others to cover better.
The kit-what do you get?
This kit contains six sprues of "RLM 02" colored plastic and one clear sprue. Included in the kit is a fret of pre-painted photo etch along with a set of Eduard canopy masks. The instructions are printed on high quality paper in a book like style. They are very well laid out and clear.
Before I began there were some decisions that had to be made. Of course the first thing is what markings to do. I was originally going to do an A-5/U15, but before I started to build it I found photos on the internet of the new Flugwerk "new" build A-5 painted up in Nowotny's aircraft. That was it seeing the real thing and in flight made that decision easy.
The next decision that has to be made is the gun covers going to be opened or closed. I wanted to show the great lines of the airplane so my gun covers would be closed. Cowl flaps opened or closed. Photo etch parts inside the cockpit or plastic components?
I elected to use the pre-painted photo etch. It was easy enough to use. I like the look of the photo etch parts, but there is nothing wrong with the plastic ones. I preshaded the cockpit with flat black and painted it with RLM 66. Some RLM 02 and silver pencil brought the cockpit to life.
Before I did anything with the fuselage I chain drilled and opened the cooling flaps on the side of the fuselage in preparation for the PE parts later.
The gun bulkhead and breach shelf are very important to the kit. It is imperative to have them at exactly a 90 degree angle. Before joining the fuselage halves I elected to use a three part tail wheel. Gluing the cockpit inside the fuselage is straight forward. The gun bulkhead and breach shelf can be glued in after the fuselage is joined. I then add the vertical part of the gun shelf. This will establish the width of the fuselage top.
The fuselage halves fit great and really are a non-issue. Just some light sanding of the join.
I opened up the proper hole for the pitot tube. Nowotny's machine did not have the additional guns in the wing or additional armament and there was no center line drop tank rack.
The wings fit together perfectly. What more can you say about it? A couple of swipes with the sanding stick and it was time to offer it up to the fuselage.
Adding the wings to the fuselage presented no problem as they fit perfectly all the way around. While I was at it I sanded off the DF loop antenna mount as the A-5 did not have one.
Engine and cowling
The engine went together, how should I say this, perfectly. Because it would be invisible later I just painted it flat black. If you can see it you are a looking way to close. Adding the exhaust pipes was really a non-issue if you take your time and look where they go. I temporarily added the rigging piece with white glue to make sure it was secure.
Adding the engine to the airframe is again relatively easy. Attach part K-18 to the indent on the top of the wheel well then add the engine support structure. This will ensure that the engine will sit straight. Once everything has set up and dried thoroughly add the engine.
The cowling has been lamented by many for its design but I for one like the set up. The key is to first fit part L3 and align it to the mid-cowl ring. Let it dry thoroughly. Then add the side panels (L12 and L17) this will ensure that the cowling is perfect and the cowling will not even require sanding. Adding the front cowl ring is easy but be careful of the alignment. Add the cowling over the engine and dare I say, the fit is perfect.
Add the horizontal stabilizer and rudder. I add the horizontal stabilizers by applying some liquid cement to the fuselage and then add the stabilizer. This will allow you to align the stabilizer with the fairing and ensure a, yes say it with me, perfect fit.
Prior to painting I utilized the Eduard Express Masks for the canopy. I really hate to masks canopy, but the Eduard Masks make the whole process so easy. The masks, shall I say it, yes they fit perfectly. Mr. Maskol was used where it was required in the instructions.
I always wash my models with grease cutting dish detergent, like Dawn, to remove any sanding dust and oils from the model. I let it air dry overnight. Prior to painting I also wiped the model with Polly-S Plastic Prep. This imparts an anti-static charge to the model to repel dust. A coat of Alclad Grey Primer was used to check for flaws and miraculously there weren't any this time, a first for me. The next step was a coat of Alclad Gloss Black Base Coat. Any black could have been used but since I had this I decided to use it.
A coat of Model Master enamel RLM 76 was added in a squiggle pattern to ensure I did NOT get complete coverage. I lightened this up with a couple of drops of white and more thinner and repeated the process while paying particular attention to the control surfaces. This was followed up with more white and more thinner.
While waiting for this to dry I sprayed the mottle pattern on the tail in Gunze RLM 74/75 as this was left over from the original color sprayed on the aircraft.
After the RLM 76 was dried I masked off the areas that would be RLM04. If I had been thinking I should have done the 04 first and then masked it off, but as it was I just made more work for myself. I decided to use all Gunze colors from here on out if for nothing else than compatibility. I used Tamiya tape to mask it all off. It was imperative that the fuselage band and the under wing portion were properly spaced. I squirted the RLM 04 and lightened it up just like the 76. When I removed the tape I noticed that my fuselage band was not straight. So I ended up having to retape and paint the area again. No big deal but I should have caught that before I painted.
Once dry I then taped the yellow area on the fuselage and painted the airframe RLM 82 Light Green, again lightening the color once or twice as I went along. I repeated this with the RLM 70 Black Green too.
While waiting for the paint to cure I like to add as much stuff as possible prior to applying the gloss and flat coat, so I added the landing gear which is very easy to use.
I painted the landing gear components RLM 02. I added some Bare Metal Foil chrome to the strut. The next step in doing the landing gear is to attach the torque knee to the strut, then the wheels to the axle. This is a very poor fit, and it appears it was designed that way for a reason. I don't know what it was but I'm sure they had a reason. However to make it trouble free Eduard provides a 1to 1 scale drawing of the strut and wheel. I used five minute epoxy to give me time to work with the wheel. I used Ticky Tac to align the strut on the instructions applied the epoxy to the inside of the wheel and pushed it on the strut mounting point. Then using a Mr. Surfacer flat bottle side I established the proper alignment and toe in and out. I let this dry for a little bit and repeated the process for the other strut. When everything was dry I added gear doors to the struts. Liquid cement attached them nicely but it did require three clamps to ensure it stayed in place while the glue set up.
I elected to add the inner gear doors first. This was the first Eduard kit that I had to add the inner landing gear doors, but the process proved real easy. There is a decision to be made on the gear actuators either use the plastic part or the photo etch set up. I elected for the photo etch. This really proved a non-issue. I bent the PE as indicated on the instructions. I added the doors to the lower fuselage with liquid cement and then glued the PE on as indicated and it was done that easy. The PE helps set the angle on the gear doors.
The main gear itself is very easy to attach. Actually I've built the Eduard, Trimaster, Dragon/DML and Tamiya kits and I have to say that Eduard's is the most accurate looking attachment and the sturdiest. This is a real testament to their engineering. The landing gear is aligned properly fore and aft, as well as, left and right with only minor adjustments required. The FW-190 landing gear sits forward of the wing slightly. Eduard is the only company to catch this look with adequate strength. The retraction actuator helps establish the angle of the gear and adds to the strength as well.
Once all that was done I added a coat of Alclad Clear Base Coat which is my preferred gloss coat. I let this dry thoroughly prior to applying the decals.
The decals are printed by Cartograf and are simply perfect. They are perfectly in register, opaque and very thin. The colors look spot on. The decals reacted well with Solvaset and settled down perfectly into the panel lines. I did have to touch up my painting of the yellow fuselage band, but this was certainly my fault. I should have used the decal provided.
Prior to applying the flat coat I added the cooling flaps for the engine. These were shaped on an old pink eraser and slightly rolled with a paint brush. This imparts a slight curve on them and makes them look more realistic when attached. They were glued into place with superglue. This was reinforced with some extra thin superglue and accelerator. The area was masked off and given a quick shot of flat black.
The decals were so thin that I elected to not gloss coat over them. I just added Dullcoat in preparation for weathering.
I started my weathering with a little Burnt Umber Artist Oil wash over the panel and rivet lines. This was followed up by some Model Master Magnesium applied with a sponge to the wing root and leading edges of the wings. Some silver and a grey pencil were added to more specific areas to show the green paint wearing away and revealing the RLM 74/75 underneath.
My next step was to mix up some Tamiya Red Brown and Flat Black and thin it heavily to replicate the exhaust stains and gun residue. I built this up slowly but was quite pleased with the results.
Some European Dust Mig Pigments were added to the wheels, landing gear doors and splash zones. This was set in place with a coat of Mig thinner.
Finally a very thin coat of Tamiya Buff was sprayed over the model. Front to back on the control surfaces and top to bottom on the fuselage. This tones down the markings and brings everything together. Normally I would have added another coat of Dullcoat but since this was Nowotny's machine and he was a favorite of the propaganda department I figured his aircraft would be slightly more "polished" than others so I didn't add another layer of dullcoat. The resulting finish is quite nice.
Final pieces and bits
There wasn't a lot left to add. I added the Quickboost pitot tube which looks great and is much better than the kit provided one, which had a lot of flash on it. After removing the masking tape from the cockpit and the Eduard masks from the canopy I added the shoulder straps. The Eduard masks worked flawlessly. Simple and easy just the way I like it. The canopy was held in place with some white glue. An antenna wire was added from EZ Line. Then it was just a twist and the spinner was in place. Some Tamiya clear red and green were mixed with white glue and added to the wing tips and this model was ready to go on the shelf next to its brethren.
This is my fourth Eduard FW-190 kit and just like the first one I loved it. This is the best fitting one of the bunch though. I'm not sure if this was because it was my first A-5 or just my fourth kit. Either way I thoroughly enjoyed it. Is it overly engineered? Possibly, however, it still builds up into the most accurate FW-190 there is, bar none. If you elect to have the gun compartments open no problem. If you chose to close them like I did then you will have a little bit of extra work but nothing dramatic and certainly not out of the realm of most model builders.
If you have one of these kits or the earlier release of it build it. Follow the instructions and enjoy the build. It really is a lot of fun and I can't wait to start another one. Hey isn't Eduard coming out with a special edition A-6? Hmmm. I can't wait to tackle their BF-110Gs and bring on the Bf-109s, both in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale. Great job Eduard. Eduard is consistently putting out some of the best aircraft kits on the market and this is certainly one of them. Buy and build it with confidence.
Above all remember- Modeling is fun!
HINTS AND TIPS
There are a few keys to a successful Eduard FW-190 kit.
Walk Around 22- Focke-Wulf FW-190A/F, Malcolm Laing and E. Brown Ryle, Squadron/Signal, 2000, ISBN 0-89747-414-7
Aero Details 6: Focke-Wulf FW-190A/F, Shigeru Nohara and Masatsugu Shiwaku, Dai Nippon Kaiga Co., 1993, ISBN 4-499-22603-1
Focke Wulf Jagdflugzeug, Peter Rodeike, ISBN 3-923457-44-8
Photo Hobby Manual #1501-Special Drawings Focke Wulf FW-190 Part 1, Radek Vavrina, CMK, ISBN 9-788090 377844