Focke Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 (Overtrees)
The third kit in Eduard’s FW 190A-8 series is the Fw 190A-8/R2 “Sturmbock” variant. As the American daylight bombing raids became larger and more frequent the Luftwaffe searched for ways to increase the effectiveness of their daytime fighters in bringing down the B-24s and B-17s without drastically increasing their vulnerability to American escort fighters. Focke Wulf’s solution was to add additional armor to key areas of the Fw 190 and to up-gun it. The result was the Fw 190A-8/R2 which had extra armor around the engine, the ammunition boxes in the wings and along the sides of the cockpit. In addition the side panels of the windscreen were beefed up with extra panels of glass and large side panels of toughened glass were installed on the outside of the main canopy. The R2 also had the outer 20mm cannons in the wings replaced with 30mm cannons – giving the Sturmbock a hefty punch.
As this is an overtree set, no instructions were included, so I downloaded the instructions for Eduard’s standard FW 190A-8 kit for general construction and supplemented it with the instructions for the FW 190A-8 Royal Class kit as this shows the differences between the R2 and the standard FW 190. There are several options for the side console tops on the parts tree, so I selected one of the sets that looked appropriate and then used paint to bring out the details. Since the Fw 190 cockpit is fairly small in 1/72 scale, a little color goes a long way and careful painting of the side consoles and the instrument panels can create a cockpit to rival the photo etch set. I left the seat and control stick for later installation as I found this was easier during my first two FW 190 builds. Once the cockpit was dry, I assembled the main fuselage, which has the extra side armor around the cockpit molded on, but I left out the engine until it had been painted and I had determined which of the upper gun cowls was appropriate.
Next step is to assemble the gear wells and wings. The detail that Eduard has provided for the gear wells is impressive and really makes a difference in this kit. As I mentioned in my other FW 190 reviews, take your time when installing the gear wells to make sure they are installed in the correct spot. If they are too far forward they will interfere with the fuselage/leading edge joint when you add the fuselage. I attached the gear bays with slow curing tube glue then dry fit the fuselage and wings together until I was satisfied that the gear bays would not cause and issue with this joint. Once the gear bays had dried, I added the inner 20 mm guns and attached the top wings to the bottom wings, again using the fuselage as an alignment tool.
While the wings were drying, I went back to finish assembly of the fuselage. Some of the R2’s had the engine mounted MG 131s removed and the gun ports faired over, while others retained the MG 131s, so check your references for the aircraft you are building. I elected to keep the MG 131s so I relied on the Royal Class instructions to determine which gun barrels and covers to install. While there are a lot of parts that need to be brought together to assemble the forward fuselage, the engineering is so good that if you take your time, things almost slot into place. The last thing I added was the front of the cowling, which is actually two pieces accurately depicting the actual aircraft cowl. With the fuselage complete, it was joined with the wing assembly and the resulting fit was outstanding with just a minor seam on the bottom where the wing meets the lower fuselage.
I found a couple of nice pictures of the Fw 190A-8/R2 of Hauptmann Moritz, the commander of IV./JG3 in Alfred Price’s Focke Wulf 190 at War with the side canopy panels, so I decided to model this aircraft. The photos show that these extra side panels are installed on a standard (non-blown hood) canopy, so I used the standard canopy for this build. As these extra panels are flat panels, masking with Scotch Magic tape was easy. I left the panels off until the end of construction as the underlying canopy needs to be painted normally as the panels were added later. Moritz’s aircraft was painted in the standard RLM 74/75 over 76 scheme with fairly dense mottle. I used Testors enamel RLM 76 for the undersurfaces and Gunze RLM 74 and 75 for the upper surfaces. I used an Eduard Bf 109 mottle masking template set to paint the fuselage mottle with RLM 74.
As the overtree sets do not include decals, I used decals from a number of different aftermarket sets to recreate the markings of Hauptmann Moritz’s aircraft. Once the decals were dry, I finished the painting with a coat of Testors flat to seal everything.
Eduard’s sprues include several different gun barrels for the outer wing guns, as the R2 had the Mk 108 30mm cannons, you need to use the shorter barrels, parts A56 instead of the longer barrels (A54) used on the standard Fw 190A-8. I assembled and installed the provided centerline drop tank, but discovered quickly that two hands are not quite enough as there are four separate parts that need to be installed and lined up to get the drop tank in the right position. The assembly is a very accurate depiction of the actual mount, but you will need to use slower setting super glue or regular tube glue when attaching the side braces as you will need time to fiddle thing to get the alignment right once you offer up the tank as the only attachment point between the tank and the fuselage itself is the single feed tube. Getting the tank straight and centered while trying to close up the side braces is a little tricky, but if you take your time, you will be rewarded.
I attached the extra glass pieces to the sides of the main canopy by putting a small dot of white glue in each of the four corners. One of the panels aligned with the side of the canopy perfectly, but the other has one corner that will not touch, so I am not sure if I have it reversed or if I accidentally painted two of the same side panel when I had multiple kits under construction.
This is my third overtree set of Eduard’s Fw 190A-8s and I can honestly say I enjoyed building each one more than the one before. This is a really nice kit and Eduard’s kit design gives you several options to allow different sub-variants of the R2 to be modelled.
Highly recommended. Thank you to Eduard for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.