Focke Wulf FW-190F-8 Weekend
The Focke Wulf FW-190 is probably one of the best known of Luftwaffe World War II fighters, and while the FW-190A fighter version was the major production model, a large number of ground attack variants, known as FW-190F and FW-190G, was produced to replace the vulnerable Stukas as the war progressed. The essential difference was the deletion of the outboard wing cannon, and the fitting of various types of bomb and rocket racks. The central rack could carry a bomb or an auxiliary fuel tank, while the wing racks usually carried bombs or rockets, although some aircraft, mainly “G” models, carried wing mounted drop tanks. These versatile aircraft were issued to Schlachtgeshwadern, ground attack units, in large numbers, and in fact, a number of pilots in these units became aces, although their primary role was attacking ground targets. Since approximately 20,000 FW-190’s of all models were produced, there is no shortage of subjects for the serious modeler, as there were numerous variations in color schemes, markings, armament types, and specially equipped aircraft.
A few week ago, a friend and I flew from Phoenix down to Casa Grande, AZ, where we were surprised to find an FW-190A on the line, being prepared for a flight. It was one of those new built aircraft powered by a Russian engine, but it was completely accurate as far as colors and markings, being in Priller’s markings, and it was very rewarding to actually see one of them in the air. The plane was restored by Gosshawk Aviation in Casa Grande, and it was nice to see one in the air. Enjoy the photos.
There are literally hundreds of sources of information on the FW-190, dating from the old Profile Publications up to some of the excellent books available today. In addition, there is no shortage of on-line information, as well as specialty decal sheets available, so there is no excuse for not finding a suitable subject to model.
Eduard has produced a number of FW-190A kits in recent years, and their kits depict almost all of the later variants of the design. Although this particular kit is titles ”FW-190F-8”, there are enough parts on the sprue to build a night fighter, as well as fighter and ground attack versions. There are fully 47 parts marked “do not use” on the sprue, not to mention extra canopy parts. So, you could build any late model variant from A-5 onward from this kit, regardless of the instructions or decals included.
The kit itself is very well molded, with almost no flash. Fit of the parts is good, although I had a few problems with some of the wing parts, mainly because of their complexity. The kit is much more detailed than its nearest rival, the Hasegawa kit, although the new Airfix kit runs it a close second, although it does not have the extensive detail this kit has. One advantage of this kind of kit is the fact that the extra parts can be saved in the spares box and used to convert other kits. That’s why I have built over 100 FW-190’s in 1/72 scale over the years.
The instructions consist of a small 12 page booklet measuring approximately 5 in. by 7 in., and include a sprue diagram, a color guide providing color description plus RLM numbers for Luftwaffe colors, the usual lawyeristic warnings telling young children not to the swallow parts, 8 pages of detailed exploded assembly drawings, two pages of 4 view drawings devoted to the two aircraft depicted by the decal sheet, and a very detailed, if microscopic, diagram showing stenciling locations. This last sheet, I might add, has printing so small that I ended up using my magnifying headset in order to read them. The stencil decals, however, are about the same size, but with the right equipment, everything will come out in the end.
The first step is to refer to the blue shaded “do not use” part of the sprue diagram. I used clippers to cut off all of the unneeded parts, putting them in a plastic bag for future reference. I then referred to the aftermarket parts to see which ones needed to be installed at which point in the assembly process. After removing the parts as needed, I trimmed off the sprue join points and smoothed them off. As required, I glued on the parts as per instructions, and things generally went pretty well. One area that was a bit challenging was the wing assembly, as there is quite a bit of detail and fifteen parts making up the wing alone. Be sure to paint the wing interior RLM green before assembly, as it will be difficult to paint it once the wing halves are joined. Also, select the wing armament you will be using and drill the appropriate holes, as you’ll never fin d the hole locations once the wings are joined. One problem I had was the gun barrels, which had to be installed before the wings were joined. I ended up cutting them off and drilling a hole so they could be reattached after final assembly. In addition, the pitot tube is mounted on the upper right wing panel, and I will guarantee that you will knock it off while handling the model during assembly. I cut that off and reglued it later.
The same goes for the fuselage. Although I have built this kit before, I still had to pay close attention to the assembly process, making sure that the cockpit interior was completely finished and painted. It can then be installed, along with the front firewall section, and then the engine cylinder bank can be installed in the forward fuselage. One part I had a problem with is the small panel that mounts above the instrument panel. Its fit is marginal, and I ended up having to trim the windshield to get everything to fit properly. The landing gear is a bit fiddly to install, but using superglue, I got it to stay in the right position. For whatever reason, in spite of its complexity, this kit goes together much better than one would expect. The kit seems in some ways to be overcomplex, but the results are certainly satisfying when the kit is completed, as it is certainly a more detailed kit than any other than I have built.
Painting and Finishing
The drawings provided in the instructions are excellent, and the assembly instructions tell which color all of the interior parts should be. One problem is that numerous armament variations are provided, from rockets to bombs, and fuel tanks, and the instructions do not give any information as to which aircraft carried which armament variation. I just guessed, and added the rockets, as I didn’t have an FW-190 in my collection with that particular system. Neither drawing provided show any wing bomb racks at all, so everything is guesswork unless you can find photos of these aircraft or more detailed reference material elsewhere.
I did the winter camouflaged aircraft of SG2 in Hungary. Although it has a nearly overall white scheme, I did what they probably did in the first place and gave it a standard 74/75/76 fighter scheme, while painting the yellow striping first. I prefer paint to decals with these types of markings, as decals just don’t do it for me. After the main paint job was completed, I went over the entire topsides of the aircraft with white, and the effect was satisfactory. After a coat of Glosscote, I added the decals. These were very thin, and you have to work carefully, but they went in place with no problems, dried quickly, and did not require any trimming. In addition, there are lots of extras in case you mess up on a few. I used the masks for the canopy, and these saved a lot of work, as I usually mask them by hand.
I had a total of three aftermarket Eduard sets for this aircraft. The masks were very useful, although I didn’t need them for the wheels, as they could be painted separately. I used some of the interior parts, although one envelope contained parts that were already in another one. That means I had some to use on another kit. More on these in the separate reviews.
I have built this kit before, although in the FWS-190A-8 version, and it is essentially the same. It is probably the best “A” model FW-190 kit on the market in the one true scale, and can be used to build nearly every variant of the aircraft. Get one or more if you can find them. Highly recommended.