Fw-190A-5/U12 with Gun Pack
I’ve always loved the look of the Fw-190A-5/U12. Designed with two cannon pods containing two cannons each, it’s one mean machine. For those of us who are old enough to remember, we had the Monogram Fw-190 in the ‘70s, and in that kit they included the gun pods. While not totally accurate, it did make an impression on a little red headed kid. I built it with my kid. Fast forward a few years (okay, so more than a few), and we are blessed with accurate Fw-190s all around, but no U12 versions…until now.
Hasegawa’s Fw-190 kits are easy to build and really accurate. Inside this one, there are five sprues of light grey plastic with no flash or blemishes. The panel lines are recessed and display typical Hasegawa fine quality. Amazingly, the parts count is low at 81 pieces. A sprue of clear is also provided. Some poly caps are included for the prop. This makes a very good A-5 version.
So, how would they do the new armament option? The armament option is provided with the two gun pods made out of light grey resin and four brass barrels that are added to them. The resin is a little soft but it doesn’t detract from them as there are no issues with them. The pods are blemish free and easily removed from the resin pour stub. A simple swipe with a sanding stick and they were ready to install. The pods have a raised area on the base that will fit into the recessed areas on the wings. You will have to drill a .5mm hole for the barrels. The brass barrels have mounting pins to fit into those holes. That is easy enough.
The instructions are typical Hasegawa pictionary type. Care must be exercised as there are some panel lines that need to be filled in. I chose to do this before any assembly took place. Also, there were some holes needed for antennas, steps, and the pitot tube that needed to be taken care of. Again, it is easier to do this before you actually assemble the parts.
The decals are typical Hasegawa. They are in register, they do look a little thick on the sheet, and the proof was in their use. There are decals for two aircraft, one flown by Lt. Erich Hondt in 2/JG11 in October 1943. Hondt’s aircraft is quite colorful. It has the red swoosh up both sides of the fuselage and the white tail surface. The other is the prototype, coded BH+CC.
As mentioned earlier, I filled the appropriate panel lines and drilled the holes that would be required for my aircraft, Lt. Hondt’s.
The cockpit is very simple to put together but very complete. The parts count is eight pieces. While this may seem inadequate for the job, it is quite adequate. The only things missing from the cockpit are the seatbelts and shoulder harnesses. Since this was going to be an OOB build, I did not add them. The cockpit was pre-shaded in flat black, then sprayed Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey. This was then weathered with Lamp Black artist oils thinned with turpenoid. A drybrushing of RLM 02 warmed up the look, and then a drybrushing of silver added wear patterns. Apple Barrel paints were then used to add the color to the gauges and leather parts. This fit perfectly in the fuselage halves.
The halves were joined and fit was perfect. A light sanding of the seam lines and the fuselage was done. Really? The whole process up to this point took less than an hour.
The wings were next. They are started with the wheel wells. I pre-shaded them and painted them in Polly-S RLM 02. The top wings were added and, again, the fit was perfect. This whole process was done within a half-hour. Adding the wings to the fuselage presented the first less-than-perfect fit. The rear portion of the wing/fuselage joint had a .15mm gap. This was easily taken care of with some sprue – annoying, but not insurmountable. This is the second Hasegawa Fw-190 I’ve built and this has been present on both kits, so just be aware of it and deal with it. Just a little bit of putty was used on the rounded portion in front of the wings. This is the area that made the A-5 version longer than the previous versions. The tail surfaces fit perfectly, as does the gun cowling.
The forward cowling does require some assembly. If you take your time there will be very little work required for a perfect cowling. I used just a smidgen of putty on the panel line behind the cowl ring – nothing drastic. I could have probably used White Out. The fit was very good. Don’t forget to add the exhausts while you have the cowling off.
The engine assembly fits well. Part E25 was added to the front of the engine. It has a lot of fragile push rods. You will break some. I’m telling you, don’t worry about it. The whole assembly is black and sits so far back in the cowling that I defy anybody to see how many are broken off on mine. It will be tough, but let it go. Paint the inside of the cowling RLM 02 now and the cowl ring RLM 76. Again, don’t forget the exhausts. When you add the engine to the nose, make sure that you align the vertical cutout on the engine assembly at the 12 o’clock position. There is plenty of room to move the engine around and get it incorrect. This cutout mounts on the cowling. You can’t quite add the engine to the cowling first, as it will sit too far forward. Take care and add the cowling while the engine is drying and you’ll be fine. My fit was really good.
The next thing that needs to be done prior to painting is the addition of the resin gun pods. They are easily removed from the pour stub. They are uniquely molded so that the resin piece fits into the wing cutouts. Test fitting revealed that they weren’t quite drop-fits. I used a knife to remove some of the insert part and then glued it in place with superglue. I faired the pieces with some Apoxy Sculpt to ensure a perfect seam.
The whole model was given a wash in warm water with a grease cutting dish detergent, then wiped with Polly-S Plastic Prep. Prior to painting, I added the forward canopy and masked off the wheel wells which I painted earlier. The white tail was painted with Alclad White Primer which, if you haven’t tried it, covers quickly and easily.
After an overnight drying, I masked the area off and pre-shaded the model with Tamiya German Grey. Then I added the yellow to the lower cowling and the fuselage tail band. But wait…a tail band? Hasegawa does not indicate a tail band. Current thought is that there is no band. Yes, this aircraft is too early for an RVD band, but I enlarged the photo and noticed that there is a definite color there that looks solid, not like a camouflaged area. How come the crew always poses where it makes it the most difficult for us modelers? I checked the Prien history on JG1 and 11 and there are aircraft from the period that have white and either red or yellow bands. It isn’t a white band, but I could go with a yellow. It doesn’t have the tonal quantity of the red stripes. Since I’ve seen this aircraft, I’ve seen a larger band. I’m not sure whether this is promulgating a mistake or not. So, until someone can prove me wrong, I’ll keep the fuselage band. It is quite obvious that Hondt wanted to be seen. I mean, who would ever put those red stripes on an airplane? If there is a photo that I haven’t seen, I’ll gladly repaint it in camouflage colors.
The band and nose panel were masked off with Tamiya tape. A mix I had of Tamiya RLM 76 was sprayed over the areas that required it. Some highly thinned RLM 02 was added to the sides. I think I can see it on the pictures. Gunze RLM 75 was added next. A couple of drops of white were added to break up the monotony of the color. I also used this color to fade the control surfaces. Some Lifelike RLM 74 produced the tonal difference that I was after. This, too, was thinned, and a drop of white was added. All the masking tape was removed and anything that needed clean up was taken care of.
I added the landing gear at this time to aid in the decaling process. The landing gear on the Hasegawa Fw-190s is THE BEST FITTING landing gear, period. I’ve built everybody’s Focke Wulf except for Tamiya, and I have to say these are bullet proof. They have large locating blocks that set the angle perfectly. They could almost be added without any glue.
A coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss was added to the whole model to provide the gloss coat needed. Again, if you haven’t used this clear coat, you are missing out. You can build it up perfectly with very little work and can add it in multiple layers. I won’t say it won’t run, but it takes some work to get it to do that. As an acrylic, it is very thin when applied. I love it.
So, do they work? Aren’t they too thick to use? I was debating it but decided to take the plunge. Might as well try them, what’s the worst that can happen? I started with the biggest ones, the red stripes. If these were screwed up, I could paint them on. Well, I was not disappointed. The decals, which as I said looked thick on the paper, performed flawlessly and were actually quite thin once applied. They were perfect, actually. I used a lot of water to float the stripes into position, mostly because of how large they were. I didn’t tamp the one into place until I added the other side. That way they could form a point as they should. Once they were even and in place, I tamped them down. The rest of the decals worked flawlessly as well. I used MicroSol and Solvaset, which worked great. The decals settled down into the panel lines nicely. A coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss was added to seal the decals. Then the model was given a coat of Alclad Klear Flat. The decal film disappeared – so much for the “thickness” of the decals.
With all the markings in place, I started out with fading the paint with dot filters of white, yellow ochre, and burnt umber. These were blended with turpenoid. This was followed up with a wash of burnt umber artist oils. A silver pencil was added to represent chipping on the wing root and leading edge. I used some Tamiya weathering pastels for the exhaust staining. I was not completely satisfied with how this came out but it was too late to do anything about it.
I added the turned brass barrels to the resin pods, then the pitot tube to the wing. I removed the canopy masks and polished the canopy sections with Tamiya canopy polish. The position lights were added to the wing tips and painted with Tamiya clear paints. The prop and spinner were added to the nose. The sliding portion of the canopy was attached with white glue. Once dried, an EZ Line antenna was added to complete the model.
This kit is a real weekend kit. The small parts count and near perfect fit ensures this. The fit is relatively perfect throughout, with the wing-to-fuselage attachment being the only place that wasn’t perfect. The resin gun pods and turned metal barrels were a nice addition. I would have liked Hasegawa to have replaced the inboard cannons with some brass barrels. The decals performed flawlessly and were NOT thick at all. I will use Hasegawa kit decals again, they performed that well. I need to go back now and rethink all those marking options of Hasegawa’s that I cast away as being undoable because of the “thick” decals. Damn, that is going to be expensive.
So a speedy, accurate build with colorful markings and aftermarket parts at a reasonable price makes this a winner for me. Great job, Hasegawa, with finally offering this version of the 190. For those of us who remember the old Monogram kit, this is light years ahead of that venerable antique.
Thanks to Hobbico and IPMS/USA for the review copy.