FW-190A Night Fighter
This kit is a new Profipack boxing of the venerable 1/48 scale Eduard FW 190A series, this time in its Nachtjager guise. It was my first foray into the Eduard FW 190 and I was blissfully unaware of the quirks of this kit. I started working on this kit during a build night at my Local Plastic Model Club and two other members warned me as to what I had gotten myself into. As the build went on I was to see why everyone has a love hate relationship with this kit and why it paid to heed their warnings. The Eduard Profipack is chock full of what we’ve come to expect from Eduard. Superb photo etch for the cockpit and other external parts (in this case the antennae for the FuG 217 Radar). Excellent masks for the canopy and wheels, and enough plastic parts to practically make two full kits. It also comes with an extensive decal set for 4 different aircraft from the a-5 through a-8 series and a sheet of stencil decals as well.
Construction begins in the cockpit and off the bat you will need to choose which variant you are going to build. Variant A and D use one form of panels in the cockpit and Variant B and C use another. I chose Variant A as it actually used a different kind of radar, the FuG 218 which had 4 antennae, three under the wing and one on top. The directions are very good and show where the photo etch replaces the plastic and what needs to be scraped off and sanded. The cockpit builds up quickly and looks great once its complete.
The next few steps are where the love hate relationship that everyone has comes into play. First off there is an error for what guns to use in the fuselage. There is no firewall for Variant C! it has you use one type for variant A and D and another for Variant B and D. It’s an easy fix if you go back a page and see what cockpit variant you are using (the fix is that marking B and D should be B and C) but this simple error is a harbinger of things to come. These same steps have you buildup the firewall and gun tray. THESE HAVE TO BE ALIGNED PERFECTLY!) If these are off even slightly the fuselage will not close correctly. I had been warned about this and even then I still didn’t get it quite right. My recommendation is that while it is drying test fit against one side of the fuselage and make sure it lines up exactly with the small pins that are inside each fuselage half. This will be a recurring theme in the kit as everything has to be aligned exactly so or there will be fairly major gaps. as the firewall and gun tray are drying there are a few small photo etch parts to put on each side of the fuselage interior and also you can decide if you want a one piece tail wheel or a multi-part one. They are the same when compared side by side but the multi-part one allows you to paint the tail wheel independently of the strut. I chose the multi-part. The last step in this subassembly is to attach the gun tray and fire wall to the fuselage along with the cockpit and tail wheel and close it up. This is the moment of truth and you will know if things are going to go well or not. If all is aligned then the fuselage will close up nice and tight, if not you’ll know quite fast that it isn’t. I got lucky and had very little filler that I needed to use but I did have to clamp the front tightly and use some gap filling CA as there was still just a bit of a gap. I thought the hard part was over but next came the wing.
Up next in the build was the wing. The first step is drilling out the holes for the antenna pattern you’ve chosen. Also if you chose to you need to open holes in the centerline to attach the drop tank rack later on in the build. Next up is adding the main wing spar. This is the second area of trouble that I had been warned about and I didn’t get as lucky with this as I had with the fuselage. In addition to adding the main wing spar you also add in ribs that are visible in the wheel wells along with the interior covers of the main gear. All these parts have to line up and I failed at that. In the end I ended up having to trim the ribs down to fit correctly so that at least part of the upper portions of the leading edge of each wing was flush and flat against the lower portion. You won’t know though that there is a problem until later when you add the upper wings to the lower. There is a step in between though where you choose to have the wing gun covers open or closed. If open you just add the lower gun trays if closed you have to open a small area in the upper wing for the blister cover to sit flush. After all this has dried you add the inner wing guns to the lower wing and then try to seal it all up. This is the moment when you know if it all worked or not and in my case it didn’t. After some surgery with the ribs and lots of pressure I got the tops to meet the bottom wing and only needed filler in the wing root area. I dodged a bullet but it added a lot of frustration to the build.
Once this was done it was time to mate the fuselage to the wings. This is a bit tricky in that the gun mounts for the fuselage guns extend into the landing gear bay and it is a tight fit. Once you get the mounts into the slot it’s pretty easy to align everything else. I did have to do a bit of filing where the root met the fuselage but it was minor. It was then that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. You add the ailerons then and the glare shield with upper instrument panel. Then it’s onto the engine.
The engine is a model in and of itself. It’s a very detailed version of the BMW801 it goes together nicely and is pretty easy to build. When you are done with the core there is a template to slide onto the rear end and you can add in all the exhaust pipes. Just remember to not glue the template on as it will not fit into the model. Once the engine is completely dry you need to build and attach the engine mount this can be tricky to align but if done slowly and with constant referral to the directions it makes into a surprisingly strong mount. Next up is to build the cowling and again you have 3 different cowls for the four aircraft. Just make sure you build the right one for your variant. You can also build it so that the side panels are left open so you can see the engine. I chose to close it up and in hindsight I wish I had kept the panels open as the engine really is nice in this kit.
Masking Painting and Decaling
One of the great things about an Eduard Profipack is the addition of the Eduard Masks. In this case the masks are for the wheels and the canopy. They are as good as ever and went on easily and with no fuss. They sealed up nicely and when the paint was dry they left a perfect line while keeping the clear parts clear.
The scheme I chose was Variant A. It uses the splinter scheme of RLM76 lunderside and sides with a combination of RLM74 and 75 on the upper fuselage and wings with some mottled areas on the tail also in RLM. For painting I used ModelMaster enamels and Alclad II metals for the metallic parts. Once the paint was dry I gave it an overall coating of Testors Glosscoat to prepare for decaling. The decals are great, all in the proper register and thickness. They went on easily and only needed a small amount of Testors decal solvent to get them to settle into all the panel lines. The only bit of confusion here is that the numbers on the decal sheets do not match the numbers given in the directions. It is easy though to see which decals go where though with the full color drawings. This kit also comes with a set of stencil markings and these can be a bit confusing as to which goes on what variant but the full color drawings again will help to guide you. One final thing about the decals is that Eduard gives you full swastikas in both black and with a white surround. They also have them cut in half if you so desire but there is no need since the full ones are there. I would recommend trying to find photos of the real aircraft since on the drawings they are blurred and you can’t tell which to use. Once all the decals had time to dry the model got a final coat of Testors Dullcoat and the model was complete.
It has been my privilege to review this kit and I want to thank Eduard and IPMS for this opportunity.