||Last Updated: Aug 21st, 2020 - 13:06:35
Last year, Hasegawa followed up its excellent 1/32nd scale Fw190D-9 kit with the release of the Fw190A-8 and Fw190A-5 in 132nd scale. Both kits contain the original sprue for the wings from the Fw190D-9 kit with completely new fuselage mouldings and the specific parts for the A-8 and A-5 variants.
These kits are a huge improvement on the old rivet infested Fw190A kit of the 1970s and the ropey “high-tech” Fw190D-9 of the mid ‘eighties. Being only slightly more expensive than the average 1/48th scale kit, they are great value too. Two sets of markings are included in the kit: Hans Dortenmann’s “Red 1” of JG54 and Rudolf Artner’s “Yellow 10” of JG5.
Resin manufactures have been quick to crank out replacement parts to correct the minor deficiencies in these kits and there a number of after market decal sheets to choose from as well.
From an early stage, I had decided to build my Fw190A-8 as a Stürmbock – the heavily armoured appearance of these machines has always fascinated me. After poking around the various decal makers’ websites, I decided on Eagle Strike sheet 32-062 “Rammjäger Part 2”as the sheet to use. This sheet contains markings for three aircraft: “Black 13” and “Black 8” of IV/JG3 and “White 11” of II/JG4. All three are well documented machines, particularly “White 11” which was captured by U.S. forces at St. Trond in France. “Black 13” has always appealed to me with its black cowling and yellow bordered black fuselage trim over an overall dark grey fuselage. What’s more, it is the only one of the three aircraft featured on the sheet to have the “blinkers” fitted to each side of the canopy. These armoured glass panels were quite crude affairs, being surrounded by hefty wooden frames and were often removed as an impediment to good visibility. To my mind a Stürmbock ain’t a Stürmbock without them, though…
… Is pretty straightforward and involves the following items:
Adding the armoured panel to each side of the cockpit area
Adding the armoured glass “blinkers” if appropriate
Deleting the upper fuselage nose guns – a lot of Stürmbocks had these removed to compensate for the weight of the armour and 30mm wing guns.
Fill in the existing cartridge ejection chutes
Open out new large chutes inboard of the gun access panels
Replace the outboard gun barrels with new shorter items from aluminium tube
Construction - fuselage
As always, (well – nearly always…) the fun starts with the cockpit. Instead of opting for a resin replacement set, I added a few bits and pieces to the kit cockpit to spruce it up a bit. In contrast to the Bf109 cockpit, the ‘pit in the Fw190 is a very tidy setup with fully enclosed side consoles to hide all the wiring. Bearing this in mind, I added the foot strap to each rudder pedal, made up a throttle handle from scrap plastic – this is a very prominent item in any Fw190 cockpit and it’s absence will be noticed in 1/32nd scale. Other additions included a seat harness made up from lead foil and photo-etch buckles and the firing cable that runs off the control column.
The kit part F13 which is the bracing for the pilots armoured head rest (part F15) was much modified. I started by cutting away the long bracing strut, this was replaced with a length of Evergreen strip which had a slot (carefully!) cut into it to accommodate the aerial lead-in wire. A tiny flange was added to each side of the brace and stretched sprue bracing wires were run from each flange to the rear canopy bulkhead. Once the whole shebang was painted and installed inside the canopy, the aerial lead-wire was added. Very finicky, but it improves the appearance of that area wonderfully – and in 1/32nd scale it would be remiss not to correct this area. Another minor addition was to drill out the flare pistol port on the starboard fuselage, below and in front of the windscreen.
A lot has been said about the similarity of the assembly of the cowling and engine to the old “Rubik’s Cube” 1/48 Trimaster Fw190 kits – in fact they are virtually identical - allowing for scale of course, but I’ll be a smug git and say that having assembled several Trimaster Fw190s, the bigger Hasegawa kit held no terrors for me… the main difference between the kits is that the smaller Trimaster kit moulded the cowling ring and engine front as a one piece insert whereas the Hasegawa kit has this broken down into a five-piece engine assembly with a separate cowling ring.
Not as much work to do here, I filled the ejector chutes moulded into parts X1 and X2 and cut out new and larger chutes just inboard of these inserts. There is a rectangular panel adjacent to these pieces and that’s where the new chutes were added. I fitted outboard wing cannon (parts R20) to each wing as per the instructions. Once properly set, the cannon barrels were lopped off and the stumps drilled out with a pin vice to accept new larger (and much shorter!) barrels cut from aluminium tube. Not every Stürmbock carried the 30mm cannon, so if contemplating this conversion, check your references for the particular aircraft being modelled – the same applies to the fuselage guns, which may or may not be fitted. I cut out the slot for the pilot’s retractable footstep (part K20) in the one-piece lower wing and glued in the flaps before mating upper and lower wing parts. When the flaps had set rock-hard, I bent them back to a more realistic angle than the vertical drop that they are moulded in. The kit’s drop tank was swapped for one from the 1/32 Bf109G-4 kit, which I’m informed is more accurate for this kit (can’t tell the flippin’ difference – but that’s me…) the fit of the wings to the fuselage is not brilliant, but with a bit of tweaking and filler, the job was done.
For me, always the best part of the job – until all those pesky seams that you’d thought had disappeared show up again… At any rate “Black 13” has a simple but striking paint job. The wings and underside are in the standard Luftwaffe grey paint scheme, but the whole fuselage has been repainted in a solid coat of grey-green 74 with a solid black cowling and yellow-edged black trim covering the exhaust panels and wing roots. One can only surmise that the paint job was applied to the real thing after the armoured panels were attached to the fuselage sides.
I used my supplies of Aeromaster enamels for this job – having run out of my usual Xtracolour brew. The Aeromaster paint normally dries with a very matte and porous finish that just slurps up subsequent coats of gloss varnish. I’ve found that by tipping a goodly amount of gloss varnish in with the paint prior to spraying I can get a much smoother finish that takes varnish very well and doesn’t tend to dry out on the paint nozzle so readily either.
With decaling done and the model given a coat of matte varnish, and added the morane antennae (part K16) under the port wing and the stump of the whip aerial (part K16) to the underside of the rear fuselage. Both of these pieces had the aerial parts replaced with stretched sprue. Lastly the wingtip navigation lights were added and painted in clear red (port) and clear blue (starboard) and a stretched sprue aerial wire strung from the fin cap to the aerial lead-in on top of the canopy.
A fun kit to build and one which will result in a good replica of Focke-Wulf designer Kurt Tank’s masterpiece – highly recommended.
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