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Tamiya 1/48 FockeWulf Fw190A-3

By Andrew Irving

 

History

The Focke Wulf Fw190 was one of the Second World War's most attractive and functional aircraft. The Fw190A's introduction into combat caused heavy losses and considerable alarm in the RAF, as it was superior in most respects to the current Spitfire Mk.V. The Fw190A maintained this advantage until the introduction of the Spitfire Mk.IX in July of 1942.

The Fw190 underwent constant development during the war, culminating in the Fw190D and Ta152 High Altitude fighter. Tamiya's kit represents the Fw190A-3. This aircraft had an improved BMW 801Dg engine of 1700hp, an increase in armament from four to six guns, two cowl mounted MG17 machine guns, two MG151 fast firing cannons in the wing roots, and two outboard wing mounted MG FF machine guns. A deadly machine indeed, especially in the hands of an 'experten'.

The Kit

This kit is typical of Tamiya kits, having well-moulded parts in a sturdy box with overly thick decals giving three optional finishing schemes. I choose the Hahn (cockerel) of 111./Gruppe for my model.

Building the Kit

I started by my usual habit of washing all parts in warm water and dishwashing detergent, followed by a rinse, patting dry and leaving on the bench to air dry overnight. I then started getting some of the basic painting out of the way, using my favourite painting stick, a piece of 2'" x .5" pine wrapped with 'inside out' Masking tape to hold bits and pieces for painting. I then proceeded to paint the RLM 66 interior pieces, cockpit tub, instrument panel, fuselage sides, etc.

Actually I did this for four kits at a time, as I'm building a series of Focke Wulf aircraft. Interior details painted, instrument panels and side consoles, spinners, propeller blades in RLM 70, and landing gear pieces in RLM02 were 'group' painted. This really speeds up final assembly and minimizes airbrush cleaning!

The fuselage sides were assembled next and the painted engine attached, no extra detail work was done on the engine as it can barely be seen behind the cooling fan, seam filling was minimal and a little Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500 and sanding took care of this.

The interior was fitted at this time from the bottom, through the wing mount opening, check your fit by taping the fuselage together and test fitting before gluing the fuselage together (in case this method doesn't work on your particular project). )

The wing tops were assembled to the one piece bottom at this time, the interior RLM02 having previously been painted and the landing gear mounting holes filled with Blue Tack re-usable adhesive (often used to mount business papers to conference room walls, easily removed without damaging the wall) to keep paint out of the mounting holes. The fit of the wing parts was good with a little GS Mr. Surfacer and sanding smoothing things out. Fit of the wing to the fuselage was a little less accurate, but with some test fitting and parts shimming a fillerless fit was obtained. A spreader bar of sprue was placed across the fuselage under the cockpit tub, test fitting and shortening the spreader until width was correct). A shim was placed in the wing to raise the top edge a little and a good fit was obtained, a little Surfacer painted along the seam line to seal things up, and we were done with the wing to fuselage joint.

The undercarriage was made up as a separate operation, brake lines added, wheel hubs painted gloss black and tires with Aeromaster 'Tire' and glued to the landing gear. The tail wheel assembly was also finished and set aside for later mounting.

Painting

The entire model was primed with a coating of Mr. Surfacer, thinned to water-like consistency with lacquer thinners, and sprayed on. Smoothing was done with #0000 Cabinet Makers steel wool (NOT household steel wool), and sanded with 3000 to 12000 grit paper from a finishing kit. Finally the panel lines were pre shaded with flat black. The panel lines were also smoothed out a bit with fine sandpaper

The underside, fuselage sides and rudder were sprayed with Aeromaster RLM76, lightly at first until the desired panel line effect was achieved, and then the centres of the panels were filled in a little denser, first step in the weathering process.

The bottoms of the wing edges were masked off and fuselage masks were made from file folder card to delineate the upper fuselage and side colours. (Fig.13) These were fastened to the fuselage sides with pads of Tamiya Masking Tape rolled inside out to hold and raise the template away from the surface a little to give a soft edge between the sides and upper fuselage colours.

The trim tabs on the ailerons and emmpenage were painted quickly and easily with an Artist Red Gel Pen, no masking required. These pens are found in Art supply stores in a multitude of colours and are ideal for interior knobs, switches, buttons, etc. The longer I have them, the more use I find for them.

During the course of construction, I repeatedly knocked off the pitot tube and machine gun barrels in the wing, and I finally removed them altogether, drilling locating holes in the wing prior to painting. Wing machine gun barrels were made from brass tubing chucked in a variable speed drill and the muzzle filed to shape at low speed with a fine miniature file. The inside bore of both the machine guns and cannons was reamed with a mini rat-tail file to more scale like thickness, then painted in black with a gun metal dry brushing, and mounted in the wings after painting of the model was complete. The fuselage moulded-in cowl guns were drilled out with a fine bit mounted in a pin vise.

Topside painting was accomplished with Aeromaster RLM75 grey violet (lightened with a bit of RLM76 to give more contrast) and RLM74 Greygreen. Wing patterns were masked using a cutout paper pattern, wrapped tightly around the wing and tacked with a bit of masking tape on the underside, the same method was used on the fuselage topside colour divisions. I make these templates by scanning the painting diagram into my computer and enlarging to 1/48 size, or close enough (they don't have to be exact). The lighter colour is sprayed on first, and after drying thoroughly, the cutout masks are wrapped around the wing or stabilizers tightly and taped on the underside to secure for painting. This gives a very definite demarcation line between colours, yet is not razor sharp, and in my opinion more scale-like.

Finally the undercarriage, tail wheel, and cannon barrels were added. A coat of gloss coat was applied prior to decalling. Micro Set, Micro Sol, and a touch of Solveset was applied here and there to settle the kit decals. A wash of thinned Raw Umber Artists Acrylic, thinned with distilled water, was given to the panel lines, and final weathering and exhaust stains, using pastels was applied, followed by a coat of Microscale Flat. A little touching up of the weathering here and there and the antenna was fixed using 'invisible'thread fixed with super glue and tightened by holding a 'blown out' match about a half inch away to tighten. Insulators were made with a touch of Humbrol Clearfix, later touched up with white paint from a Artists Gel Pen. The vibration-dampening cone was made from a thin slice of fine plastic tubing placed on the thread before mounting and fastened in place with super glue and the shape built up with clear fix, touched up with a black Gel Pen.

With the pre-painted propeller and cooling fan assembly added, Voila!, it is finished - all but the picture taking.

References

– Profile Publications #3 The Focke-Wulf FW 190 A – Squadron/Signal Publications Focke Wulf FW 190 in Action Nos.19 and 170
– Various other books in my 'Library'

Conclusions

A nice kit to build . . . no built-in problems to work around . . . looks the part when finished. Pity that the decals don't match the quality of the kit.

Recommended for all.




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