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Originally published on:
AeroScale

Fw 190A Nightfighters Dual Combo

Introduction
Back in February, during the Nürnberg Toy Fair (see report here, Eduard have announced the release of a Nightfighter Dual Combo package of their 1:48 scale Fw 190A. As soon as I saw the artwork in their 2009 catalogue, I knew the kit would end on the top of my "to build" list. Well, a few months later, when I opened the box (see review here) the envy was still there, maybe even stronger. So here is the result in double specimen!

Indeed, rather than build only one model from the package, I've decided to make two at the same time. Firstly because the Dual Combo kits are designed for this, and secondly because you can save a lot of time when you assemble and paint two identical aircraft models rather than doing them one after the other. For example, you don't have to figure out how the parts go together twice, so assembling the second kit is much easier. You can also paint both models during the same session and use the same paint mixtures, without having to clean the airbrush each time. I'd say that the first build takes you 100% of the usual working time while the second only takes 50% away. However, one has to be very organized during the build and very carefull not to mix the parts of both aircraft together. That's why the first thing I did was to eliminate the spare parts of the kit (there are quite a lot as you can see in one of the accompanying photos) and seperate the leftover in two cardboard boxes, one for each variant I chose to model. These were option D, a Fw 190 A-7/R-11 and option E, a Fw 190 A-8/R-11, the aircraft which are represented on the cover artwork. Once this preparation work was done, it was finally time to start building!

I won't explain how both models did go together in two seperate chapters. Since they were done at the same time and are mainly composed of identical parts, I will only go through the building process once. When there will be differences, I will of course point them out in the article. The same goes for the painting, decalling and weathering stages. Also, to make things easier to understand, I will follow Eduard's instructions page by page and highlight the potential problem areas to watch out for.
Page 3: the cockpit
The cockpit interiors of Eduard's serie of Fw 190 kits are the most detailled when compared to those of other 1:48 scale kits of the same aircraft. With the plastic part alone, it is possible to do a nice work, but photo etched parts are provided as well and this makes the difference in the end.

Assembling the cockpit tub is not too complicated except for some very small PE parts which are a bit fiddly to glue in place. It is necessary to decide whether you want to use the plastic parts or the photo etched parts in some places. But quite frankly, I don't know any reason not to use as many metal parts as possible since most of them are pre-painted and look very realistic.

However, I've noticed a little problem with the options I chose (remember D and E) because Eduard did not provide enough PE parts to do these two aircraft at the same time. I ended up using the plastic parts for the side consoles of the Fw 190 A-8 and painted them using the PE parts as a guide for the colors. For the instruments panels, the problem is similar, but I used the photo etched parts anyway because the differences between the A-5/6 and A-7/8 variants is very minor, which wasn't the case for the side consoles.

The interior was painted in RLM 66 (Tamiya X63), then drybrushed with Prince August paints and finally received a wash of Klir (the equivalent of Future here in France) mixed with black to add depth. Of course, seat belts are provided and these were glued on the seat which was then placed inside the cockpit. Once finished, it looked very convincing from the box.
Page 4: gun bay and fuselage
Eduard's Fw 190A kits are supposed to be built with some panels in the opened position. This is the case of the upper gun bay for example. I've decided to do one aircraft (option E) in this configuration while the second one (option D) will be "all closed" except for the canopy.

In both cases you have to install the 2 X 13mm MG131s armament mounting (though you can leave the guns aside if you plan to glue the upper cowling in the closed position). This is because the engine will be later glued on the firewall which is a component of this sub-assembly. This area of the aircrafdt was mostly painted in RLM 02 (own mix) except for the MGs (Dark Iron) and some cables in Yellow. I haven't added more details in the gun bay because I wanted to build the kits from the box, but there is room for superdetailling here.

Before gluing the cockpit and the gun mounting into the fuselage halves you must be warned! Eduard made a big mistake in their instruction in that they have alloted the fuselage parts C1 and C3 to the options A, B, C, D and F and fuselage parts A1 and A2 to marking E. If you follow the instructions, you will end up with a model having the wrong airframe! To be correct, you must use the parts C1 and C3 for option E (A-8 variant) and parts A1 and A2 for options A, B, C, D and F (A-5/6 and 7 variants).

It is very important to test fit the gun mounting assembly first and then to glue it into place once you are really sure that it is well aligned. If you don't, you will have problems later with the engine and the cowling! Also, you must not forget to add the tailwheel at this stage. You can either use the single piece one or the three piece one. I chose the later because it looked more realistic.
Pages 5 to 7: wing assembly
Usually, assembling the wings of a fighter model is a straightforward task which consists of gluing two upper parts to a one piece under part. In the case of the Eduard Fw 190 kit it is not as easy, mostly because of the rather complex design of the landing gear bay of the real aircraft. However, with care, a good result can be achieved and once painted, drybrushed and washed, the landing gear bay looks very convincing. Here again I've used my own RLM 02 mix. The wing root MGs are to be added at this point, but be warned, they will be in the way until the end of the build so it is probably better to cut them in two pieces and glue the protruding barrels at the end.

Again, a choice has to be made between several optional parts. In total, there are four different underwings and two pairs of upperwings in this Dual Combo box. For the A-7, I had to use the underwing F, and for the A-8 the underwing E. The only difference between both is the presence of a ventral access hatch on the latter. I know other manufacturers which would have asked you to fill or rescribe the optional panel lines. This is not the policy of Eduard obviously! For the upper wings, I've used parts A3 and A4 for the A-7 and parts C2 and C4 for the A-8. The wings are identical except for the additional gun cover plates of the A-8. I know other manufacturers... well, you get the picture!

Before gluing the upper wings to the underwing, it is necessary to drill some holes for the "Neptun" radar antennas. In the case of the A-7, there are 14 small holes in total and for the A-8 four bigger ones. According to some references I've studied, the antenna locators on the A-7's underwing are not correct. It is necessary to move them outwards by about 13 mm. On the last drawing of the instructions they are shown in the exact position though, outside of the guns. It seems as if the antennas on the upper wings could be moved to the wing tips by a couple of mm as well but it's not as important as on the underside. The locators for the A-8 antennas are correct.

Once every hole has been drilled and the wing root gun bays glued in place, the upper wing parts can be attached to the underwing. The ailerons are separate and they are secured at this point. The wing to fuselage fit is excellent and almost no filler was necessary to achieve a clean finish. The instructions ask you to assemble and glue the upper instrument panel and gunsight assembly at this stage but I've decided to wait until the model was entirely painted, so I left it aside for the moment.
Pages 8 and 9: engine and cowlings
Eduard provides a complete engine in the box. I first wanted to display it on one model but I've noticed that it is in fact not possible out of the box. Indeed, the side panels are not meant to be shown in the opened position because there is no internal structure details on them, like it is the case for the gun bay cowling for example. So in the end, despite the fact that it looks very nice once painted, not much will be visible of the BMW 801 once it is hidden inside the nose of the aircraft.

I've noticed during the build that if you assemble the engine as shown in the instructions, the frontal fan (partJ39) was pushed to much forward, giving the model an odd aspect. Thus you will have to find a way to reduce the length of the engine by 1mm in order to obtain a more acceptable look for your "Würger". There are several places were this can be achieved, so the choice will mostly depend on the fact whether the model will be represented "all closed" or "all opened". To some extent, it's as if Eduard have simply forgot to leave some space for the glue, so tight is the fit!The exhaust parts must be glued with the help of a template, which was a fiddly job, but finally they ended up in the exact position they were supposed to be.

The frontal cowling assembly is made of five parts which are to be positionned around the engine and over the underside cowling which is an extension of the underwing. I have tried two different techniques to fit these parts in order to see what would work best. For my first attempt, I've followed the instructions and assembled the five parts before gluing them to the fuselage. It didn't worked very well and filler was needed for an acceptable finish. For my second attempt, I've only glued the upper part on the front ring (part K25 and K26) and then to the fuselage. Then, I've glued the side panels and, to my surprise, it worked much better! However, adjustments were necessary nonetheless.
Pages 10 and 11: landing gears and underwing details
The landing gear legs are nicely detailed from the box and they are easy to put in place at the right angle thanks to well designed locators. It is important to get the undecarriage in the right position because this is what gives the Fw 190 it's distinctive sit on the ground. The inside of the landing gear cover as well as the gear legs are painted RLM 02. I chose to fit two styles of tyres (threaded and smooth) to my models for no other reason than to have something different for each.

According to the instructions, several smaller parts are to be added at this stage (Morane antenna, loop antenna, outboard cannons, pitot tube, retractable step, ETC 501 rack etc...). However, it is wiser to glue them on the model at the very end of the build, once all the painting is finished.
Pages 12: canopy and gun bay cowlings
You can decide to leave the sliding hood of the canopy in the opened or closed position and, of course, I 've tried both possibilities. I had to slightly reduce the width of part K12 (pilot armor plate) to fit it into the flexed version of the hood (part N1).

Gluing the gun bay cowlings don't represent a big challenge unless you want to do an "all buttoned up" aircraft. In the latter case, some adjustment work will be necessary. For the closed wing root gun bay covers I've decided to go another route than indicated in the instructions. I've added some plasticard into the gun bays and glued the heavily thinned covers upon them. With the help of some filler and with the photo etched parts PE47 I've managed to achieve a reasonably good finish. One has to know that the fit of these wing root gun covers wasn't very good on the real aircraft, especially on late war machines!
Pages 13: antennas
Once the model is assembled and painted, it is time to add what makes the Nightfighter Fw 190s so special: the antennas. Those of the A-8 were easy to put into place as they consist of four plastic parts. For the A-7 it was not the same story as the aircraft is a real hedgehog with it's 21 antennas. In the Eduard kit they are provided as very fine photo etched parts which look realistically in scale. To glue the small PE mounting dots I've use a toothpick fitted with some Blu-Tack at the tip and it worked well. I have arbitrarily decided to paint all the radar antennas in RLM 66 since there was no color indications in the instructions.

Both models should have been fitted with extended firing tubes for the fuselage guns but there was only one pair in the box... doh! I've decided to fit the PE tubes to the A-8 which is also the only variant from this Dual Combo package which was equiped with additional exhaust flame dampers.
Painting, decalling and weathering
I've used my own mixes of Tamiya paint to airbrush the models. After having been pre-shaded, they both received the standard RLM 74/75/76 camouflage but, according to the instructions, the A-8 had no fuselage mottlings but instead an uncommon (for this timeframe) black "Adlerflügel". Once the paint was dry, several coats of Klir (Future) were applied.

The decals went on very well with only a minimum of setting solution (Mr. Mark Softer). After a few days I've applied an oil wash and after some more days the models received a final coat of satin varnish (klir mixed with Tamiya X-21 Flat Base). Weathering was done with some Maskol applied over an aluminium base color for the paint chipping and Tamiya weathering pastel for exhaust stains and dirt.

The aerial wires were the final touches I've added to the models and they represent the only items which were not provided in this Dual Combo box. The insulators are made from dots of white glue and the tension springs of fine copper wire.

The display bases on the photos are from Mark58. The VW car is from Tamiya and the figures from ICM and Preiser.
Conclusion
overall, I must say that this was a very enjoyable (double) build. The Eduard Fw 190 kit is well designed and the fit of the parts is really excellent. However, you must be very precise when assembling the parts or you will get into big troubles! No doubt that it is a very demanding but in the end also very rewarding model kit.

Thank you Eduard for providing the Fw 190A Nightfighter Dual Combo kit for review.
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About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)
FROM: MOSELLE, FRANCE

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.