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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Fw 190A-3 ProfiPACK Edition -- 1:48 Scale

The Fw 190 was one of the best-known aircraft of the 20th century, and Eduard’s family of new-tool Fw 190s in 1:48 scale keeps growing.  These new Würgers continue to make a big impression among scale modelers.  Eduard’s first generation of 1:48 scale Fw 190s kits came out in 2006, and since then, they’ve taken a distinctly new and better approach to the iconic Würger.  In late 2017, they began releasing their second generation quarter scale Fw 190As, and in this review, we sit down with the new Eduard Fw 190A-3 kit.

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In 1934, the German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) issued a call for proposal for a modern fighter design to definitively rearm and modernize the Luftwaffe.  Arado, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel, and Messerschmitt developed prototypes for a fly-off.  The Me 109 was of course selected in 1936 as the winning design to begin a famous chapter in German aviation.  But by 1937, the RLM saw a need for a second fighter to complement the Me 109.  Focke-Wulf designers led by Kurt Tank took another look at their losing Fw 159 prototype and began to develop a range of new designs, drawing on its virtues but also transcending its weaknesses.  Design studies reached maturity when they included an air-cooled, 14-cylinder BMW 139 radial engine and paired with innovations that achieved a low-drag cowling that also optimized engine airflow and cooling characteristics.  Other features included extensive use of electrical versus hydraulic controls, control rods (as opposed to cables) that made handling more crisp and responsive, and various airframe refinements including an increased wing loading.

The first Fw 190 Würger (or Shrike) V1 flew on 01 June 1939.  This marked the origin of one of the most prolific production runs of any WWII-era fighter involving some 20,000 airplanes that spanned (by my count) 77 variants and sub-types.  Many were powered by the twin-row BMW 801 radial engine, though other versions (e.g., the D-model, or the Dora) fielded an in-line powerplant.  The Fw 190 and the Me 109 together formed the spine of the Luftwaffe’s fighter corps.  It was arguably the Luftwaffe’s most effective day fighter, serving in every corner of Europe and North Africa.  It also excelled as a fighter-bomber, dedicated ground-attack platform, and night fighter.  And in the opinion of many pilots, the Fw 190 was superior to the Me 109 in terms of its heavier armament and superior low to mid-altitude performance.

The Fw 190A-3 was an early Würger variant equipped with the BMW 801 D-2 powerplant.  Compared to the A-2 variant powered by the BMW C-2, the new D-2 engine provided more horsepower and better performance at altitude.  The Fw 190A-3 retained the weapons fit of the A-2: two nose-mounted 7.92 mm MG 17s machine guns and two 20 mm MG 151/20E cannons in the wings. There were three production sub-variants that also featured rocket pylons, bomb racks, and reconnaissance gear. 

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Eduard’s ProfiPack edition of their new-tool Fw 190A-3 comes on five blue-gray sprues holding a total of 185 parts (about 100 will be used; see below).  Ten clear parts are on also found on one sprue. As the ProfiPACK edition of the kit, there’s also one fret of pre-painted photoetched metal parts containing 44 parts and one pre-cut vinyl mask set for the masking of the clear parts and wheel hubs.  The full-color instruction booklet guides the build over nine pages.  The decal sheets provide full airframe stencils and markings for five airplanes:

Strengths:  Eduard kits have long been on a developmental and production technology arc.  Their re-tooled Würgers address all the previous critiques of their first generation 1:48 scale 190s – and more broadly speaks to the Eduard’s commitment to scale model builders and the pursuit of the best kit they can make.  All of the observations and accolades that apply to their previous new-issue Fw 190s (see reviews HERE and HERE) also apply here.

But to recap:  the parts breakdown and overall engineering of the Fw 190A-3 results in a kit that is quite straightforward and easy to build.  Construction will not be particularly time consuming.  Surface detail is outstanding as expected from Eduard, with beautifully executed and restrained recessed panel lines and elegant recessed rivet details arrayed into complex (and as best I can tell) ultra-accurate patterns.  I snipped out the fuselage halves and wings to dry fit them, and they appear to line up in airtight fashion.  No filler required here.      

The plastic cockpit parts by themselves are a bit simplified, but the pre-painted photoetched metal parts for the instrument panel, side consoles, shoulder harnesses, and lap belts (among other detail parts) add an impressive level of detail (as it would seem Eduard intended from the get-go).  Engine exhaust stacks are okay for 1:48 scale.  While the exhausts themselves are not hollow as a resin casting can achieve, there’s a Brassin sets for that.  Yet, the kit engine exhausts do feature slightly recessed faces and a good wash of a dark color can achieve the illusion of a deeper exhaust.

The landing gear, tires, and tailwheel assembly are all very nicely detailed and molded.  The rudder, elevators, and ailerons are all separate parts.  At least for the rudder, the mounting tab seems to force a straight-in fit and a little modification might be necessary to fit the rudder in a deflected position.  The clear parts are gorgeous and possess pretty much perfect optical quality with no seams present.  Likewise, the pre-painted photoetched parts are beautifully made and appear just about perfect.               

There are a lot of unused parts in this kit – about 80 in all.  These include an additional propeller, other MG 17 fairings, underwing dipole nightfighter antennas, and alternate gear doors, rudders, and ailerons for other Fw 190 variants. 

The decal sheets were printed in-house by Eduard and cover the five well-chosen and eye-catching schemes described above.  There’s also a complete set of airframe stencils.  Alternate decal versions of the instrument faces are also provided if working with the PE parts is not the builder’s preference.  Printing appears perfect.  Everything is in register, colors look great, and carrier film is finely restrained.    

Weaknesses:  There’s very little to critique here.  First, the landing flaps are not molded as separate parts, but there’s an Eduard PE set for that, too.  Second, I do believe the small inboard main gear well doors should be closed in the parked position, as I understand that they cycled open and then closed when the gear was either retracted or extended.  Third, the cockpit and gear wells are just a bit simplified.  I can confirm this particularly as I recently had my head up into the cockpits and gear wells of a pair of 190s at Military Aircraft Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Again, there’s plenty of photoetched and Brassin sets to take care of any “soft” detail there, and almost anyone can add the appropriate wiring/plumbing in the wells with very little effort.  At the end of the day, these three points do not represent substantive critiques but are things to think about as you plan your build.   

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Overall, this is another fabulous 1:48 scale kit of the Fw 190.  Its quality, detail, and interesting paint schemes hit on all the right points to pique my interest.  For those interested in adding even more detail to their second-generation Eduard Fw 190A-3, Eduard has simultaneously released cockpit, engine, machine gun, propeller, and cannon bay detail sets, cast bronze main landing gear, wheels, exhaust stacks, and other sets.  Stay tuned for reviews of those and related products here at Detail & Scale!

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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