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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Fw 190A-4 Weekend Edition -- 1:48 Scale



The Fw 190 was one of the best-known combat aircraft of the 20th century.  Eduard’s second generation 1:48 scale injection-molded kits of the Fw 190A-series are perhaps the best you can get in any scale.  Their first release in this family of Würgers was the ProfiPACK edition of the Fw 190A-4 (see our review HERE).  Incidentally, this very kit won Detail & Scale’s 2017 Kit of the Year award.  Recently, the same Fw 190A-4 has been re-released as a no-frills Weekend Edition kit.  Let’s see what we’ve got.

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In 1934, the German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) issued a call for proposal for a modern fighter to definitively rearm and modernize the Luftwaffe.  Arado, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel, and Messerschmitt developed prototypes for a fly-off.  The Me 109 was selected in 1936 as the winning design and thus began a famous chapter in German aviation.  But by 1937, the RML saw a need for a second platform 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.  These 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), and various aerodynamic refinements including an increased wing loading.

The first of more than 20,000 Fw 190s flew on 01 June 1939.  The Fw 190 Würger (or Shrike) and the Me 109 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-4 was introduced in July 1942 and it was the most numerous (and the last) of the early or “original” short-nosed -190s.  It was conceived of as an improved A-3 while it was armed with the standard pair of 7.9mm MG 17s above and behind the engine and two MG 151 20 mm cannons in both wing roots.  Its BMW 801D-2 powerplant was equipped with a power boost system that injected a water-methanol mix into the cylinders to coax additional horsepower and altitude from the engine.  The A-4 also featured a short radio antenna atop the vertical stabilizer.  At the time of its introduction into the war, it was evenly matched with the Spitfire Mk. IX, but by 1943, the appearance of new Allied fighters such as the P-47, P-51, and more advanced Spitfires progressively outclassed the A-4 rendering it obsolete.     

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Fw 190A-4 Weekend Edition kit comes on five dark 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. The decal sheet provides markings and full airframe stencils for two airplanes:

Strengths:  By now, the Eduard 1:48 scale family of new-tool Fw 190s should be familiar to readers of Detail & Scale.  We’ve reviewed several of these kits (e.g., the A-3 and A-5 variants and the Royal Class boxing [you can find them all HERE]).  Eduard’s 1:48 scale Fw 190s are great kits.  They are straightforward, beautifully detailed, and have quickly earned a very strong reputation.  But to recap – here’s what you’ll find in the Weekend Edition kit of the Eduard Fw 190A-4.  

The parts breakdown and overall engineering result 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.  Virtually no filler is required here.     

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. 

There are a lot of unused parts in this kit – about 84 in all.  These include an additional propeller, other MG 17 fairings, underwing stores including drop tanks and bombs, dipole night fighter antennas, and alternate gear doors, rudders, and ailerons reflecting other Fw 190 variants. 

The decal sheets cover two interesting schemes (I really like the diamond cross-hatched paint scheme) as well as a complete set of airframe stencils.  Printing appears perfect.  Everything is in register, colors look great, and carrier film is finely restrained.   

Weaknesses:  There’s really only two minor things that you can ding this kit for.  First, the landing flaps are not molded as separate parts.  Second, the engine face, cockpit, and gear wells are simplified.  A scale modeler can certainly add the appropriate wiring/plumbing in the wells with very little effort.  For the cockpit and engine, there are nicely printed decals for the instrument panel dials and the seatbelts.  Personally, I like photoetched metal parts for these items, but if you’re looking for a genuine no-frills boxing of the kit, this is your ticket.  

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Even in this incarnation of a Weekend Edition kit, Eduard’s Fw 190A-4 is a very inviting if not irresistible:  the high quality, great detail, and interesting paint schemes hit on all the right points.  You can’t go wrong here.  Of course, if you wish to use this kit as a start for something a little bit more detailed, Eduard has you covered with several photoetched metal and Brassin detail sets to take that next step. 

We extend our sincere thanks to 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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** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


   

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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