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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Fw 190A-5 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 have likewise made 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-5 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 RML 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-5 was in essence a slightly modified Fw 190A-4.  The A-4 itself was an improved A-3, 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.  The 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-5 variant sought to capitalize on all that extra engine power to carry more air-to-ground ordinance.  To facilitate this, the nose was stretched a mere six inches, and this extension carried through to the Fw 190A-9.  This small extension was sufficient to shift the center of gravity to accommodate drop tanks and a 550-pound bomb on a centerline bomb rack.  The outboard cannons were deleted to save weight in many A-5s.  Seventeen A-5 subvariants were eventually produced, though ten of those were experimental or testbed aircraft that were not mass produced.  The full run amounted to nearly 1,800 A-5 airframes between November 1942 and June 1943 before the production run came to a close as the Fw 190A was increasingly obsolete.   

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Eduard’s ProfiPack edition of their new-tool Fw 190A-5 comes in their standard top-opening box.  The kit 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 46 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 19 steps.  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, with their injection-molded kits rising above nearly all other manufacturers in terms of quality, attention to detail, and accuracy.  Their re-tooled Würgers appear to 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.

Of course, one of the big questions is how Eduard did with their A-5 configuration.  The longer A-5 nose added about six inches to the airframe, and that’s an additional 3.1 mm in 1:48 scale.  Measuring these with my digital calipers, the fuselage halves on the new Sprue R is exactly 3.1 mm longer than the Fw 190A-2, A-3, and A-4 produced by Eduard.  The new wings on Sprue G are retooled so as only to have the inboard MG 151 cannons fitted.  Again, this is correct for most any Fw 190A-5.  Still, check your references, since my research shows that there were multiple different configurations of outer wing gun presence/absence depending on what A-5 subvariant is involved.      

Back to the kit itself:  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.  No filler required here.     

The plastic cockpit parts by themselves are a bit simplified, but the 49 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 (and there’s a Brassin set for that; see review HERE), the kit parts 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.  Keep an eye out for an upcoming review of that set here at detailandscale.com.  Second, I do believe the 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 had my head up into the cockpits and gear wells of a pair of 190s last weekend at the 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.  It’s 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-5, they have simultaneously released cockpit, engine, machine gun, and cannon bay detail sets.  We’ll have reviews of the cockpit, engine, and landing flaps sets coming soon here at Detail & Scale.  Stay tuned!

Sincere thanks are owed 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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