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KIT REVIEW


Revell Focke Wulf Fw 190F-8 -- 1:72 Scale



The Fw 190 was one of the best-known aircraft of the 20th century, and it requires very little introduction.  Here, we take a look at the 2018 re-release by Revell of a 1997-era Revell of Germany tooling of the Fw 190F-8 in 1:72 scale, which was one of the definitive ground attack versions of iconic Würger that appeared later in the war.

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The origins of the Fw 190 go back to 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 Bf 109 was, of course, selected in 1936 as the winning design.  But by 1937, the RML saw a need for a second fighter to complement the Bf 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, 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) flew on 1 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 Bf 109 in terms of its heavier armament and superior low to mid-altitude performance.

The Fw 190F-8 was a modified Fw 190A-8 optimized for the ground attack role.  The A-8 entered production in February 1944, powered either by the standard BMW 801 D-2 or the BMW 801Q powerplant.  The latter engine featured thicker armor while other changes included an emergency power boost system.  It was armed with the 190’s standard 7.9 mm MG 17s above and behind the engine and two MG 151 20 mm cannons in the wing roots.  The F-8 variant featured a slightly modified power-boosting compressor that allowed for increased performance at lower altitudes for a few minutes.  Armament again featured the 20 mm cannons in the wing roots but the F-8 had two larger 13 mm MG 131 machine guns above the engine.  Most importantly, the Fw 190F-8 was modified to field an ETC 501 Bomb rack carried below the fuselage centerline while four ETC 50 bomb racks could be fitted as underwing pylons.

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Revell’s 1:72 scale Fw 190F-8 is a reissue of the Revell of Germany tooling from 1997 that has seen many different incarnations, including as the Fw 190A-8 in the ProModeler line in the late 1990s.  The kit consists of 57 light gray injection-molded plastic parts on three sprues.  Four clear parts are provided on two clear sprues.  The instructions guide assembly over 21 steps.  Markings for a single Fw 190F-8 are featured in the kit:

Strengths:  I remember the inaugural release of this tooling when the first kit in this family of Fw 190s arrived at my hobby shop in the late 1990s.  It was really impressive back then and sold well.  Twenty years 20 years later, it is still really nice.  This kit is quite simple, small, but quite accurate in terms of shapes and sizes.  It certainly falls in the “weekend” category as the kind of kit that you can complete over a fairly short period of time, thanks to its low parts count and relative straightforward parts breakdown. 

The kit itself is very nicely molded and features finely recessed panel lines and various recessed rivets and fasteners.  There’s a bit of flash here and there but should pose no problem for cleanup.  I snipped off the fuselage and wings and found near-perfect fits.  The cockpit is okay for a 1:72 scale kit.  On one hand, you get some nice details, such as the rear cockpit decking and the seat pad nicely represented in the seat bucket.  On the other hand, the molded instrument panel and side console details are really quite indistinct and you’ll need the kit-supplied decals to make any details stand out.  Also, shoulder harnesses and lap belts are included as decals.

The kit comes with the centerline bomb rack and one big SC500 air-to-ground bomb that goes with it.  The main gear wells are nicely molded.  The landing gear look good.  The one paint scheme provided in the box is quite a colorful Fw 190F-8 – it’s a fine choice.  The decals were researched and designed by AirDOC.  Though it only says ‘Printed in Italy’ on the decal sheet, I suspect they were printed by Zanchetti.  Colors are solid and opaque, carrier film is thin and restrained, and everything is in register as well.  Just do note – as a kit produced in Germany, there are no Swastika markings for the tail, and for accurate markings, you’ll have to source those from somewhere in the aftermarket decal world.         
 
Weaknesses:  There are not too many drawbacks to this kit.  However – do watch out for some shallow ejection pin marks on cockpit sidewalls and inside of the main gear well doors.  There are no exhaust pipes, and the exhaust pipe ports on the left and right engine cowling are just empty slits.  The control surfaces are not postionable.  While you do get the SC500 centerline bomb, the wings could accommodate up to four SC50 bombs, but they are not included in the kit.  Also – there are two sets of windscreens and canopies.  The instructions describe them as either-or choices for the builder but no direction is given regarding which one is actually appropriate for the specific Fw 190F-8 on the decal sheet.  Lastly, the clear parts, especially those on Sprue E, appear far from smooth and affected by micro-rippled surfaces.  They will need to be polished smooth.

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This is a very nice kit of the Fw 190F-8.  It will represent a simple, fast build of this ground-attack variant of the Würger.  While it is not at the level of the Eduard 1:72 scale Fw 190s, I am a still big fan of this little kit.  It has lots of promise in the hands of a capable or inspired scale modeler.  It’s also really affordable at this price point.

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at Revell for the review sample.  You can find them on the web at https://www.revell.de/en/home/

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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

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