Airfix 1/72 FW-190A/F-8

KIT: Airfix 1/72 FW-190A/F-8
KIT #: 02085
PRICE: $currently out of production
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER:  Brian Baker
NOTES: Can relatively easily be found at swap meets.


The Focke Wulf FW-190A was probably the best piston engine fighter the Luftwaffe had during World War II,  especially some of the later liquid cooled engine variants, such as the FW-190D and the TA-152H series.   Appearing during 1941, the FW-190A was used right up until the end, and in some air forces, notably the French and Turkish, they were used postwar.  The only drawback of the A model was the lack of high altitude performance, which was countered by good low altitude performance and a versatility that resulted in its extensive use in the ground attack and close support roles. 


There have been about 90 different kits of the various types of FW-190 issued over the years in 1/72 scale alone, (see my article on 1/72 scale FW-190 kits), and this is the first one that could really be called a decent kit of the airplane.  First appearing in the late seventies, the fuselage is copyrighted 1977, the kit was actively market until the nineties, and is still available at swap meets and IPMS meetings throughout the country.  Originally issued by Airfix, it also appeared under the MPC label, and must have produced in the thousands.  The kit suffers from a number of problems, including very thick landing gear doors, raised panel lines, minimal interior detail, and the like, but overall, it presents a reasonably accurate outline and several armament options. It lacks the small breech covers for the outboard cannon, along with the retractable steps that usually appear in photos of FW-190’s on the ground.

 By the way,   the Airfix FW-190D-9, which was issued in 1976, a year before the A model, is an entirely different kit, and very little is interchangeable with the A kit.  When the kit first came out, I was hoping that I could do a flat canopy D model using the extra canopy from the A kit, but it doesn’t fit.  Focke Wulf apparently had more parts commonality between the two versions than did Airfix. 


 The canopies, of which two are provided, are of the flat type used for most A’s up through the A-8, and the  “bubble” type, which was used for some A-8’s and most F-8’s,  but do not provide for an opened cockpit, but then, there isn’t much detail to see inside the cockpit anyway.  If you want to have the hatch slid back, the canopies from the Hasegawa kit, or any other for that matter, work fine, and I have done this modification on a number of Airfix kits over the years. The wheel well detail is minimal, although a center section does provide some realistic portions.  Aftermarket materials will solve that problem.  But the main components, the wings, fuselage,  tailplane, prop and spinner, etc., are right on the money,  and a little removal of raised panel lines and some creative scribing will result in an acceptable model, even with a kit of this vintage. One particularly good feature of this kit is that, even though the wing and tail trim tabs lack some detail, the wing trailing edges are perfectly straight, a shape that is not correctly represented on some of the newer, more expensive kits.  Just look at a photo of an FW-190 showing the wing trailing edge, and you will see that the flap and aileron lines are perfectly straight.  For some reason, some kit manufacturers make the chord of the aileron a little longer than it should be.

 The reason I went back in my “10 year supply” of kits to build this one was because I was given an aftermarket FW-190A detail set for an IPMS review,  intended for the  Monogram/Revell FW-190A-8, and since I had some parts left over, I figured, why not do another FW-190A-8 to go with the many I already have. The Monogram kit has some basic outline problems in the nose section, but is otherwise excellently done. It was a good comparison kit to do while building the Monogram kit.

 I had an unbuilt Hasegawa FW-190A-8, and also an aftermarket cockpit interior for it, so I decided to use the Hasegawa cockpit on the Airfix kit.  Strangely enough, it fit perfectly, and only needed to be glued in place.  It is rather minimal, which is why the aftermarket set was made, but through the thick Airfix canopy, you can’t see much anyway, so it’s not much of an issue.  Since the aftermarket conversion kit for the Revell/Monogram contained new resin landing gear doors, I used the Revell doors on my Airfix kit, and it was an improvement.  I also used the centerline bomb rack from the Revell kit, although the Airfix kit has an acceptable unit. 

 One feature of the Airfix kit is the variety of armament combinations that can be installed.  The access plates underneath the wings are open, and you can install cannon shell ejectors, bomb racks as were common on the F model, or twin 20 mm gun packs which were used rarely in service.  There are a number of pre-drilled partial holes in the wing lower half, and these can be drilled out for specific armament combinations.  They also provide a pretty nice DF loop antenna for underneath the fuselage, a feature not provided in some later kits. 

Editor's Note: If you want to know how the kit goes together, then you may wish to visit my earlier article on this subject.


 Awhile back, I bought a bunch of Aeromaster Luftwaffe decals, including the Rammjagers Part II issue, and I discovered one that I hadn’t done yet, an FW-190A-8 that the pilot,   Obfgtr. Axel Kessler, an Estonian, flew to Sweden in April 1945. I wonder why.  The plane is covered in Widfeldt’s Luftwaffe in Sweden book, which gives a graphic account of all Luftwaffe aircraft that landed in Sweden, for whatever reason, during World War II.  The aircraft, w/n 961076, Black 10, of 5/JG 4, was interned in Sweden, and probably scrapped soon afterwards.  There is a  passable photo of the airplane in the book, along with some color information both in the book and on the decal sheet.  The Widfeldt book differs with the decal maker on the colors, and I opted for the book’s scheme which was close to the usual 74/75/76, only with heavy weathering and marking obscuration.  The result was another FW-190A in late war markings, an era that I like to model. 


 This kit is certainly not up to the standards of Hasegawa and Tamiya,  but it is an accurate representation of one of my favorite aircraft, and it is quick and fun to build. With a little effort, it can be built into a reasonably good representation of Kurt Tank’s masterpiece.  Don’t throw these away; they still have value. Airfix did a classic with this little bird.

 Brian Baker

April 2008

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