Eduard 1/48 FW-190D-13
I will defer to Tom Cleaver’s informative history done in his builds of the D-13 available in MM Build Reviews. I could have just cut and pasted it with a few changed words to make myself look smart. But I won’t.
It had been one of those weeks at work and my nerves were way on the frazzled side. It was with relief I got home Friday evening for a much needed weekend break. I decided the best prescription for putting job stress behind me would be to hole up in my hobby room away from the world and lose myself in creating a model. I looked at my little stack of un-built kits in the cabinet and the words “Weekend Edition” jumped out at me. Just what the doctor ordered, a simple build that could be completed in a weekend. I had never built an Eduard kit before and remembered purchasing this one mainly for the price. The Eduard Weekend Editions apparently are simplified kits without photo-etch and stuff. But a modern mold 1/48 kit for under 25 bucks is rare. I opened the box to see just what kind of a deal this was.
I was stunned. Greeting me were five whole individually packaged sprues of parts in varying colors of light grey, tan, dark grey and clear. Plastic heaven! A vast array of parts, fascinating, they all looked so precise and important. Open hatches that reveal gun-bay detail, and separate control surfaces. I looked over the big pieces and found the panel engraving to be petite yet well defined. There was a little flash here and there but nothing major. There was a nasty mold seam running the length of the landing gear legs on mine. The sprue attachment points are pretty thick and require care when cutting. I found a razor saw would come in handy in several places. Clear parts are well done if a little cloudy, with well defined framing. Beautiful; them Czechs must not know what they’ve got here, what a steal.
Options include open or closed canopy, open or closed armament compartments, choice of wheels, and a drop tank. Decals are for the one known operational D-13, yellow 10 flown by MAJ Goetz of JG-26 in the closing weeks of the war. The white/black fuselage stripe is not included on the sheet. There is a separate sheet for stencils which is quite extensive. If you use all of the stenciling provided the plane would look like a pill bottle with all those side effect warnings printed on it.
The instructions are a bit sparse having few words but five pages of construction drawings. The construction steps are well drawn but a bit vague in places. Paint references are for Mr. Color. The back page offers a black and white 4-view drawing of the aircraft showing paint scheme and decal placement. A color profile would have been nice for the very complex camo scheme on this bird. Then again, Eduard’s painting instructions vary quite a bit from that done by Tom Cleaver in his build. Since Tom always seems to know what he’s talking about I went with the paint scheme in his MM build article (well I attempted to anyway). It was obvious from the complexity of the drawings this would be no “wham-bam-thank-you-Tamigawa.” I could see my weekend would be full indeed.
Of note, Tom’s very interesting history tells of the mysterious wing switch between this aircraft and a D-9 as they resided at Wright-Patterson post war. This has affected other model companies dutifully studying the Museum aircraft and faithfully reproducing the wrong wing in their D-13 kits. I stole a glance through the clear bag at the wing underside to see if it was a he or a she. Eduard has also faithfully reproduced the wrong wing with the D-9 shell ejection chutes.
I began next day by first studying the instructions to be sure I understood what they were trying to convey. First is the cockpit which begins, as most 190 kits do, with a cockpit tub. The Weekend Edition cockpit is pretty basic with the option of instrument panel decals on a smooth panel or one with molded instrument detail to paint. In keeping with my objective of a simple and relaxing build I chose the decals. I painted the whole affair RLM 66 with black console panels. Seat belts are a must and are not provided. I just used white decal with a dab of silver paint for hardware. I was not seeking perfection. I dry brushed a little medium grey and aluminum; good enough. This machine was not in the fight long enough to sustain much wear. Step 1 complete. So on to Step 2 feeling quite cheerful by now.
Next is the bay detail for the motoren cannone. Wow, a lot of engine plumbing is in there also. Decision time, open bay or close it up and skip those bazillion little parts. I held the fuselage halves together and test fit the bay cover. Not even close, my first disappointment with the kit so open it is. The instruction drawings are pretty good, but there is just so much stuff that it is still confusing in places. As I came to a part whose exact placement was questionable I test fit until I achieved an “ohhh, I get it,” or as would sometimes happen, a “!*^#*. +@!!” Not exactly a soothing experience to my jangled nerves. But it is an impressive little assembly when all painted up and finished and forces one to become quite intimate with the Jumo powered FW.
The above sub-assemblies are glued into the left fuselage half along with the tail wheel. Eduard gives you an option here also; a complete strut and wheel molded as a solid piece or a four piece sub-assembly of separate strut, yoke halves, and wheel. After pondering this weighty decision I went with the sub-assembly which allows you to attach the wheel after all painting is complete. The exhaust pipes are attached to the inside of the fuselage meaning you can paint them now and mask somehow or paint them after the airframe is painted. Alright, glue the fuselage halves together and we are on our way. Wait, better test fit first. #!!.*^=, not even close. Quick shift all the sub-assemblies around before their glue hardens, no difference. OK, rip everything out again and start cutting. Cut and test fit, cut, sand, and test fit. I am not having fun now. Ok, that’s pretty close. I squirt a bunch of glue on it and match on! I get the front closed up around the engine compartment, the back half gapes open, close that, the front breaks loose. Rubber bands, clothes pins, both hands, then both feet, then brace against the wall! After an interminable struggle, shaking with my strength nearly exhausted, I let go. It held, not too bad really. A few gaps to fill and the usual scraping, sanding, and priming of the fuselage seam. Ok, think I’ll take a break now and have a beer.
With the hard part behind me (I thought) I proceeded to the wings. Wings, what could go wrong here? First thing was to correct those ejection chutes in the bottom half. I cut a new center slot and closed up the others with some plastic sheet cut to size. A little putty and sanding, then I primed to see how it looked under paint. Little more sanding and I was satisfied. Then the bay details for the wing root cannons. Not so complicated but I knew how this works now and test fit the wing halves to see how these assemblies affected that fit. A little filing and sanding seemed to do the trick and I was full of confidence now that I had headed off that problem. The gear wells were next. Where the likes of Tamiya offer an insert with most of the detail molded in, Eduard gives you another zillion little pieces to assemble offering many more opportunities to get something misaligned. Y-33, now there’s an insidious little piece. With the wheel wells finished it was time to slap the wing halves together, which, of course wouldn’t slap. Not even close. More filing and sanding (and cursing and swearing) of these internal assemblies. Knowing I would be working on a wing seam I cut off the cannon barrels to get them out of the way. Hose it down with glue, rubber bands, both hands, you get the picture. Despite my efforts there were major gaps to fill. With those problems fixed I was done with the wing, and done for the day. I need a drink.
Nightmares of huge gaping seams with plastic teeth trying to gobble me up. So it was with waning enthusiasm I started in again next day. Step 5, attach wing to fuselage. I steeled myself for the battle, but to my surprise it went on with little hassle. A snug fit required a little prying and force but it went together with no wing root seam and only the usual belly seams. My mood lightened, maybe today would be different. Tail planes next. Test fitting showed the alignment tabs are too long and butted against each other preventing the parts from seating properly. No biggie, easy to trim down, but man, it’s just one thing after another. Now for the nose, if you want the prop to turn you either have to assemble it now or just tack the nose on and remove after painting. I chose the glue it on now and cement the prop later because I don’t care if it turns option. I painted the annular radiator in the nose steel with a black wash. For painting I tacked the cannon bay coves in place after sanding and shaping to `kinda’ fit. I will spare you the details of that one. I now packed damp toilet paper into all the openings and masked the canopy with Tamiya tape. At last, ready for painting.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
This was the part I was looking forward to. I readied my metal Aztec double-action airbrush and fired up the mini-compressor. I first sprayed the underside starting with the wing’s aluminum section using Model Master Enamel. All the other colors were done with Model Master Acrylics. When dry I masked and painted the RLM 75 part of the wing and then completed the underside RLM 76 portion. I next tackled the white/black fuselage stripe. I masked and painted the white and decided to use decal for the black. Masking the white stripe and cowl I sprayed the uppers RLM 75 along with the canopy and landing gear covers. For this complex camo scheme I see the challenge as not trying to recreate the original squiggle for squiggle, even if you are able to access original photos. I saw it more as recreating the effect, more Impressionist than Realist. So here we go, airbrushing free hand with a fine tip and low pressure, RLM 83 Green then RLM 82 Braunviolet.
I stopped when I realized I had painted Van Gogh’s “Daubigny’s Garden.” Ughh, Post-Impressionist. I re-sprayed RLM 75 to make a blank canvas and started over again. This time I got closer to what I envisioned. It’s a bunch of green and brown squiggles, how can it be wrong? I didn’t have the right color green for the prop spinner, though the “right” color seems open for debate. I mixed some green with a little teal blue, pretty, I like it.
When dry I covered with Testor’s GlossCoat for decaling. I surmised the extensive field applied camo would have covered most stenciling so just used a few of the more obvious ones. The decals are thin and well printed, but maintain the theme of the kit in being finicky. I only used some Micro-Sol on the wing crosses. They don’t like being moved around much when applied so work quickly. I got a little anal on exact placement of a fuselage cross and worked it too much. It wadded into a tiny little ball and, “phtttt!” I recreated the cross with some lines of black decal doing 8 separate little lines making up the cross. It looks OK, whew. I nervously applied the white spiral decal to the prop spinner getting it “close enough” and left it alone. Another coat of gloss to seal it all up and sprayed a final coat of Testor’s flat acrylic.
The landing gear was assembled after choosing which tire to go with, smooth or treaded. I chose treaded which means it will be the wrong one. Speaking of wheels, the instructions show the proper 8 degrees of wheel camber which you achieve by holding the loose fitting wheel on the too small axle until it sets. It works, but why not just a good fitting axle molded in the proper angle? Eduard has a system for aligning the struts to the proper angle unique to 190s. A protrusion molded in the wheel well has a slot which accepts the rear edge of the gear doors aligning the strut to the correct angle. The strut itself is just a butt join. It works OK but one strut wanted to align itself with the wheel pointed at a 30 degree toe-in. A small battle, eventually won.
There are two canopies provided. The instructions specify part N-2 for an open canopy and N-8 for a closed one. Of curiosity I studied them to determine what the difference was in the two. This turned into a wasted twenty minutes as try as I might I could not find one whit of difference in the two, even measuring. Snapping back to reality I gazed about for any hidden cameras recording my little monkey act. There had to be a reason for this besides just another assault on my sensibilities. The windscreen was a beautiful fit which only served to cause me to let down my guard. The 3-piece pilot armor/head-rest assembly was a finicky bit getting it cemented into the canopy without smearing glue on clear parts. When I attempted to fit the canopy to the fuselage the headrest assembly interfered with the fit. Snatch it out, file down where things hung below the canopy edges, re-attach (sigh). Then all the teensie bits, cannon barrels, pitot, and various antennae. The prop was glued in place and it was done.
I sat there gazing at it, hands shaking, un-believing it was all over. It looked OK, but I was expecting something to happen. Like those old silent films when the car suddenly falls apart into a hundred pieces. But it was OK, and dang, it is a great looking 190.
It had been one of those weekends so it was with relief I went to work Monday for a much needed break. Seriously, The Eduard 190D-13 does make into an excellent replica. But I would not recommend it to modelers with beginner level skills, (or those seeking stress relief). The term over-engineered comes to mind. I am sure I will build another Eduard kit in the future, but maybe not for awhile.
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