Tamiya 1/48 FW-190A-3
|PRICE:||$21.00 at Roll Models|
Focke Wulf Fw 190A-3, “Black 5”, Hptm Friedrich-Wilhelm Strakeljahn, StaffelKapitan 14.(Jabo)/JG 5, Petsamo, Finland, January 1943
On 15 January, the 14 Staffel of JG 5 was activated at Petsamo as a Jabo unit, tasked with anti-shipping attacks against merchants trying to reach the Soviet Far North, as well as against Soviet airfields and other ground targets. The Staffel got such good results that its StaffelKapitan was awarded the Knight Cross, possibly being the fighter pilot with less aerial victories (just nine) to receive it. The Staffel was in existence for only about a year, sinking a huge tonnage for relatively light losses, until it was subsumed into a SG.
Though not much literature is available, the Fw 190 really shone as a ground attack machine, and only the dire need of fighters precluded it to become the true tactical workhorse of the Luftwaffe. Some early 190A-3s were kept in service as Jabos as late as 1943, sometimes modified with A-5 type exhausts. It is interesting to note that the rest of JG 5 was equipped with Bf 109s.
It is the well-known Tamiya A-3, modified to Jabo by the addition of the SAMI’s resin ventral rack with “short fairing”, complete with an SC 500 bomb with “anti-ship” ring. Decals come from the Skymodels 48-056 sheet. Wheels also came from the SAMI’s set. Cockpit interior courtesy of Eduard Pre-Painted Zoom set, FE 214.
Of course, this began with the interior. Eduard parts are wonderful, but someone painted them in RLM 02, so I worked around dial faces and other details with a RLM 66 coat. I would never replace the excellent Tamiya side consoles, full of raised detail, with flat PE parts, however well painted they are (wait, weren’t they painted in RLM 02?) so I only used the dashboard. I added some pieces like the throttle, and the canopy opening mechanism wheel.
Airframe construction was almost uneventful. I think that the molds are beginning to show their age: the relatively complex nose did not match perfectly, as it should, nor did the wing roots: I lost some good detail puttying and sanding these (of course everything can be attributed to my proverbial sloppy assembly). I kept bending the inner MG cannon barrels; detaching them for good at an early stage may be appropriate. I added some cables to the wheel wells and perforated the places where the u/c position indicators would be. The resin rack was secured with cyano. Everything was almost boring until I realized that Tamiya moulded the inner u/c doors closed, which it is not a problem in itself, except for the fact that Jabo units usually removed them, as they interfered with the bomb rack! With everything already glued I proceeded to hack at them until they were demolished. It could have been worse. The operation revealed an unsightly gap leading to the back of the engine, usually hidden by the doors; it was dealt with sheet styrene.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
This is a usual early A-3 in RLM 74/75/76 standard scheme with nothing in the way of mottling, as was the norm in these birds. I preshaded the model extensively and then painted a coat of Xtracrylix RLM 76 with a Paasche VL and fine tip. Then I proceeded with the 75, in irregular fashion, followed by the 74, in the same guise. Both colors were well thinned with the brand’s stuff. I painted a light mottling around the place where the swastika would be as per my references. Then I painted both the rudder and the under nose panel in Yellow; the picture I have of “Black 5” does not show the fin, but the one of contemporary “Black 4” does, and the effect is very aesthetic. The mottle less fuselage seems a bit bare, and the upper camouflage lines in both sides do not match; consider that the usual practice was having two people painting one side each at the same time, so the pattern was never “mirrored”, it just followed a general directive.
They came from the generous Skymodels sheet. The instructions depicts “Black 1” as Strakeljahn’s machine, but the “Jagdwaffe” book says that he flew “Black 5”, even that he had more than one. It also informs that “Black 1” was lost on 13 April, 1943, when hit by AA fire; Uffz Kurt Wendler was killed. A black “5” is also included in the sheet, so I used it. After some dreadful experiences I was wary of using Skymodels decals, but they went on without mishap; the generous undercoat of Xtracrylic Clear Gloss undoubtedly helped a lot. Some stencils came from the Tamiya kit decals, and I added a Yellow strip to the tail of the SC500, denoting general purpose high explosive.
190s are among the most seen models ever, and many of them are the early A-3s by Tamiya. This one seems nothing out of the ordinary, until you became aware that it may well depict one of the very last A-3s in service. As a model, the SAMI resin Jabo gear adds interest, and the bigger wheels really go a long way into correcting the overly flat sit generally attributed to Tamiya’s kits.
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