KIT: Tamiya 1/48 FW-190A-8/R2
KIT #: 61095
PRICE: ¥2200 from ($33.00 MSRP)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver


     The Fw-190A-8/R2, known as the “Sturmbock,” was built by Fieseler, and differed from the standard Fw-190A-8 in having outboard wing armament changed from an 20mm MG151 cannon to a 30mm MK 103 cannon, and was also fitted with additional armor to increase the chance of penetrating defensive machine gun screen of the bomber formations. It was determined that only three hits from 30mm cannon fire was sufficient to shoot down even the hardy Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” and as a result the Sturmstaffeln to adopted the tactic of attacking from the rear of the formation, allowing the pilot time to concentrate on a single victim in a way that could not be done in the “Twelve O’clock High” head-on attack formation, with the heavy armor providing protection. Being considerably heavier than the standard Fw-190A-8, the “Sturmbock” was not really capable of fighter-versus-fighter combat, and when formations were caught by the American escort fighters before they could attack the bombers, they generally suffered heavy losses; some outstanding pilots flying in these units did manage to score against P-51s, but they were the exception.


     It’s surprising that Tamiya - which released a Fw-190F-8 ten years ago - has taken this long to getting around to doing an A-8, but there you are.  Interestingly, rather than go for the standard Fw-190A-8, they’ve done the rarer Fw-190A-8/R2 “Sturmbock,” the heavily-armored bomber destroyer.

      Opening the box, the parentage of the kit is clear, since it includes the sprues with the underwing ordnance for the Fw-190F-8 fighter-bomber.  New are sprues with the lower armament plates for the 30 mm MG108 and 20mm MG151 cannon carried by both this heavy fighter and the standard A-8, as well as the wider prop used by some A-8/R2s.  In fact, given that the clear parts include both the “flat” canopy and the “blown” canopy, a modeler who knows their way around the Wurger can do the standard Fw-190A-8, the A8/R2, and the very-late-war Fw-190A-9. Using the fighter-bomber ordnance, once could also do the Fw-190F-9. (Editor's Note: To do the A-9/F-9 variant, one needs a fan with 14 blades [vice 12] and wider prop blades as the BMW 801 TS engine produced more power than the earlier 801 variant used in the A-8/F-8)

      The clear sprue also includes the armored glass side panels used by some R2 airplanes.  The extra armor around the cockpit for the R2 is done with self-adhesive plastic sheet.

      The decal sheet is standard Tamiya: thick, but all the decals are in register and the right colors.  markings are provided for four “Sturmbocks” one flown by Hauptmann Wilhelm Moritz of IV/JG3, and three from JG300, including Leutnant Klaus Breitschneider, Unteroffizier Matthias Erhardt, and Unteroffizier Ernst Schroeder, all of 5./JG300.  Complete stenciling is included for one aircraft, as the Reich Defense bands for each unit.


      This not-really-that-new kit is well-known among modelers for “easy buildability,” and the various extra parts included in the box will provide lots of options for the version one chooses to build and for the various markings possibilities from the plethora of aftermarket sheets for the late-war Wurger.  The landing gear and wheels are still too short (gear leg) and too small (wheel), so one might want to invest in aftermarket wheels of the right diameter, which will go a ways toward correcting the “sit” problem associated with Tamiya’s Fw-190 series. While the cockpit is adequate, given that you don’t see that much once the fuselage is assembled, getting some seat belts or an aftermarket seat with molded-in belts would give the finished model that extra edge.

November 2005

 Review kit courtesy of HobbyLink Japan

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