Heller 1/72 Fw-190A-8/F-3






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




I've written a ton on the FW-190 thanks to the multitude of other reviews done on this aircraft. Let me just stick with the specifics on this particular kit.


  According to the box top, you can build either an A-8 or an F-3 version from this kit. While I don't argue the A-8 part of it, you really cannot do an F-3 as is shown in the kit instructions. Before hitting on that aspect of things, let's take a look at what actually comes in the box.

Upon opening the bag, one is confronted with a number of sprues in silver plastic. I like silver plastic much better than the blues, yellows and greens that sometimes come in Heller kits. You get two canopies, one bulged and the other normal. You also get a nice array of things for under wings such as twin 20mm cannon packs or a single 500 kg bomb for the centerline. Missing is a drop tank which would have been very nice to have. However, most of us have spares bins to find such things.

The cockpit is a floor, seat, stick, and two side consoles. The instrument panel fits under the cowl and you get two of those, one flatter than the other for the 7.7 or 12.7 mm guns. There is no panel detail. You also get the choice of adding on sand filters to the side of the cowling if you so wish.

Overall detail is minimal with panel lines of the raised variety as was normal 30 years ago when this kit first appeared. The shape of the tail and wings seems oddly more rounded than it seems it should be. I'm not one of those who matches things against plans, but it does look off. The upper wing inner gun bulges look a bit soft to me as well and there are no outer wing guns. Moving to the underside of the wing, there is no wheel well detail and it isn't boxed in. The shell ejection chutes are different sizes on each wing, with that on the right being larger. If these chutes are there, then there should be bulges on the upper wing to go along with them.

The landing gear are quite spindly and the wheels look like something from a toy with no detail at all; same for the molded in tail wheel. In fact, there are instructions showing you how to melt the ends of the axles to get the wheels to roll. Interestingly, the tail planes are simply butt glued with no tabs or slots. By now, you have a good idea that this really isn't a state of the art kit. It was fine for 1970, but not for the 21st Century. Now on to the variant situation.

Can you build an A-8 from this kit. Yes you can, though it will be one without a centerline tank that was so often carried.  You can do the version that carries the dual 20mm under wing cannon packs or one that has had the outer guns removed. To do an early version, use the flatter canopy and the open framework head armor. For a later variant, use the bulged canopy and the more enclosed headrest, however, these items were not on production A-8s until January of 1945 so it would have to be a very late build. This one used the bulged gun cowl. You see, the instructions are a bit backward as to which parts go for which variant, and have the A-8 carrying the bomb. They could, but normally were seen without it.

Now for the F-3. You sorta can do one. The F-3 version was built on the A-5 airframe, with later builds using the A-6 wings. This means that at a minimum you have to move the pitot tube in to near the outer portion of the landing gear. The F-3 uses the flat canopy and frame-like head armor. It also uses the flatter gun cowl. Unfortunately, the F-3 has outer under wing bomb racks (as so well shown on the box art), but these are not included in the kit. Sure, you'd find an F-3 without bomb racks, but it wasn't normal. The F-3 was also more likely to have the dust filters than the A-8.

So much for the differences and the ability to build one of them. I'd recommend robbing the needed bits from your stash pile. If you've built a number of Hasegawa F-8/9 kits, you should have the spare bits needed, though whether to use them on a kit of this quality would have me thinking twice.

Other than that, the instructions are just like on other early Heller kits in that they are basically a single exploded view for most of the construction with a smaller section for differences. The decal placement chart is small and one really relies on the box art and side profiles for colors. As I mentioned in several paragraphs, the variant differences in the instructions are basically backwards. You get a small (and now yellowed) decal sheet for White 7 from an unknown unit and Black 3 from JG 3 'Udet'. I'd recommend aftermarket. You can tell this is an old kit as it still has the swastikas on the decal sheet.



Personally, I'd leave this kit for the collectors if you are serious about detail and accuracy. However, it is undoubtedly a kit one can get cheap and if you just want a simple kit either for you or a youngster, this one will fill the bill quite nicely. I'll be building it as part of my Focke-Wulf 190 series, so stay tuned to see how it turns out.


Monogram Close-up #8 : FW-190F, by Gebhard Aders, 1986.

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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