Matchbox 1/72 FW-190A


PK 6




Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




A much more effective aircraft than the Bf-109, the Fw-190 was developed very early in the war and was a nasty surprise to the British, who found their Spitfires out-classed overnight. Eventually developed into the superlative Fw-190D and Ta-152H series, the Fw-190A was always in short supply. Like the P-47D, it was eventually pressed into service as a ground attack aircraft and performed admirably in that role. This was as much thanks to the radial engine which could withstand damage that would have destroyed a liquid-cooled engine.



When Matchbox first arrived on the scene in the early 70's, it was easy to spot their kits as they were generally molded in several shades of plastic. The boxes had a window in them so you could see the contents, they came with stands and had the color info on the back of the box. They were also intended for the youngsters and so ease of assembly took precedence over fidelity of detail.

As an example of that, the interior is just a generic seat with the pilot. No floor, no control column, no instrument panel. The canopy is a single piece and like many 190 kits does not include the full sliding portion so making this kit canopy open is not possible. There is no separate fan, that part being molded into the 'engine' part. There are also no enclosed wheel wells or other things that we now expect in kits. All the panel lines are raised as this was before the Matchbox 'trench-maker' had started doing molds.

Trying to pin down the subtype was not initially easy, however, the lack of a vertical antenna mast on the tail and the inner gear doors means that this is an A-3 or earlier subtype. By adding a vertical fin antenna mast, you could do an A-4 subtype as this kit doesn't have the extra nose extension of the A-5 and later versions. There is a bomb and rack for the jabo, but no drop tank for the fighter version.

Decals are for two aircraft on the Eastern Front. First is a III./JG 51 plane, yellow !). The other is from SG.1 in 1943. Both are in RLM 74/75/76 with yellow lower cowlings and wing tips. The kit decals are probably not very usable, but one can never tell as Matchbox decals were pretty well able to last. In addition, it will be difficult to find decals for a Fw-190A-3 or A-4 as not many aftermarket sheets were done for the earlier versions.



This is basically a kit for kids or beginners. More experienced modelers will avoid this one like the plague (unless they are doing a series of 190s), and head for the newer ones from Hasegawa, Tamiya or Revell. However, it is bound to be an easy build so if you are not concerned about total accuracy, go for it.

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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