|KIT:||Academy 1/72 FW-190A-8 w Kubelwagen|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Kurt Tank's FW-190 was a brilliant design. The idea was to put the smallest practical airframe around an air-cooled radial engine; in this case, the BMW 801, a fourteen cylinder, dual row radial. Initial production aircraft were fraught with problems regarding this engine; engine fires being quite common. So much so that a mechanic was always ready with a fire extinguisher on engine start.
Despite the larger frontal area of the aircraft, it was superior in almost every respect to the older Bf-109 design, yet the 109 continued in production until the end of the war.
The version produced in probably the greatest numbers was the FW-190A-8 variant. This was also the most heavily armed as the 7.7mm cowl guns were replaced with 13mm versions, the wing cannon being retained. Several pilots had the outer wing cannon removed to improve speed and handling. This version was also capable of carrying addition dual 20mm cannon pods or 21 cm rocket tubes under the outer wings, making for a very potent bomber destroyer. It also made the aircraft difficult to fly. The FW-190 was used right up until the end of hostilities. Sadly, few seem to have survived.
This is one of Academy's earlier kits, which isn't bad, but also means that you may find a glitch or two in its form. For my eyes, the fin seems a bit too round at the top. The main gear is a bit on the simplified side and does not include the usual rubber boots over the oleos. This simplification also extends to the wheels and I'm not sure if the prop is broad enough for an A-8 variant.
The kit has nicely done engraved panel lines, good wheel well detail, and the cockpit tub/instrument panel has raised detailing, where others would just have decals. There are also a number of optional bits. One is an older upper cowl with the smaller guns. This provided the opportunity to backdate the kit to an A-5/6/7 version. The kit also provides two canopies; the older 'straight' version and the later 'blown' hood, which was installed on all production aircraft starting in Jan 1945. Other optional bits are sand filters, drop tank or bomb, and under wing 20mm cannon pods.
A bonus with this kit is a kubelwagen. This neat little kit is on its own sprue and has a clear sprue for the windscreen and what looks like bits for a Jeep! Its molding is just as clean as that for the 190 with no flash or sink areas. This one has the option for top up or down as well. A nice addition to the kit and one that I think will help sales as people always like getting extras.
The instructions are well done with colors in generic and RLM call-outs. Any decals that will need to be added during construction are also called out. Markings are for two early 190A-8s as flow by Heinz Bar when he was the commander of II./JG 26 in early 1944. As with most commanders he had two aircraft at his disposal. One was Red 13 and the other Red 23. Both are in RLM 74/75/76 with light fuselage mottling. A red band goes around the rear fuselage and I'd recommend painting that on, though a decal is provided. Red 13 has his kill score on the fin. The decal sheet is well done and provides all the stencils you'll need. I did notice that the black and white insignia were off register as are the unit badges. There are no swastikas. Academy decals have mixed reviews, but should work just fine and succumb to most strong setting solutions.
In today's market, $10 for a kit like this with the addition of the kubelwagen is a good deal. The kits are both well molded and will build into very nice models when finished.
Review kit courtesy of your editor.
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