AZ Model 1/72 FW-190A-0

KIT #: AZ7265
PRICE: $16.00 on sale at  ($39.95 SRP)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit with resin parts


Fw 190 A-0 were the pre-production series ordered in November 1940, with a total of 28 were built. Because they were built before the new wing design was fully tested and approved, the first nine A-0s had small wings. All were armed with two synchronised 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns mounted in the forward fuselage, one MG 17 in each wing root, and one MG 17 in each of the outboard wings. They were different from later A-series Fw 190s: they had shorter spinners, the armoured cowling ring was a different shape, with a scalloped hinge on the upper, forward edge of the upper engine cowling, and the bulges covering the interior air intakes on the engine cowlings were symmetrical "teardrops". Also, the panels aft of the exhaust pipes had no cooling slots. Several of these aircraft were later modified for testing engines and special equipment.

The first unit to be equipped with the A-0 was Erprobungsstaffel 190, formed in March 1941 to help iron out any technical problems and approve the new fighter before it would be accepted for full operational service in mainstream Luftwaffe Jagdgeschwader. At first, this unit, commanded by Oblt. Otto Behrens, was based at the Luftwaffe's central Erprobungsstelle facility at Rechlin, but it was soon moved to Le Bourget. Engine problems plagued the 190 for much of its early development, and the entire project was threatened several times with a complete shutdown. Had it not been for the input of Behrens and Karl Borris, both of whom had originally enlisted in the Luftwaffe as mechanics, the Fw 190 program might have died before reaching the front lines. Both men indicated that the Fw 190's outstanding qualities outweighed its deficiencies during several Ministry of Aviation commissions that wished to terminate the program. Some 50 modifications were required before the Ministry of Aviation approved the Fw 190 for deployment to Luftwaffe units.


Those of you who have built AZ Model kits are aware that they are short run and that often the modeler has to use quite a bit of skill to get them finished. This particular kit seems to be one of their later releases, though no date is apparent on the box or the instructions. There is no photo etch, for which I am glad. The majority of parts are on a single sprue and it appears this sprue is the same for all of their early 190 boxings. Molding is quite nice with some flash to take care of. It comes with an injected plastic canopy. It is fairly clear, though removing the sprue attachment mark will require some work. Mine was slightly short shot on one lower edge. There is a separate windscreen.

The wheel wells and cockpit are in resin. I was pleased with how thin the well section is as often these pieces require the builder to grind away  on the upper wing sections to get it to fit. The cockpit is a complete casting with the seat and control stick already molded in place. One only adds the instrument panels to the cockpit. There are no rudder pedals, but frankly, in this scale they would be nearly invisible anyway once the cockpit is in place. The control stick on mine is warped and will require a bit of heat to straighten out.

AZ Model provides separate ailerons and flaps. From the look of things, they are designed to be modeled in the neutral position. The A-0 version has a slightly blunter spinner and that is provided. The variant also has teardrop shaped cowling bulges. Those are provided as separate bits and one will need to remove the others from the molding. A nicely done metal tube is provided for the two wing root gun barrels. One will need to cut these to length before installing. The kit also includes the inner gear doors that were typical of the early 190As. As a note, judging from the drawings in the reference, the A-0 did not have a head armor brace.

Instructions are designed for three different boxings of this kit and so one simply deviates from the standard build sequence where indicated for the different versions. Color information is provided and the instructions include the data markings guide. For the painting and decals guide, the back of the box is where one goes. These aircraft were painted in the RLM 71/02/65 scheme with mottling for the most part.  No unit information is provided. Two planes have radio call signs while a third has those painted out and a white 9 on the fuselage. The fourth option is overall RLM02 with a red spinner and rudder. This latter plane is shown with a bomb rack on the side view. Unless one can verify this latter scheme, I'd consider it speculative. The decals are quite thin and easily damaged. They are also well printed with no registration issues and the sheet contains complete swastikas (thank you). 


Frankly, were this kit not on deep discount, I would have passed on it. Sure, an early 190A is nice to have, but not at $40 SRP. I should also mention that this kit cannot be built as one of the first nine aircraft as it comes with the standard wing. Judging from my experience with AZ Model kits, it will take some effort to build, but it will be nice to have a fairly accurate representation of the preproduction Focke-Wulf 190.


February 2012

I picked this one up at, where you can get a bunch of neat new kits and some great deals.

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