|PRICE:||$21.79 on sale plus shipping|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2019 release. Weekend Edition|
The Fw 190 A-3 was equipped with the BMW 801 D-2 engine, which increased power to 1,700 PS (1,677 hp, 1,250 kW) at takeoff by improving the supercharger and raising the compression ratio. Because of these changes, the A-3 model required a higher octane fuel—100 (C3) versus 87 (B4). The A-3 retained the same weaponry as the A-2. The A-3 also introduced the Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion sets. The Fw 190 A-3/U1 and U2 were single experimental Fw 190s: U1 (W.Nr 130270) was the first 190 to have the engine mount extended by 15 cm (6 in), which would be standardized on the later production A-5 model. The U2 (W.Nr 130386) had RZ 65 73 mm (2.87 in) rocket launcher racks under the wings with three rockets per wing. There were also a small number of U7 aircraft tested as high-altitude fighters armed with only two 20 mm MG 151 cannon, but with reduced overall weight.
The Fw 190 A-3/U3 was the first of the Jabo (Jagdbomber), using an ETC-501 centerline bomb rack able to carry up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs or, with horizontal stabilizing bars, one 300 L (80 US gal) drop tank. The U3 retained the fuselage-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s and the wing-mounted 20 mm MG 151 cannon, with the outer MG FF being removed.
The Fw 190 A-3/U4 was a reconnaissance version with two RB 12.5 cameras in the rear fuselage and an EK 16 gun camera or a Robot II miniature camera in the leading edge of the port wing root. Armament was similar to the U3, however, and the ETC 501 was usually fitted with a 300 L (80 US gal) drop tank.
In autumn 1942, a political decision diverted 72 new aircraft to Turkey in an effort to keep that country friendly to the Axis powers. These were designated Fw 190 A-3a (a=ausländisch(foreign), designation for export models) and delivered between October 1942 and March 1943. The Turkish aircraft had the same armament as the A-1: four 7.92 mm (.312 in) synchronized MG 17 machine guns and two 20 mm MG FF cannon. There was no FuG 25 IFF device in the radio equipment.
It was only a matter of time before Eduard decided to produce a series of 'short nose' FW-190As and so they did, having done most of them save the A-1 and that may well just be a matter of time. This is the A-3 version that has a somewhat shorter fuselage than later versions. It is free from all the fussy bits of the first round of 190A kits, which most of us appreciate. All the open panel bits not in these kits are available as aftermarket if you have to have them. An interesting thing about this boxing is that the box itself is about 40% reduced in height. Guess they finally realized you don't need to have sprues rattling around in an oversize box.
Apparently this kit is still a bit on the fiddly side and once can tell that when looking over the instructions. However, reports from those who have built this kit for the first time are positive in terms of fit so I picked this one up. It isn't like I don't have any other 190A-s in this scale, but I wanted to give this a go on my own. If you look at the sprue layout, there are multiples of many parts (props, wheel wells, drop tanks and so on), but this is standard Eduard where they include all the bits for all variants in each kit.
In the Profipack kits, much of the photo etch is used for the interior. But the 190 is a plane with a very small cockpit and save for the seat, not really all that much can be seen there. Eduard provides both a raised detail panel/consoles as well as flat ones for the decals, though I'm thinking the decals can probably be used over the raised detailing. I like that they also include decals for the belts.
The engine is just the front face, which is fine as once the prop and fan are installed you won't see it. Wheel wells and the rear well/wing spar are separate items with a considerable number of items to go in the well. Unfortunately, it is designed such that you have to install the inner wing guns prior to closing the wing halves, making it easy to snap off the barrels while cleaning the seams or installing the wing.
Just to add to fiddly, there are two upper and one lower cowling panel to install and this kit has a separate instrument panel anti-glare section. All the control surfaces are separate and shown modeled in the neutral position. Landing gear is well done with separate hubs and wheels to aid painting. Note that these 190s have inner gear doors and in fact, these were used into the A-6 production before they were removed. Some units removed them in the field so check photos. Prop blades are one piece with the two piece hub. The back of the spinner is the engine fan. You are provided two canopies to use with one for the closed and one for the open option.
Instructions are the usual color booklet with well drawn construction steps and Gunze paint references. Thankfully, Eduard has started providing more than one option in the W.E. kits. In this case, both are in RLM 74/75/76 with fairly light mottling. The main image plane with the yellow rudder and lower cowling is with 9./JG 2 based in France during 1942. This has the large stylized eagle on the forward cowling. The other is with 9./JG 5 in Norway during March of 1945. In Norway, even older planes like this were effective so often kept on hand. This aircraft, unlike the previous one, was equipped with a drop tank. Decals are nicely printed and though not shown, a full stencil suite is provided.
Many of us would rather wait for the Weekend Edition vice the Profipack. It depends on whether you really want the photo etch, masks and greater number of markings options. If you don't, then these kits are the ones to get. They are fairly inexpensive, being about half the price of the Profipacks, and Eduard has learned to provide a full kit that unlike some of their earlier W.E. releases, doesn't really rely on p.e. to have a complete kit. The inclusion of decal belts and the narrow cockpit opening, along with a pretty basic canopy for many, removes the need for the masks and the p.e.
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