Great Wall Hobby 1/48 FW-189A-1 "Nacht Jäger"
Scott Van Aken
New mold kit
In 1937, the
(RLM) issued a specification for a short-range, three-seat reconnaissance
aircraft with a good all-round view to support the German army in the field,
replacing the Henschel Hs 126, which had just entered service. A power of about
850-900 hp (630-670 kW) was specified. The specification was issued to Arado and
Focke-Wulf. Arado's design, the Ar 198, which was initially the preferred
option, was a relatively conventional single-engined high wing monoplane with a
glazed gondola under the fuselage. Focke-Wulf's chief designer Kurt Tank design,
the Focke-Wulf Fw 189 was a twin-boom design, powered by two Argus As 410
engines rather than the expected single engine and a central crew gondola, while
Blohm & Voss proposed as a private venture something even more radical: chief
designer Dr. Richard Vogt's unique asymmetric BV 141. Orders were placed for
three prototypes each of the Arado and Focke-Wulf designs in April 1937.
Possibly the best reconnaissance aircraft to operate
during World War II, the Fw 189 was produced in large numbers, at the Focke-Wulf
factory in Bremen, at the Bordeaux-Merignac aircraft factory (now the Dassault
Mirage plant) in occupied France, then in the Aero Vodochody aircraft factory in
Prague, occupied Czechoslovakia. Total production was 864 aircraft of all
Called the "Flying Eye" of the German army, the
Fw 189 was used extensively on the Eastern Front with great success. Its Russian
nickname was "Rama"
(Frame), referring to its distinctive tailboom shape. Despite its slow speed and
fragile looks, the Fw 189's maneuverability made it a difficult target for
attacking Russian fighters. When attacked, the Fw 189 was often able to out-turn
attacking fighters by simply flying in a tight circle into which enemy fighters
could not follow. Its ruggedness was demonstrated when Fw 189s routinely
returned to bases with one tail shot or torn off.
Great Wall Hobby 189 kits have been released out of sequence a bit as this kit
is 4801 and 4803 was their first release. There is little difference between
this and the previous kit aside from some minor things and I'll cover those when
the time comes. If you have seen or built any of their armor kits, then you are aware of the
quality of their kits. This one is no exception. Thankfully, there are not the
usual mass of rivets as you often see on other kits developed in China. I do
appreciate that. The kit comes on six sprues, one of which is clear and two of
which are identical. The clear bits are very well done and quite clear. This
time, Great Wall has placed them in a padded bag as my first kit suffered from
some broken clear bits (which Great Wall quickly replaced).
Molding on the rest is very crisp and clean. I did find ejector pin marks on the
inside of flaps, upper gear wells and some other areas. Most of these will either
be easy to remove or will be difficult to see when the kit is complete. I should
also mention that the fabric flight control surfaces many have more 'hills and
valleys' than some will want, but to me it looked fine. The kit comes with a
photo etch fret that is used for seat harnesses, rudder pedals, upper flap
wells, engine wiring, tail
wheel door, gun sights, and a few other small pieces. Another real bonus is that
a full set of canopy masks is included. With all that 'glass', masking in the
normal way would be time consuming and tedious. Great Wall has not only given
the masks, but each one is numbered and the kit comes with a full placement
guide, making things almost easy.
The kit provides several nice features. First of all, it has separate control
surfaces, including the two section ailerons. The rudders and ailerons are
hinged and designed to move. I'm not sure how receptive most modelers are to
this sort of thing. Personally, I'd not mind if they were not movable, but from
the look of things, it will not detract from the overall presentation. The tail
wheel is also hinged, which is a bit odd as the gear door is photo etch and has
to be bent in a specific manner when attached. In case you were wondering, the
superbly detailed main gear is not designed to retract. The kit also comes with
a crew figure, something one doesn't always see in modern kits.
The kit also comes with two nicely detailed Argus engines. There are engine
covers in case you do not want to display them open, but you'll have to build
them up anyway in order to attach the exhaust and the propellers. These engines
have a photo etch ignition harness for each side. Something interesting I
noticed in the instructions is that one attaches the lower outer wing section to
the booms first, then the upper wing section. The center lower wing section is
part of the fuselage nacelle. This is very
nicely detailed with about anything
you'd ever want from a kit of this type. There are decals to fit over the
instrument faces providing us with nicely raised instruments and face detail as
well. Other options are the ability to carry bombs under the wings, two wheel
chocks and two maintenance/boarding stands. The differences in this boxing from
the previous one are the inclusion of the exhaust dampers and nose radar bits.
There etched sprue is slightly different in that there is an additional gun
sight pieces so the arrangement is a bit different from the one shown. But
basically, they are the same.
instructions are very well done with well drawn construction drawings along with
some smaller detail drawings to be sure you got everything together OK. On the
initial kit I commented on the missing interior color information.
I'm very pleased to note that they have taken that to heart and not only provide
Gunze references but RLM ones as appropriate.
The camouflage and markings instructions are, as I mentioned, in full color with
both Gunze and RLM color information. The lone markings option is for an NJG 100
plane in 1945 painted in RLM 75 upper with RLM 76 lower and this same color
squiggled all over the upper surfaces. Yellow lower wing tips and tail booms.
The decal sheet is superbly printed and come with swastikas in
sections as well as stencils and wing walk areas.
If you read the build review I did on their first
release, you know what a great kit this Great Wall Hobby version really is. I'm
pleased that there have been improvements to the instructions and packaging and
know that it will make into a superlative model with a bit of patience and
careful construction. I know you will like it.
My thanks to Great Wall Hobby for providing the preview kit. Visit
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