Hasegawa 1/48 FW-190A-3 'Western Front 1941'

KIT #: 09205 (Jx105)
PRICE: $6.00 on the sales table
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reboxed Dragon kit. 1995 boxing


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 centre-line bomb rack able to carry up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs or, with horizontal stabilising 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 a 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. Focke-Wulf records make no distinction between A-2 and A-3 production with 910 of both types being built.

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.


For those who may not realize it, both Tamiya and Hasegawa will rebox other people's kits for the home market. This is one of Hasegawa's reboxings, and it is of the first properly done FW-190 in 1/48, the Trimaster/Dragon kit. This is the Dragon version as it does not have the metal landing gear of the Trimaster kit. It still has the photo etch and you get two frets of the stuff in this one. It is mostly used for interior bits like the armored head rest, seat harness, instrument panel, and side consoles. In fact, there is no plastic instrument panel or head rest so you have to use p.e.

As it is an early FW-190A prior to the fuselage extension, the kit offers a completely new sprue dedicated to this variant. The main differences aside from the fuselage halves are the fin radio antenna attachment, new horizontal stabs, new wheels, new cowling, new inner gear doors and new outer gun panels as this version had machine guns and not cannon in that position.

Thanks to the p.e., the cockpit is well done and few will want to replace it with aftermarket. The cowling is a bit complex with four pieces making up the cowling itself and three inserts for the engine exhaust. As this version has inner main gear doors, some surgery will be needed on the lower wing piece. One will also have to shave down the extended ailerons a bit and cut off the lower main gear door to match the instructions.

The prop is one of those deals with separate blades that some of us dislike and they are not keyed. The canopy can be posed open or closed as one wishes.

Instructions are typical for Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. The decal sheet is nicely printed but as you'd expect from 1995, are the old style where the white is off-white. There are aftermarket for those who may not trust nearly 20 year old decals. Markings are provided for two aircraft, both in RLM 74/75/76. Mottling is relatively light for both options being mostly on the fin and along the upper fuselage near the color demarcation line. The box art plane is from III./ JG1. As the 190A-2 and A-3 are so similar, the second option is for an A-2 with a sharkmouth from 5./JG1. This option has the lower cowling in yellow.


This particular kit will make into a nice model, but has been eclipsed in terms of ease of construction by newer kits from Tamiya and from Hasegawa themselves. However, if you run across one at a good price, then by all means pick it up. It still makes a nice model and will add to your early 190A collection.



December 2013

Thanks to me for getting this one on sale.

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