|Hasegawa 1/48 FW-190A-4/F-1 'Tunisia'
|$25.55 from www.greatmodels.com
|Scott Van Aken
|Probably a reboxed Dragon kit
Probably the most successful fighter in the Luftwaffe was the FW-190. From the first time it took to the air until the last and nearly totally different versions flew, it either outclassed the opposition or was pretty well its equal. This could not be said of the Bf-109, which after the F model was constantly trying to play catch-up and while getting faster, wasn't getting any better. However, it was easy to construct and that, as much as any other reason, was why it was kept in production. Sort of like the reason the P-40 lasted so long with the USAAF.
Anyway, the A-4 version was probably the one that finally worked out all the bugs and resulted not only in a capable aircraft, but one where the pilot wouldn't have to sweat the engine catching fire at the most inopportune moments. It was also the last of the 'short nose' 190As as the A-5 variant had a short extension added to the area near the wing roots.
The A-4 was very similar to the A-3 version. The only real difference was a slightly different engine capable of handling the MW 50 system (never installed), a different radio that resulted in a short mast on the fin and an additional wire leading into the aft fuselage, and that is about it. Late production A-4 versions had adjustable engine cooling shutters like the A-5.
The FW-190F-1 ground attack aircraft was based on the A-4 airframe and the main features of this were the removal of the outer wing armament and installation of a centerline bomb rack. Very few of these versions were built (less than 20) with most of them seeing action in the later months of the North African campaign.
Apparently this is based in part or total on the Dragon kit. I don't have one of those for comparison, but when I built the FW-190A-3, I found some of the fit to be rather fiddly, a trait of Dragon kits, so I believe it. Like the A-3 boxing, this one really only has parts for the A-4 variant. I'm not 100% sure if there is a difference in the ailerons or the elevators, but this kit only has one set of elevators (where the A-3 kit had two) and the small sprue for the ailerons is a different one from what was provided in the A-3 kit. Aside from that, all the bits are identical. You have several sets of wing gun access panels, the option to use a bomb rack or a drop tank (though that options is marked out in the instructions). One of the two wheel options is also marked out.
The kit is further limited by having the later engine cooling vanes instead of just the slots, so an early/mid production A-4 is not possible with this kit, a bit of an oversight in my opinion. Means if you want an early A-4, you'll have to get the A-3 kit and rob the cooling slots from it. Not exactly user friendly, is it? I'll bet that an 'early' A-4 kit is in the works. It just sounds like something Hasegawa would do.
We all know how nice but a bit busy Hasegawa instructions are so I'll leave it at that. The markings are provided for two aircraft. One is an F-1 from SKG 10 in standard RLM 74/75/76 camo with side mottling in the upper surface colors (the box art aircraft). These planes were brought straight from Europe and so were not repainted prior to being put into action. The kit supplies the white fuselage band for this and the other option, though you may want to paint that on. Spinner is in white. The other is an RLM 79 over RLM 78 camo with a yellow rudder and lower cowling. Again, the fuselage band is supplied as a decal. This one has a white spinner tip and under wing tip panels. Not many 190s were so painted so it is a bit of a rare bird. It is Erich Rudorffer's plane from 6. /JG 2. Both of these planes are shown in the reference, which is an excellent book on the 190's brief career in North Africa. Decals are well done and you have instrument decals which you can place atop the raised markings on the instrument panel and side consoles.
OK, so it isn't a real Hasegawa kit. It still is a nice one and will build into a very nice model when you are done. Besides, there are a ton of markings for it and this one is much easier to find than the Dragon kit.
The interweb and Focke-Wulf FW-190 in North Africa, 2004, Classic Books
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