Hasegawa 1/48 FW-190A-5/U7 'Graf Special'
|PRICE:||$24.99 on sale ($55.00)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited Edition. 2012 boxing. Includes resin bits.|
The Fw 190 A-5 was developed after it was determined that the Fw 190 could easily carry more ordnance. The D-2 engine was moved forward another 15 cm (6 in) as had been tried out earlier on the service test A-3/U1 aircraft, moving the center of gravity forward to allow more weight to be carried aft. Some A-5s were tested with the MW 50 installation: this was a mix of 50% methyl alcohol and 50% water, which could be injected into the engine to produce a short-term power boost to 2,000 PS (1,973 hp, 1,471 kW), but this system was not adopted for serial production. New radio gear, including FuG 25a Erstling IFF, and an electric artificial horizon found their way into the A-5. The A-5 retained the same basic armament as the A-4.
The A-5 too, saw several Umrüst-Bausätze kits. The U2 was designed as a night Jabo-Rei and featured anti-reflective fittings and exhaust flame dampeners. A centre-line ETC 501 rack typically held a 250 kg (550 lb) bomb, and wing-mounted racks mounted 300 L drop tanks. A EK16 gun camera, as well as landing lights, were fitted to the wing leading edge. The U2 was armed with only two 20 mm MG 151 cannon. The U3 was a Jabo fighter fitted with ETC 501s for drop tanks and bombs; it too featured only two MG 151s for armament. The U4 was a "recon" fighter with two RB 12.5 cameras and all armament of the basic A-5 with the exception of the MG FF cannon. The A-5/U8 was another Jabo-Rei outfitted with SC-250 centreline-mounted bombs, under-wing 300-litre drop tanks and only two MG 151s; it later became the Fw 190 G-2. A special U12 was created for bomber attack, outfitted with the standard 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 and 20 mm MG 151 but replacing the outer wing 20 mm MG-FF cannon with two underwing gun pods containing two 20 mm MG 151/20 each, for a total of two machine guns and six cannon. The A-5/U12 was the prototype installation of what was known as the R1 package from the A-6 onwards. The A-5/R11 was a night fighter conversion fitted with FuG 217 Neptun (Neptune) radar equipment with arrays of three dipole antenna elements vertically mounted fore and aft of the cockpit and above and below the wings. Flame-dampening boxes were fitted over the exhaust exits. 1,752 A-5s were built from November 1942 to June 1943.
Colonel Hermann Graf (24 October 1912 – 4 November 1988) was a German Luftwaffe Second World War fighter ace. He served on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. He became the first pilot in aviation history to claim 200 aerial victories—that is, 200 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. He claimed 212 aerial victories in over 830 combat missions, 202 of which were on the Eastern Front.
Graf, a pre-war football player and glider pilot, joined the Luftwaffe in 1935 and initially selected for transport aviation was posted to Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing) in May 1939. At the outbreak of war he was stationed on the German–Franco border flying uneventful patrols. Serving as a flight instructor he was stationed in Romania as part of a German military mission training Romanian pilots. Graf flew a few ground support missions in the closing days of the German invasion of Crete.
In the late spring, 1941 Graf claimed his first aerial victory on 4 August 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) after 45 victories on 24 January 1942. By 16 September 1942 his number of victories had increased to 172 for which he was honored with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). At the time of its presentation to Graf it was Germany's highest military decoration. On 26 September 1942 he became the first fighter pilot in aviation history to claim 200 enemy aircraft shot down.
A national hero, Graf was taken off combat operations and posted to a fighter pilot training school in France before being tasked with leadership of a high flying de Havilland Mosquito intercept unit called Jagdgeschwader 50. In November 1943 Graf returned to combat operations. He was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of Jagdgeschwader 11 (JG 11—11th Fighter Wing) and claimed his last aerial victory on 29 March 1944. He was severely injured during this encounter and after a period of convalescence became Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing). He and the remainder of JG 52 surrendered to units of the United States Army on 8 May 1945, and were turned over to the Red Army. Graf was held in Soviet captivity until 1949. Having become famous via the Nazi propaganda machine and as the Commander of JG 52, Graf was singled out for attention by the Soviets. He was imprisoned until 29 December 1949. This relatively early release was by many perceived to be caused by his willingness to co-operate with his Soviet captors, something fellow pilots criticized him for, especially following a 1950s book by fellow fighter ace & Soviet POW Hans "Assi" Hahn entitled I Tell the Truth. This led to Graf being largely ostracized from post-war Luftwaffe comrade associations. After the war he worked as an electronic sales manager and died of Parkinson's disease in his home town of Engen on 4 November 1988.
This is a continuation of the various FW-190A kits that have been produced by Hasegawa. Over the years there have been dozens of limited edition boxings, some with resin bits to make a specific variant. This is one of those kits.
There is little that is much different between all the versions aside from things like upper engine cowlings, lower wing gun shell ejector chutes, canopy and a few other bits and pieces. This one has the smaller upper cowling for the smaller calibre guns and the standard 'flat top' canopy. One thing about Hasegawa is that they rarely give you anything in the kit that is not used in making the variant that is boxed. What adds so much to the cost of this kit is a small resin sprue (not shown) that includes enlarged cooling intakes (dust filters?) for either side of the engine. You can see these in the box art photo.
Some very minor surgery and hole opening will be needed on this one and in line with others in this series, the five piece cowling will need care in assembly. You'll also need to fill in some holes and panel lines as Hasegawa has chosen a near 'universal' fuselage to do the A-5 to A-9 'long fuselage' versions. I should point out that the cockpit is quite well done and while there are resin aftermarket sets for it, the 190 has a very small cockpit opening and resin is really not needed, aside from the AMS folks in the group. What is needed are some seat belts and one can either make them from tape or use one of the many etched aftermarket sets.
Instructions are the usual well done versions with Gunze references. I also noticed several small drawings to help with alignment and getting parts installed properly where they might be reversed. A nice touch. Markings are for the single aircraft as shown on the box art. The decals contain all the red bits of the scheme with the modeler needing to paint the cowling and rudder with yellow. It would be wise to do the cowling before attaching it to the airframe. The decals are the newer type where the white is actually white. A full data set is included and these have shown to work well with setting solutions.
I would guess that Hasegawa has provided modelers with many dozens of boxings and reboxings of their 190A series and thanks to the plethora of available markings schemes for these planes, we'll see this 190 join their 109 and A6M for many more limited editions in the future. This particular kit is valuable for the resin intakes if no other reason as these were rather rare items.
2013 Thanks to me for getting this one on sale. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
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Thanks to me for getting this one on sale.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page