|KIT:||MPM 1/72 FW-190S-5|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run with photo etch and vacuformed parts|
Though not something that was widely pursued during WWII, a few combat fighters did have trainers developed for them, among those in Germany were the Bf-109G-12 and the subject of this kit, the FW-190S (for Schule). Though designed to assist in the transition from advanced trainers into the combat types the pilot would be flying, they were used more for conversion trainers; especially for those in the ground attack units that were transitioning from the sedate Ju-87 to the much more sprightly FW-190F/G versions. They were also used a fast courier aircraft and as two seat night attack aircraft.
Some of these planes were new build airframes, with many converted from the A-5 or A-8 variant. Basically the fuselage fuel tank was removed and another seat with controls and instruments added along with a rather odd looking rear canopy. The strange bulged side windows were so that the instructor would be able to have some forward view, little though it was. Armament was limited to wing root cannon and perhaps some also had upper cowl guns, though I'd think that performance would suffer with all four guns installed.
I believe that one survived the war and is with the RAF™ collection.
This is not the MPM of 2006 but of at least ten years earlier, when MPM was getting things going. It has all the trademarks of an older short run kit. The etched fret for detail stuff like rudder pedals, instrument panels, and interior side consoles. The acetate instruments. The rough edges on every piece that has been molded. The smaller bits in a circular or semi-circular sprue. The large sprue gates that mean you'll have to take special care removing small pieces and you'll find that most of these gates intrude into the part itself, requiring more care in preparation. The overly fine engraved detail that will disappear under the filler you'll have to use or too much paint. The slightly rough feel of the plastic itself and the somewhat soft detail or overly large mold seams. And finally, the large ejector pin towers on the inside of the fuselage and wing halves.
In other words, it won't be tossed together in a couple of days nor likely a couple of weeks. It will take very careful construction with each part needing cleanup and test fitting before adding the cement. As with other short run kits, the desirability of the subject is what drives people to buy these. While others are happy with their Hasegawa and Tamiya kits, there are those of us who almost shun these things and immediately head for that which is difficult and which well probably never reach the detail level or overall finish that one gets with these other kits. Still, instead of adding yet another Tamyia P-51 or Hasegawa 109G to the shelf, the builder of this kit will have something that few others will either have or even dare to build. Kits like this not only challenge the builder to use skills that are unneeded in other kits, but will eventually make that person a better and more skilled hobbyist.
But back to the kit. The lone option in this is the upper cowling which determines whether it will be an S-5 or S-8. The kit comes with one vacuformed canopy. It is a bit thick and somewhat cloudy, but this reviewer prefers thick vac canopies as they are much easier to cut and attach! The instructions are a single folded sheet with a history of sorts and decal/painting information on one side with the construction sequences (five of them) on the other. There is a a forward view to show landing gear alignment. Some general painting info is provided giving RLM references. Decals are very nicely done by Propagteam and provide markings for two aircraft. The swastika is one of these broken affairs to bypass anti-Nazi laws. There are two units: one for each variant. The S-8 variant is shown on the front box art. The unit is unknown, but from the ground attack triangle on the fuselage, this would be a conversion school for old Ju-87 pilots. Like the other option, it is in RLM 74/75/76. It has a yellow fuselage band. The other is from a standard fighter training school and has but the two letters of the radio call sign for markings. Recent books on the type show other aircraft besides these two (of which these were the only known ones photographed for decades). This means other possible marking options for the adventurous.
While this is not a kit for the initiated, if you think you have the skills and the will-power to start (and more importantly, complete) a kit like this, then it will not only make into a most interesting model, but will fill a gap in any 1/72 FW-190 collection.
I bought this beastie so you would know what it is like. Besides, I may actually build it!
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