|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Converted to transport variant|
Regarded as the most formidable long-range aircraft that was added to the U-boat scourge in the Battle of the Atlantic, the FW 200 was designed in 1936 by Dip. Ing.Kurt Tank who was the Technical director of Focke Wulf Flugzengbau G.m.b.H. Initially the FW200 was intended to be a twenty-six-seat low wing monoplane, designed purely as a commercial airliner and was powered by four BMW 132 G-1, nine cylinder radial engines.
The service history of the FW Condor was very diverse to include long reconnaissance and attack anti-shipping missions far out over the Atlantic to the later version known as the C-6 that was equipped with HS293 missiles that were mounted on underwing pylons. During the course of its service history, a VIP version also emerged that was referred as FW200 C-4/u2. These Condors were used by the Fuhrer Kusur Staffel, which was Hitler's personal transport unit. This special type of Condor was to be used as the personal transport of the notorious SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was later used as the private aircraft of Grand -Admiral Karl Doenitz. It was the sole example of the FW200 C-4/UI coded GC-AF number 5, and work No 137 that was built as passenger transport and at the same time was fully armed and embodying special features. This incorporated the fitting of two compartments, which jointly could accommodate 11 passengers. The forward one to be used by Himmler and later Doenitz. This featured a forward facing armoured plate seat, and a hinged armoured plate screen for protection from beam attacks. A folding table and a bookcase were provided in polished wood and there was a jettisonable escape hatch in the floor in ahead of the seat so that the occupant of the seat would have a quick way of escape by parachute in the event of an emergency.
The forward compartment provided accommodation for 4 additional passengers and the aft compartment could accommodate an additional 6. These two compartments were finished in highly polished light wood paneling with all upholstery being in grey shade.
The one other FW200C-4/U2, work No 138 provided accommodation for 14. The throttle and engine instruments were on a central console and the flight instruments were duplicated on either side for the first and second pilot. The BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 Fafnir, nine-cylinder radial engine powered the version. The FW200 C-4/u2 was flown by Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, and like its other one, built it featured an abbreviated gondola. The hydraulically operated FW19 forward and aft upper turrets being mounted with a single 7.9mm MG15 machine guns. The VIP Condor had little option but to fly straight and level and the aircraft itself provided a good platform for fighting off the attacker with its heavy defensive armament.
The Focke Wulf 200 C was initially released by Revell circa February 1966. At the time of its release the kit was very welcomed since it was one of the first axis four engine bomber that could be assembled straight from the box. Revell's kit represented a FW-200C3/u1, which normally carried a radar array on the nose. This was omitted from the model probably due to limitation in the process to inject/mould this at the time of its release. The kit comes with an undercarriage of a sturdy construction when made up in spite of its complicated design. The control surfaces move, including the flaps, which carried construction details that show up when in lowered. The model was moulded in light blue plastic, free from flash with the parts fitting well. The kit also had operable bomb bay doors which when open will expose a bomb bay roof with several bombs integrally moulded. There are 118 parts. Worth noting is that the kit was re-released a few years ago (kit 04312) which contained a revised instruction sheet and decal sheet to represent a FW 200C-4, which operated in the Mediterranean during 1944. The new format of the decal sheet catered for a quantity of tiny stencil details that were lacking in the original kit. All in all a beautiful FW 200 in splinter camouflage can be produced.
Converting the FW 200 C-4 into a C4/u1, the VIP version required a series of alterations particularly to the exterior of the model. Starting with the fuselage, this carried additional windows bringing a total of six rectangular windows of equal size to the port side of the fuselage. This means adding three more windows and blanking the smaller port window located aft of the crew entry door. Three more rectangular windows are added to the starboard side but this time retaining the tiny aft window. Note that the large windows are not in a straight line but not all to the same level. The small circular window on the port side of the nose is retained but is painted over. The upper turret on the forward fuselage is removed and its opening blanked with a piece of plastic card and faired to shape with putty. The elongated observation canopy mounted on the upper rear fuselage is also removed and the area blanked as before. In place of these two positions, two smaller FW19 gun turrets are added. These are round in plan view but have a tear drop shape when viewed from the side. The centerlines of these two turrets are two and quarter inches from the fin and two and one eight inches from the nose tip respectively. Marking these centers then drill a quarter inch hole at each position to produce the turret opening to the fuselage. I produced these turrets clear Perspex by first shaping them out of a piece of wood and moulding them on a gas cooker using a one inch square piece of clear acetate.
Making the u/1 version also meant that part of the bay gondola had to be altered by shortening it to a new overall size of four inches. This proved to be a simple task as it involved removing the excess length from the center section of the bay. Ideally the gondola and the bomb doors are first assembled in one piece, and upon drying this is carefully sawn and shortened to the new size. The bomb housings under the inner engine nacelles were filled with putty and carefully blended to conform to the shape of the nacelle. The underwing wing pylons were sawn off and smoothened to level of wing surface.
I have preferred to use a set of sturdy white metal three bladed propellers obtained from Aeroclub. No gun armament was visible attached to the turrets in all the pictures I have examined and so I left these out. My model represented FW 200 C-4/u1, W.No 176.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The model was complete in the standard splinter two tone green camouflage adopted by the Luftwaffe on top surfaces, and light blue lower with yellow engine cowlings. (Editor's Note. This would be the maritime scheme of RLM 72/73/65) The original code letters GC+AE on the fuselage and under the main planes were retained but the German crosses were removed and in place RAF roundels added. The Swastika ensign on the tail fin was partly visible behind the Fin flashes and so it needs to be retained on the scale model. The 8" Air Ministry No 94 was made in a straight sequence unlike the port side that was not written in a level line,(to conform that on the real machine) and using similar small white lettering. The circular Staffel emblem is positioned at same place either side of the nose. This consisted of a dark brown eagle's head, orange beak over a white background and circled with a thin black edge. I had to paint this on a small white decal sheet. For anyone wishing to do the Air Min 97 FW 200C (subvariant not identified) W.No 0181, this was coded GC+ SJ, and this also carried the Staffel emblem on the nose and the circular window was also fitted on the original but again was painted over.
Not that I am keen on Luftwaffe WWII aircraft but in RAF configuration it looked so different and certainly a smart addition to my model collection.
Carmel J. Attard
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