Planet Models 1/72 FW-190v13

KIT #: 228
PRICE:
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin with vacuformed clear bits and metal landing gear

HISTORY

The FW-190 was the Luftwaffe's second most important fighter after the Bf-109 and in many ways was superior (which wasn't all that amazing as it was a later design). The aircraft was also modified a great deal to try to provide better overall performance, especially at a higher altitude. One of those modifications involved using an early FW-190A airframe to test the DB 603 inline engine that was intended for the FW-190C. In fact, several airframes were so modified and while none of them led to the production of the 190C, they did provide good information for the later 190D.

The C model's use of the longer DB 603 engine required more extensive changes to the airframe. As the weight was distributed further forward, the tail of the aircraft had to be lengthened in order to maintain the desired center of gravity. To test these changes, several examples of otherwise standard 190 As were re-engined with a supercharged DB 603 to experiment with this engine fit, V13 (W.Nr. 0036) with the 1,750 PS 603A, the similar V15 and V16, a 1,800 DB 603 E being fitted to the latter after a time. With this engine, the V16 was able to reach 725 km/h (450 mph) at 6,800 m (22,310 ft), a considerable improvement over the 650 km/h (400 mph) at 5,200 m (17,060 ft) of the basic A models.

THE KIT

Planet Models got their big boost with the Luft '46 craze of a couple of decades back and slowly worked its way into doing more esoteric subjects. Prototypes are definitely in that range of subjects and so we have this particular offering.

As usual with Planet (a subsidiary of CMK), the resin casting is very good. Since the landing gear of the 190 sort of jut out, they have wisely produced that part of the kit in white metal. I have another 190 prototype from a different company that had resin gear, and the weight of the airframe warped that into a nice curve after a few years. This was in the days before SAC's metal gear, which would have taken care of that issue.

Anyway, there really is not all that much to the aircraft. It does have a separate cockpit tub into which one plunks a seat, control stick and instrument panel. 190 cockpit openings are very small so the most I'd do is seat belts. The kit provides a small radiator grille for under the forward cowling and once that and the cockpit are in place, the fuselage halves can be glued together.

There are separate prop placed which basically butt join onto a prop shaft and the spinner is glued atop it. This is an early set of blades from the look of it, before the paddle blades were common. One then attaches the forward cowling, wings and tailplanes along with the landing gear and doors. Exhaust are separate so you can wait until the end to install those. The only external difference between the V13 and V16 is that the latter has a supercharger intake on the side of the engine cowling. You are provided two vacuform canopies.

The only unique markings these planes carried were different radio call signs and the decal sheet provides those along with split swastikas for the fin. The V13 is in overall RLM 02 while the V16 has a standard RLM 74/75/76 scheme with lots of mottling. Instructions are more than adequate and you get a full color painting and placement guide. I have no idea what decals #7 are for as they are not shown in the instructions.

 

CONSTRUCTION

First step is to remove as many of the large parts from the sprue as possible. I generally leave the small ones attached so I don't lose them. Then comes removing the pour stubs, which can get messy (dust) so it is wise to wet sand these items. I then painted all the cockpit bits with Mr.Color RLM 66. With that done, these pieces were dry-brushed with white to bring out detail. No need to go nuts on 190 interiors as the opening is fairly small and little will be seen without a strong light.

I then glued in the front radiator opening. Note that in the instructions this part is mis-labeled as #17, but when you look at the sprue, you'll easily see that it should be #18.This was then glued into one half of the fusealge.  A couple of things I should mention. Planet seems to have used standard kit bits when designing this one. For instance, there is a hole in the instrument panel anti-glare panel for a gun sight and one just behind the seat for the armor plating. Neither of these items were used on these aircraft so you have some holes to fill.

With the radiator installed, the upper forward fuselage sections were glued together. I did this as the resin fuselages were a bit on the warped side as in warped outward and so I thought cementing the fuselage in sections might be the best way to to. I then checked to see if I could install the cockpit through the wing opening and it turned out I could, so the tail section was glued, moving up the fuselage to the cockpit and wing openings. I could fit the cockpit from the wing opening and did so.

After dealing with the filler required, especially at the forward part of the fuselage where the cowling attached, it was time for the wing. I was told many years ago that it is not unusual for parts to be fairly far off in terms of size and so it was with this one. The wing was a good size for fitting to the fuselage in terms of width, but was too long and too wide at the back. However, better too large than too small so a bit of sanding took care of that. Fit at the front wasn't bad as things go.

Once the wing was dealt with, the tailplanes were attached. These are a butt join. I also attached the engine cowling and the lower cowl flap. Then one of the two vac canopies was cut out and masked. Once that was accomplished, it was attached using Cementine clear cement. Meanwhile the prop pieces were removed from the casting sprues. Note that the prop blades are keyed so don't get crazy when removing these.

I then attached the tail gear and the main landing gear legs. These had the attachment holes deepened. When attaching the MLG a lot of care has to be taken as the openings are a lot larger than the stub on the metal gear into which they fit. Makes for a very wiggly attachment until the super glue dries. Attaching the retraction struts was a bit of a fussy job as well. I'm thankful that the gear legs are metal otherwise they would sag under the weight of the model. I then attached the main gear doors. There is a lower radiator exhaust piece that needs to be added. It is too large for the opening so was posed open. Seemed like a good time to paint.  

COLORS & MARKINGS
This was the easiest part of the build. The v13 was overall RLM 02 and for that I used Mr.Color paint. I had assembled the prop and that was painted RLM 70, again using Mr.Color paint. When dry, it was gloss coated with what now passed for Future. Then the kit returned to the work bench to add the final bits.

First items were the wheels. These are a little bit wiggly as well, but you can adjust them while the glue sets. The gear legs have little posts to fit into holes in the gear doors. Except there are no holes in the gear doors. Again, a fairly wiggly situation. Installing the exhaust was a bit of a challenge as they are a bit too wide to fit into the slots so some additional sanding on them was needed to get them in place. No pitot is supplied so this was added with a piece of bronze wire. I then painted the radiators with aluminum.

The kit decals are very thin so one does need to be careful when applying them not to have them fold over or tear. Lots of water is usually the key. I don't like split swastikas so used a pair from an Aeromaster 1/72 FW-190 insignia sheet. The kit decals snuggled down very well without the use of setting solution. I used Microset for the swastika. A flat coat was applied using Tamiya matte clear. The prop was attached after drilling a hole in the back of it so it would fit on the small stub in the center of the cowling. Last item was the foot step. Masking was removed, a bit of exhaust stain and that was it.

This is a fairly nice resin kit of an interesting prototype. It is fairly obvious that Planet Models used the Hasegawa 1/72 FW-190A-8 as a basis and just added the little lump on the forward fin found on the early short nose 190s. The wing has the underside access hatch and the DF antenna mount found on the later 190s, so those items were filled/sanded away. In all, if you have built other resin kits, then this one will be fairly easy. This one took me about three weeks to finish, which is less time than usual for me to complete a kit.

REFERENCE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Focke-Wulf_Fw_190_variants#High-altitude_developments

7 January 2022

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