Trumpeter 1/24 FW-190D-9

KIT #: 02411
PRICE: $10.00 'used'
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2004 tooling



The Fw 190 D (nicknamed the Dora; or Long-Nose Dora, "Langnasen-Dora") was intended to improve on the high-altitude performance of the A-series enough to make it useful against the American heavy bombers of the era. In reality, the D series was rarely used against the heavy bomber raids, as the circumstances of the war in late 1944 meant that fighter-versus-fighter combat and ground attack missions took priority. A total of 1,805 D-9s were produced. Production started in August 1944.

The liquid-cooled 1,750 PS (1,726 hp, 1,287 kW) Jumo 213A could produce 2,100 PS (2,071 hp, 1,545 kW) of emergency power with MW 50 injection, improving performance to 426 mph (686 km/h) at 21,650 ft (6,600 m). Early D-9s reached service without the MW 50 installation, but in the meantime Junkers produced a kit to increase manifold pressure (Ladedrucksteigerungs-Rüstsatz) that increased engine output by 150 PS to 1,900 PS, and was effective up to 5,000 m (16,400 ft) altitude. It was fitted immediately to D-9s delivered to the units from September, or retrofitted in the field by TAM. By the end of December, all operational Doras, 183 in total, were converted. From November 1944, a simplified methanol water (MW 50) system (Oldenburg) was fitted, which boosted output to 2,100 PS. By the end of 1944, 60 were delivered with the simplified MW 50 system or were at the point of entering service. The 115 L tank of the Oldenburg system would hold the MW 50 booster liquid, which was single purpose, while later systems were to be dual purpose, holding either MW 50 or additional fuel.

The fighter lacked the high turn rate and higher rate of roll of its close coupled radial-engined predecessor. It was a bit faster, however, with a maximum speed of 680 km/h (422 mph) at 6,600 meters (21,650 ft). Its 2,240 horsepower with methanol-water injection (MW 50) gave it an excellent acceleration in combat situations. It also climbed and dived more rapidly than the Fw 190A, and so proved well suited to the dive-and-zoom ambush tactics favored by the Schlageter pilots. Many of the early models were not equipped with tanks for methanol, which was in very short supply in any event. At low altitude, the top speed and acceleration of these examples were inferior to those of Allied fighters. Hans Hartigs recalled that only one of the first batch of Dora 9s received by the First Gruppe had methanol water injection, and the rest had a top speed of only 590 km/h (360 mph).

Due to the failure of multiple attempts to create an effective next generation 190, as well as the comments of some Luftwaffe pilots, expectations of the Dora project were low. These impressions were not helped by the fact that Tank made it very clear that he intended the D-9 to be a stopgap until the Ta 152 arrived. These negative opinions existed for some time until positive pilot feedback began arriving at Focke-Wulf and the Luftwaffe command structure.

Sporting good handling and performance characteristics, the D-9 made an effective medium altitude, high speed interceptor, although its performance still fell away at altitudes above about 20,000 ft (6,100 m). When flown by capable pilots, the Fw 190D proved the equal of Allied types.

A while back, at the local IPMS meeting, a friend of mine brought in this kit and offered it to me for $10.00. He stated that the kit had been started and that the owner of it wanted to get rid of all his big scale kits as he knew it would never get completed. I did a cursory look through the box and not seeing anything really horrible, bought the kit. On bringing it home, I discovered that about 40% of the kit had been assembled. The assembly was good though nothing had been prepainted. It included the complete engine minus the accessory section, the interior, main wings, and the tailplanes. He has started to build the forward cowling and had assembled the open cowling option. Comparing what was left on the sprues, the only thing I found missing was the gun sight. $10.00 well spent.

When Trumpeter first started with its large scale kits, they decided to use metal hinges for all the flight control surfaces. They also included springs for the main landing gear legs, not realizing that with the gear doors attached, the legs would not be able to move. I ran into this with their 1/24 109G-6 and their 1/32 F4U-4. Anyway, the kit does include a full engine and accessory section. You need to install these as you can see the accessory section in the main gear wells and the engine is required as a place to attach the prop and exhaust.

The cockpit is nicely done and provides a clear upper instrument panel with a section of acetate for the instruments. The lower section is raised detailing, that I thought was a bit odd. Why not do both in clear and provide acetate instruments for both?  What is missing are photo etch seat belts, something you really need to have for a kit like this as the seat is quite visible. The cowl guns attach to an assembly in front of the cockpit and one then attaches the engine to that. This means you are ready to close the fuselage halves, trapping the tail gear strut and rudder.

Next the guns are installed along with the area behind the cockpit. Tailplanes are then built and attached. Then the wings are assembled after installing the main gear legs, gear well and wing guns. The wing is attached to the fuselage, the wheels assembled along with the forward cowling and the drop tank. The cowl flaps can be posed open or closed. There are two canopy styles provided, though there is no indication of what fits on which of the markings options. The upper cowling pieces are installed (there are two different gun cover pieces to choose from), the prop and supercharger intake assembled and attached along with the clear bits and various antennas, and you are done.

Trumpeter's usual instruction booklet is provided with Gunze paint references. Two markings options are provided, both in RLM 81/82/76. The box art plane is with JG 2 and the other with K(J)G/54. Decals are nicely printed. Aftermarket are few and far between with most that I've seen being Montex paint masks.

After looking things over again, I decided that the first step would be to do some painting. I mentioned that the previous owner had built up quite a few of the subassemblies, but had done no painting prior to building. So I painted some of the completed bits that included the engine, cockpit, and the prop. I then went to work on the inside of the flaps and main gear wells along with the interior sidewalls.

Then I painted the engine mounts and attached them along with a tank at the back of the engine. The cockpit had the lap belts installed. I used KitsWorld decal belts for this. With those dry, the instrument panel was built up and installed. Then the engine was attached to the cockpit section. If you are wondering if all this stuff has to be added to the engine, the answer is yes as much of it will be seen when looking into the open wheel well. What won't be seen is the large MW 50 tank that fits behind the cockpit.  This tank and the interior/engine assembly was then glued into one fuselage half. The tail gear was also built up after painting and glued in place. Then the other fuselage half was taped on to ensure all was properly aligned. When I was sure all was good, the rudder was attached and the fuselage halves glued together.

With that in place, the wing was next. It had been assembled and was ready to go. Fit isn't bad though there was a fair gap at the lower rear and the lower front had a step that needed to be sanded out. Upper wing root was good. The tailplanes were then attached. The next item was the assembled cowling. This had the radiator detail painted aluminum prior to attaching. This only has two fairly small attachment points. One is the upper section and a small stub on the engine that hits on the lower part. The windscreen was masked and glued on. Then the canopy was built up with the late head armor and once dry, was masked and then attached with a small bit of Cementine to hold it in place during painting.
The scheme I chose was in RLM 81/83/76. For the underside, I chose Mr. Color and for the upper surfaces, Model Master enamels. All three colors went on very smoothly and as usual, there was quite a bit of overspray. Some masking then the usual back and forth resulted in a pleasing looking camouflage scheme. I used the kit decals for this one as there isn't much in the aftermarket for 1/24 Doras. Even though I gloss coated the airframe, the decals all initially silvered to some extent or another. Repeated applications of fairly strong solvent took care of nearly all the issues. The biggest negative of the decals is that the fuselage bands are too short and do not fit at all well. This resulted in some additional painting to cover up the gaps. I also found large decals like the band to be fairly brittle and this one cracked quite a bit where it had to go over curves. I'd recommend painting on any bands you would use with this kit.

After this it was simply a matter of applying a matte coat, and then dealing with the landing gear. With the springs installed, the gear was far too tall. So I removed the springs and glued things in place. After attaching the wheels and gear doors, it was apparent that it was now too short. Nothing to do but live with it and move on. I then attached antennas, prop, drop tank and so on. An exhaust stain was applied using Alclad II smoke. Masking was removed and the canopy attached in the open position. A bit of touch up painting and that was it.

The kit wasn't a difficult build, but it did require some care in construction. Aside from the decal issues, the major down side is the landing gear. I highly recommend the various metal gear as not only is the kit's gear fairly wobbly, but as you can see, it is too short. Regardless, it makes into a very nice and very large model.

6 January 2023

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