Hasegawa 1/72 FW-190F-8 'Hungarian Air Force'
|PRICE:||1400 yen when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The FW-190F series were basically standard fighters that were modified to carry a centerline and later wing mounted bomb racks. The Fw 190 F-8 differed from the A-8 model in having a slightly modified injector on the compressor which allowed for increased performance at lower altitudes for several minutes. The F-8 was also fitted with the improved FuG 16 ZS radio unit, which provided much better communication with ground combat units. Armament of the Fw 190 F-8 was two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in the wing roots and two 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns above the engine. In the Fw 190 F-8/R1 two ETC 50 bomb racks were installed under each wing, capable of holding one 50 kg bomb each. In 1945 the ETC 50 was replaced with the ETC 70, capable of holding 70 kg bombs. According to Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports, at least 3,400 F-8s were built, and probably several hundred more were built in December 1944 and from February to May 1945. (Data for these months is missing and probably lost.) Dozens of F-8s served as various testbeds for anti-tank armament, including the WGr.28 280 mm air-to-ground missile, probably based on the projectiles from the Nbw 41 heavy ground-barrage rocket system, and the 88 mm (3.46 in) Panzerschreck 2 rockets, Panzerblitz 1 and R4M rockets.
There were also several Umrüst-Bausätze kits developed for the F-8, which included the Fw 190 F-8/U1 long range JaBo, fitted with underwing V.Mtt-Schloß shackles to hold two 300 L (80 US gal) fuel tanks. ETC 503 bomb racks were also fitted, allowing the Fw 190 F-8/U1 to carry one SC 250 bomb under each wing and one SC 250 bomb on the centerline.
For many years, the Hasegawa 1/72 FW-190 series was the best there was. Earlier offerings from a variety of manufacturers, including an earlier Hasegawa kit, were all lacking, with shape errors that were difficult to correct. This one was first tooled in 1992, followed by literally dozens of boxings, several of them being combo kits. The last ones were released in 2014/2015, probably due to the more detailed Academy, Revell, Zvezda, Airfix, and later Eduard kits. All of Hasegawa's 1/72 190s were A-5 and later variants. They also did the 190D-9.
These kits are not complex and don't suffer from a plethora of small parts that one often deals with when it comes to newer kits. The cockpit is a simple tub with a seat, stick and instrument panel. Decals for the instrument faces. This is trapped in the fuselage halves and the upper cowling, tailplanes and prop assembly are then attached. The prop comes with separate, keyed, blades. Then one assembles the wing, opening any holes that are required and for the G-8, the variant of this kit, you will need to open some holes. You also need to trim away some pieces and fill holes as this plane did not have outer wing guns.
Landing gear is simple and sturdy. A centerline rack is provided for a drop tank. This kit comes with an additional sprue (G sprue) that includes the outer wing racks and bombs. These kits have the pitot tube and tail gear molded in place so care does need to be taken when building. The canopy and windscreen are separate with this kit only offering the 'blown' version.
Instructions have Gunze paint references and both markings options are RLM 74/75/76 in the standard pattern. Both options are pretty much the same except for code numbers. The decal sheet is nicely printed and provides the wing and fuselage bands. These are 'old school' Hasegawa decals where the white is off-white, but still appear to be quite usable.
I've built most of the earlier and some of the later 190s in this scale, and find the Hasegawa version to be one that I like the best. This is mostly due to the ease of construction and the fact that the finished product looks nice. If you find these at a reasonable price on the 'used' kit market, pick it up. I'm sure you will be pleased.
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