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woody37

Focke-Wulf FW190A-5/U7 Graf Special

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Focke-Wulf FW190A-5/U7 Graf Special

Hasegawa 1:48

Box.jpg

Designed in the late 1930's, the FW190 challenged convention in Europe at the time that a fighter could benefit from a radial engine despite belief that due to it's frontal area it's performance would be restricted. History demonstrates that Kurt Tank was right. The FW190 went into service in Europe in August 1941 with great success and was well liked by it's pilots. The wide track undercarriage gave it better ground handling than the 109 and it's combat handling was superb. The A-5 model was powered by a BMW801D-2 engine with MW50 water / methanol inject that gave a boost power of over 2000hp, which in 1942, was impressive. The engine was moved forwards to allow a great payload aft of the CofG. The A7 was a high altitude version, the most noticeable feature of this is the compressor intakes on either side of the nose. Hermann Graf was one of Germany's top scoring aces of the war with 212 air victories. After achieving 200 kills, he was sent to France to command a fighter pilot training school due to fear that losing him in combat would be bad for moral such was his reputation by this stage. Here he flew FW190a-5's and then went on to use them flying high altitude missions to intercept high flying Mosquito's.

Hasegawa's limited edition kit features the high flying version that Graf flew. The instructions say that this is the aircraft that he flew as Kommandeur of the pilot training school (Jgr-Ost), however the high altitude modifications of the A7 lead me to suspect it could be the aircraft he operated immediately after leading Jagdgeschwader 50 against the high altitude Mosquito's, perhaps someone can shed some light on this period.

The model as you would perhaps expect is very nicely detailed and the break down is traditional with two fuselage halves, single piece bottom wing and individual top wings. The 4 grey sprues are packed together with the clear sprue being packed seperately along with a small fret of polycaps. The instructions are easy to follow with clear diagrams and painting instructions. On opening the kit, the panel lines on the fuselage & wing surfaces are recessed, but very reserved too, so keeping the paint thickness down will help to preserve the detail. The plastic moulding has quite a few 'swirl' marks in it, however this appears to be visual and not evidence of sink marks.

fuse.jpg

wing-lower.jpg

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The compressor inlets that dominate the engine cowling on each side are supplied on a separate sprue. There is some flash present on it, but it should easily clean off.

wing-upper.jpg

The undercarriage bays are nicely detailed. The undercarriage doors are beautifully detailed and a wash will really bring this out. As these are quite large and prominent on the FW190, this is an important part of its character.

wing-upper-close.jpg

The engine detail is satisfactory, however as the FW190 has a fan behind the propeller, this won't be visible. A polycap is used to allow the prop & fan to be removed if you do want to admire all the work you've put into your engine ! The undercarriage legs look sturdy so there's no need to worry about the model buckling under it's own weight.

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The instrument panel and side panels are adequately defined, however if you prefer decals, these are supplied as an option. The framework and head armour in the sliding canopy is well represented, however care should be taken gluing these into the canopy to prevent glue marks (guess how I know that !!!). The seat has no seat belts unfortunately, so you will have to source some if desired.

The canopy moulding is nice and crisp with separate windscreen. My only complaint with the review kit is some fine scratches in the sliding canopy. As this was packed in a separate pack, I can only assume this occurred during manufacture / packing and not storage. These should come out quite easily with a buff and dip in Kleer. Also on the sprue is wing tip lights and a HUD.

clear.jpg

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The decals are beautifully registered with a healthy amount of stencils. The kit only comes with one scheme, however, it is a great scheme so I have no complaints. Care should be taken with the wing stencil lines as these are one piece per wing. It might be sensible to cut them up before applying.

decals.jpg

Conclusion

This is a great kit and one I was keen to get. I've heard no criticism of building the Hasegawa kit and the unusual compressor ducts on the nose in combination with a great colour scheme make it a little bit different from your normal A series 190. The kit shouldn't present any issues for novice builders yet has enough detail to interest the more experienced builder, though it could benefit from some aftermarket seat belts.

Amerang - Hasegawa

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif UK distributors for logo.jpg

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