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Paul A H

FW 200C-3 Condor - 1:72 Trumpeter

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FW 200C-3 Condor

1:72 Trumpeter


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The Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor was a long-range, all-metal airliner designed by Ludwig Mittelhuber as (somewhat ironically given the purposes for which it was eventually used) a transatlantic airliner. The Fw 200 was unusual in this regard as long range passenger routes were more usually serviced by seaplanes at that time. The prototype took to the air for the first time during the summer of 1937 with Kurt Tank at the controls. In its original civilian guise, it was intended to carry 26 passengers in its unpressurised cabin over a distance of over 1,800 miles. The prototype was the first conventional aircraft to fly non-stop between Berlin and New York.

A request from the Japanese Navy for a militarised version, combined with the prospect of war in Europe, led to a series of versions designed for military use. It was initially deployed in the maritime patrol role and was used to help the U-boat force locate allied shipping as well as launching direct attacks using its own bombs or mines. So effective was the Condor in this role that it is said to have led to Winston Churchill christening the aircraft the 'scourge of the Atlantic'. The Royal Navy managed to counter this scourge by developing effective defensive tactics, most notably through the use of small escort carriers. The low-level flying also took its toll on the Condor fleet as the aircraft was never designed for such work and was not sufficiently strengthened.

Not that long ago it was difficult to keep up with the flurry of 1:72 aircraft kits being released by Trumpeter. The deluge seems to have slowed to a trickle in recent years, but dare I say that the quality has gone up, with some of the most recent kits such as the Su-27 series of kits being highly regarded by those in the know. This kit is essentially a scaled down version of the huge 1:48 Condor released by Trumpeter way back in 2005. This can only be a good thing as that particular kit enjoys a reputation for both accuracy and rich detail.

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The kit arrives well-packed into a sturdy top-opening box adorned with a nice painting of two Condors in flight. Inside are eight sprues of grey plastic, a single sprue of clear plastic, decals and instructions. There are over 250 parts in total, not that many fewer than the 1:48 kit. In common with other Trumpeter kits, the parts are extremely well packed and all of the sprues are individually bagged. The clear sprue is wrapped in foam for extra protection. The plastic parts are all nicely moulded and the engraved surface detail looks clean and crisp. The parts have a slightly textured finish. I personally prefer a smooth finish on the plastic as I find a textured finish makes it more difficult to remove excess wash applied to the panel lines, but this is a minor gripe.

Just like its big brother, the interior is literally jam packed with detail. The flight deck is comprised of an instrument panel, side console, control column and seats. The five large main fuselage fuel tanks, which occupy much of the converted passenger compartment, are all present and complete, along with the slightly smaller fuselage oil tank. These parts are all nicely moulded and well detailed, although I doubt much will be visible through the small cabin windows once the vertically split fuselage has been joined. The rear compartment is similarly well appointed, with crew seats, ammunition racks, oxygen bottles and the chute for deploying buoys and flares.

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Once the fuselage has been sealed up, construction moves on to the huge wing structure. The lower wing is moulded in three sections, comprised of the central span, which includes the lower halves of all four engine cowlings, and two outer spans. The upper surfaces are moulded in port and starboard halves. The ailerons and flaps are all moulded separately, which is a welcome touch. The tail surfaces have been similarly designed, with the elevators and rudders all moulded as separate parts which can be posed in a variety of positions if desired.

The instructions have you fit the turrets and other transparencies at this stage. You can of course leave them until later in the build if you so wish, and it is quite helpful that the turrets can be fitted once the rest of the model has been complete. The engines are fairly simple, with each being comprised of a one-piece (nicely moulded) engine, two-piece cowling and one-piece airscrew. The exhaust pipes and carburettor air intakes are all provided as separate parts, and very nicely detailed they are too.

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The Condor's distinctive landing gear is well detailed, with each of the main gear legs made up of nine nicely moulded parts. The wheels are split vertically and have fairly good treads moulded onto the tyres. Two large torpedoes are supplied, each comprised of eight parts including the lugs which by which they are joined to the wing or gondola. The transparent parts are typical Trumpeter beautifully moulded and very, very clear. The frame lines are clearly marked and the unglazed areas are frosted so it should be obvious which parts need to be masked prior to painting.

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A choice of two schemes is provided on the decal sheet:
Fw 200 C-3 KE+IX (works number 0099) in Luftwaffe service. This aircraft is finished in RLM70/RLM71 over RLM65; and
Fw 200 C-3 F8+GW (works number 0034) as it was following capture by the USSR. This aircraft is finished as above but with Soviet markings.
The decal sheet is nicely printed but is rather basic as it lacks stencils.

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Conclusion

Trumpeter often receive a fair amount of flack on modelling forums, but in this instance it looks as though they have produced a little gem. The kit is nicely detailed, well engineered and it looks accurate too. Of course Revell also produce a decent Condor and it is usually available for a keen price, but at the time of writing Creative Models are offering this kit on special offer for a shade over £25. This seems which seems extremely reasonable for what you get and on that basis it can be highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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It does look good. Not sure I need one in light of already having the Revell kit. But I wouldn't mind converting one to the civil version.

Kev

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should the fabric detail be that course? Just asking

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