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1/72 Airfix FW190D-9 "Dora die Erkunderin"

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Life’s left me a bit short on modelling time of late, but things are calming down so I might have a chance of some bench time again. While I probably should continue with the choppers, aircraft are my main interest and this one’s been nagging away as something I want to start on. This hasn’t been helped by reading through @shortCummins and @Pete in Lincs kitbashing threads (though I do swear that the concept & kit purchase predates that).


So what am I actually building then? I’ve had this kit in the stash for around a decade. Admittedly most of that time I wasn’t modelling, but coming back to the hobby this sent me on a hunt for possible colour schemes that didn’t require mottling as I don’t currently possess an airbrush and don’t fancy trying it without one. Having failed to find any, I decided to go down the whiff route and make something up, and if I’m going there, I might as well go all out. Not only is this going to be a non-military scheme, but I’m going to put it on floats as well.


The backstory I’ve concocted is that at the end of the war a young American pilot managed to get his hands on a reasonably complete Fw190D-9 and “arranged” for it to make its way back home. Our intrepid pilot subsequently made his fortune in the booming economy of the early 50’s and with it had the funds to make his prize airworthy again. Living around the great lakes, he decided to fit it with floats and subsequently used it to explore the Canadian wilderness during vacations. Eventually he felt he was too old to fly and passed the plane down to his son, who had the plane restored and repainted in a livery similar to the Reno Warbirds. He decided the plane needed a name commemorating it’s interesting past, christening it “Dora die Erkunderin” (or Dora the Explorer in German). And yes, the entire backstory was conjured up so that I could make an awful dad-joke with the name of the model.


As for the plastic, the main kit is (I think) the 2009 boxing of the 1976 tooling, which would explain the large amounts of flash in places. I picked up a PM Spitfire floatplane to provide the floats, with the side thought that as it’s a simple kit I might be able to convince one of the offspring to have a go at it once I’ve taken the bits I want:




I’ve also picked up some etch and a resin cockpit as the Airfix kit is devoid of any real details. Neither are intended for this kit, but I’m hopeful I can make it work:




At some point in the past I’ve taken some of the parts off the trees on the Fw, and assembled the prop:




(Ominous drums & bass) Flash! Aa-aahhh! I think it’s safe to say I’ll be spending some time on the clean up. I’ll replace the pitot with brass tube:




The PM kit has some flash issues as well, to the extent that the port tailplane slot is almost completely filled in. Luckily, I don’t need the fuselage for this build. If I can’t get the kids interested, it’ll probably become a paint mule. The floats are ok, I’ll have to do some work on the shaping of the tops of the struts to get them conforming to the underside of the Fw wings:




Looks wise, I found one other D on floats, which was very nicely done https://modelingmadness.com/review/axis/luft/scze190w.htm I also found a couple of A variants on floats (including one nicely done on a 3 float Rufe-type setup), but this one captures the essence of where I’d like to be shape wise. I’m still mulling over the final paint job as well, though the main colour will be Ford Deep Impact Blue, by virtue of the fact that I’ve got a big aerosol of it to do one of the choppers and there’s more than enough to do this as well.

Edited by 81-er
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18 hours ago, Steve Coombs said:

Looking forward to the further adventures of Dora die Forscherin.

While I'll admit my GCSE German is a bit rusty, "die Forscherin" translates as "the researcher" and “die Erkunderin” is the feminine for explorer. Unless I'm missing something?

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It's a much vexed question. If Dora is exploring something new, she is an Entdeckerin (discoverer). If she's investigating something in more detail or doing a recce, she's an Erkunderin. If she's doing research as she explores, she's a Forscherin (for example, polar explorer - Polarforscherin). This is probably why Dora the Explorer is simply titled Dora on German TV - nobody can agree which is the best noun for her...

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I guess if I wanted to completely scare away my kids from modelling, the PM Floatfire would be my eminent choice. The base kit is terrible, the floats are atrocious (and a complete figment of someone's imagination - I was given one as a review kit close to 20 years ago, started and gave up), and there's just about no way of grafting on that ventral fin/rudder extension. But as you will use the floats for Miss Dora, I guess you won't care that much about the floats' (in-)accuracy. 😉 And the base Spit may just pass the test, though the fuselage as I remember it is very narrow.

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51 minutes ago, Steve Coombs said:

It's a muched vexed question. If Dora is exploring something new, she is an Entdeckerin (discoverer). If she's investigating something in more detail or doing a recce, she's an Erkunderin. If she's doing research as she explores, she's a Forscherin (for example, polar explorer - Polarforscherin). This is probably why Dora the Explorer is simply titled Dora on German TV - nobody can agree which is the best noun for her...

Phew, I thought I'd dropped a clanger* there for a moment!

*no 1970's children's tv characters were harmed in the making of this post

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally managed to sneak in a bit of bench time this morning, between the job, working on the 1:1 house, the kids, plus the addition of two kittens to the household, I’ve been more than a little tied up. As this is an unconventional build, I decided to start with the floats rather than the cockpit. Admittedly this was partly so I could get the PM Spitfire box off my desk and back into stash. First up, the floats needed removing from the sprue so that I could return the prop & spinner to their box:




That’s the last photo taken in natural light, after that the heavens opened, and I had to turn the light on! So much for summer, eh? With the light on, I did at least manage to spot this. I think this might be a first for me, an ejector pin mark that’s visible on the outside:




Looking on the reverse it makes more sense, this is more crater than ejector mark!




There’s a few of those and a few sink marks to deal with. Dry fitting the halves of the floats together showed that there will be a lot of work to make the seams disappear, but I was expecting that as it was a very cheap kit. AS you’ll see from the below, there will be an awful lot of filler, sanding, and rescribing (well, adding in panel lines at all) in my future:










Knowing there’s a lot of work ahead of me anyway, I threw caution to the wind and glued the floats together:




Next up, I dug out the razor saw and removed the Pavla cockpit floor from its casting block. As you can see, the block is bigger than the part!




I think the last time I actually used resin in a build would have been building my Sevans Cybercontroller model when I was still at secondary school (which reminds me, I should probably dig that out of my parents’ loft and finish it). Detail on this part isn’t amazing, but compared to the Airfix “cockpit”, it’s a vast improvement:






Yes, that bulkhead and cushion is the full extent of the office in the original kit. The IP cowling is moulded as part of the fuselage. I couldn’t resist dropping the seat in, even if it was still on its block:




Final thing for today was trying a dry fit of the cockpit in the fuselage. There’ll be a lot of work in getting all the parts to fit, but I think it’s doable:






The rear section of the canopy is moulded into the fuselage halves. I have a vac-formed canopy and a resin rear deck to go under it as part of the Pavla set, plus a PE deck as part of the Eduard set. I’m thinking that I’ll probably end up taking a razor saw to the fuselage to remove the moulded canopy rear section, then build a plasticard base for the rear deck. I’m not sure if the resin or PE version is going to be best, I’ll find out when I get to that stage.

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Seemingly modelling opportunities are like busses, I wait ages for one and then two come along at once (ie. I managed to sneak a bit more work in after the kids were in bed on Friday). This post should be sound tracked by Alice Cooper, as that’s what I could hear playing on my son’s stereo as he settled off to sleep (as lullabies are a bit old hat when you’re nearly 9).


The first order of business was to remove the tape from the floats and do some sanding to reduce the worst of the steps between the halves, as well as those ejector marks visible on the outside of the plastic. This also obliterated most of the panel lines but given this is a whiff then I figure I can add them later wherever seems sensible. After round one things were looking a lot better, but not perfect. It also has a distinct look of submarine about it as well:






I’ve seen a couple of people here use marker to highlight flaws in seams, so I figured I’d give it a try myself:




This well and truly highlighted areas that needed work, so I’ll be using this again:




After this was all sanded down (I treated it like a guide coat on car bodywork and kept sanding until the marker was removed everywhere) there were a couple of sink marks and a gouge from me clumsily removing one part from the sprue that needed some filler. I ringed these with a marker for later:






The rest of Friday’s session was rinse and repeat with the other float, I’m sure you can all work out what that looks like. Hopefully I can get a bit more done this week.


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  • 6 months later...

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? With the Hellcat stalled while I waited for a suitable window to get it painted, it was Dora’s turn to shine again. Strap in, it’s a long one (or TL/DR – a lot’s been going on).


Coming back to this build after so long has meant reassessing a few things, the biggest of which being the use of the aftermarket bits. I could do the work to remove the moulded in rear of the cockpit and replace it with the Pavla vac canopy and the Eduard PE on a plasticard base, but if I’m being honest the Pavla cockpit requires a serious amount of work to be paint-worthy and given how little is likely to be seen anyway, I just don’t think it’s worth the bother. This is a basically a bad dad joke in styrene, not a potential show winner after all. I’m also trying to clear some of the “in progress” builds before this year’s group builds kick off in order to retain domestic harmony.


I’ve grouped the photos together by area, otherwise there’d be an awful lot of jumping around. Picking back off where we left, the floats. These have now had all the sink marks and seams dealt with, and should be good for some primer once I’ve worked out the alterations for attaching them:




Moving on to the cockpit, the pilot’s “ledge” had a couple of ejector marks and flash, so that was cleaned up and given a few coats of interior green with a hairy stick. Yes, I know it would have been RLM 66 in reality, but this is a whiff of a restored machine. I also slapped some matt black on a wedge of plasticard I’ve cut to cover over the seam on what laughable passes as the IP:






I’ve also whacked some interior green on the fuselage interior as well. Like the seat, it’s a little patchy, but as I’ve now got an airbrush I’ll see if I can even that up a bit at some point:




Moving outside the fuselage, I’ve stuck the end of the air intake on. As is becoming the norm with this kit, there were some fitment issues and much filler was required:










I did take the time to drill out the opening, which will get some black paint before close-up:




I’ve also done a fit check of the nose gun cowling, which as this photo shows will just click into place without the need for glue or filler:




One very much for another day!


Wings next. As mentioned at the start of the project, there was some pretty serious flash on the wingtip & pitot, or so I thought. In reality there was flash around the pitot and the issue on the wingtip was actually the lower wing being longer than the upper section:




The pitot was removed, and I’ve drilled a hole to take a brass replacement later. I’ve done the same with the wing root cannon and the nose guns. Might as well have them for show, peacetime bird or not. The wingtip was reshaped with a quick bit of sanding action.


Gluing the upper and lower wings together it became pretty clear that I was going to be dealing with panel trenches rather than panel lines. Things weren’t much better when I dropped the retracted gear in:






My thought is to have the landing gear completely plated over and smooth, somewhat like the treatment seen on the front of Mustang wings. Many rounds of filler (using both PPP & liquid green stuff) and the wings currently sit here:




I think they’ll need another round or two over the gear locations, plus some rescribing of the control surface hinges. I’m tempted to try sanding off the oval access panels and rescribing them as well, purely as a test of the new Hasegawa template set I’ve got.


The front edges had some pretty bad joints as well, which have now been taken care of:








The prop/spinner have similarly required many rounds of filling & sanding, with the odd bit of primer thrown in to check on the progress. I think I’ve finally got it dealt with now, but another coat of primer will confirm or deny that:




The final bit for now is the drop tank, which I figured would be used for journey’s around the wilderness. Again, absolutely stellar fit on this one, though the filler has come to my rescue again (I swear I need to buy shares in filler makers):












For anyone still here and still awake, well done! Until next time



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This looks like it might be fun; if nothing else it's nice to see someone else building a model out of filler with the occasional bit of styrene thrown in!  I'll look forward to seeing how it turns out - I reckon it'll be excellent.

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53 minutes ago, Pete in Lincs said:

James, You're a brave man. I remember that Fw kit from the seventies as being basic even then.

Looking forward to more of this.


Thanks Pete. I'm not sure if "brave" is the right term, maybe "foolhardy" or "certifiable" would be more appropriate? I still need to decide on a paint job, however I have a bottle of Tamiya X-15 light green that I've been dying to try out on something...


25 minutes ago, jackroadkill said:

This looks like it might be fun; if nothing else it's nice to see someone else building a model out of filler with the occasional bit of styrene thrown in!  I'll look forward to seeing how it turns out - I reckon it'll be excellent.


It's certainly proving to be an "interesting" build. I believe @Navy Bird is well versed in building models that are more filler than styrene as well judging by his Privateer build (which was well worth your heroic efforts Bill).



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32 minutes ago, Hook said:

You can always claim it's RLM83. ;)


Nice project! 





I think RLM 24 is a far closer match 😉



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With work on the Hellcat awaiting my next opportunity to use the airbrush, it was Dora’s turn for some work last night. I’ve recently bought a set of Hasegawa PE scribing templates and I figured Dora is a prime candidate for testing them out. Firstly, being an old tooling, she’s covered in raised panel lines (and oddly some recessed ones as well). Secondly, it’s a fun build rather than a show winner, so it’s not the end of the world if I make the odd mistake.


First up were some oval inspection panel covers on the undersides of the wings. I grabbed the template and found the most appropriately sized oval, stuck it down with some tape, then scribed round the edge with a pin held in my pin vice. This taught me a few lessons.


1.    Having the template securely held is essential

2.    Scribing the new panel outline before sanding back the raised kit one worked better for me than sanding it off first, it gave me a better chance of correctly positioning it

3.    The ovals next to the main gear legs by the leading edge are a real pain to achieve lesson 1 on


As it sits now, the wings look like this:






 A couple of the new ovals aren’t quite where Airfix put them, however I’m not entirely sure the Airfix locations were symmetrical between the two wings. I’m going to run with it as is for now and review how “right” or “wrong” the locations look after I’ve finished the rest, then amend as required.


While I had the oval template out, I went over a couple on the fuselage as well (filler spots are a combination of mistakes with the scribing or Airfix’s massively deep trenches that I’ll rescribe later):




Ovals that I could do for now all used up, I thought I’d tape the fuselage halves together and try some of the main panel lines. With the two halves together I could align the panels spanning between them. This was reasonably successful, with a couple of slight wiggles. I’m blaming the big one on the tail on Airfix as this was the “best fit” aligning the Dymo tape for the top with the two panel lines running up the edge of the stabiliser reinforcement plates. If you’re wondering why the scribed lines are red, that’s simply because I used the same sanding stick I’ve been using on the Hellcat’s paint corrections:








I managed to get this circular access panel on the underside of the engine compartment done after a couple of aborted attempts, made much easier by having the fuselage joined rather than trying to do it with the halves separated as it gave me more to tape to:




Finally, I treated her to some Master upgrades as it was ludicrously cheap for a set and I was making an order of goodies for my other builds. Pictured are the nose machine guns and the pitot, but I have the cannon as well. Those are less photogenic as they’re just straight tubes:






Until next time



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Just a quick update for now. Seeing as I had the airbrush out to work on the Hellcat, I figured I may as well shoot some paint at Dora. Firstly, some Tamiya XF-2 as a primer coat on the cowling and prop. Rather happy with the result as it appears I’ve finally dealt with the seams on the spinner:




Then I shot some interior green on the seat, which has nicely evened up the colouration. Just need to paint the cushion and then it’ll be ready to go into the fuselage:




Until next time



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