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Eduard 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8

Kit: 8173
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Eduard from Czech Republic,
Price: $39.95
Comments: mixed media, 250 parts (179 injection-molded, 71 prepainted photetch), decals
Pros: High level of detail, optional parts, excellent decals
Cons: Canopy parts are too wide
A company that introduces a new 1/48 scale Fw 190 must bring something new to the table to set its kit apart. Eduard provides detail in its new kit not seen before in this scale. The engine, gunbay, landing-gear well, and cockpit detail of this new offering is extensive and exquisite. The decal markings, including a full set of stencils, are thin and beautifully printed. The 16-page instruction booklet, printed in color on magazine-quality paper is a work of art. Symbols indicate modeling tasks, like bending or drilling. The parts map shows which parts are not used with this kit. Painting guides are given using Gunze Sangyo's codes. The assembly drawings show clearly where all parts go, with the possible exception of the engine exhaust pipes. An antenna mast shown on the color and marking profiles is not included in the kit.
Assembly begins with the cockpit. Both molded-plastic and photoetchedmetal parts are provided. Some of the photoetched parts are small and difficult to handle, but they look great when properly installed. The cockpit, cowl gun bay, and tailwheel assembly must be completed before the fuselage halves can be joined.
Alignment of the shell ejection chutes (parts H20 and H21) is critical so the chutes will line up in a later step with ports in the bottom of the fuselage.
Mold-seam lines must be removed from the wing's interior parts so the optional upper-wing panels will line up on the lower wing. Correct fit and alignment here will make mating the competed wing with the fuselage possible. It is a very tight fit.
The ailerons and rudder are separate parts that can be posed. The wing-root machine gun bays and the cowl gun bay can be displayed open or closed. Assembly differs depending on the modeler's choice.
Problems arose in the assembly of the 14-cylinder BMW 801D-2 engine. The engine has ten parts, not including the exhaust pipes and tubular motor mounts. Each of the parts is keyed for alignment, but the fit of each part is sloppy. Any misalignment here will make installation of the exhaust pipes more difficult. I was not able to make any of the eight exhaust pipes fit properly and left them off my model.
The empty shell ejection chutes for the wing-root guns (parts J46 and J47) would not fit and had to be shortened approximately 1/16" before installation.
The three cowl panels and the bottom of the fuselage require dry fitting and shimming. There is a designed-in gap between the two cowl rings (parts K25 and K26).
Getting the wheels mounted at the proper 8-degree angle is difficult, because the axles are molded at 90 degrees to the landing gear legs. However, the delicate landing gear mount system seems to have worked well in controlling alignment.
Fit of the kit-supplied masks for the wheels, windshield, and canopy was acceptable, but I would use metal foil if I build this kit again. Sadly, both the windshield and the canopy were too wide for the fuselage, but the rear deck, instrument panel hood, and the cowl gun assembly all fit perfectly. I will substitute vacuum-formed clear parts next time.
My model is painted with out-of production AeroMaster Warbird Colors (RLM 74, 75, and 76 with 66 and 02 on the interior). The snappy blue cowl ring, spinner spiral, and fuselage numeral of 12/ JG 5 grabbed my eye right away. The decals resist any tendency to curl under the paper, and can be moved for exact placement in a drop of water. Microscale Micro Set made the decals look like they're painted on.
My thumbnail measurements indicate that the fuselage length is right on while the wingspan seems to be about an 1/8" (5 scale inches) too long. I spent over 40 hours working on this complex kit.
The question has been asked, "Do we really need another Fw 190?" The answer is, easily, "Of course we do." Technology improves. Kits get better. Models can be built and detailed without conversion kits. Modelers want the state-of-the-art regardless of what has been, and this kit provides it.
- Al Jones


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