Kit: No. 02411
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, imported by Stevens International, 856-435-1555, www.stevenshobby.com
Comments: Injection-molded, 182 parts (11 metal, 17 photoetched metal, 1 film instrument panel), decals
Pros: Nicely detailed engine and cockpit, operating control surfaces, beautiful details
Cons: Landing-gear wheels splay under weight of model, engine and gun details hidden from view
Fw 190D-9 models have been issued by almost every major manufacturer in almost every scale. Now with Trumpeter's new 1/24 scale kit you can have a super-sized "Dora Nine."
My first impression of the kit was that it was going to be big when completed! It's nicely molded in neutral-gray plastic and flash-free, with some rough edges on a few parts. The kit includes a drop tank, two types of canopies, open or closed cowl flaps, two styles of fuselage gun covers, a complete engine, full machine-gun and cannon armament, movable control surfaces, and landing gear with operating oleo struts.
I started by assembling the engine. The kit includes a pretty good representation of the Jumo 213A. Though there is no provision to open the cowling, a good portion of the engine can be seen through the wheel wells.
The cockpit has enough parts to give a good account of the real thing. The primary instrument panel is enhanced with printed-film gauges. The completed cockpit joins the engine to create one big interior module. This fits inside the fuselage halves perfectly, and they closed without a hitch. The kit also includes the fuselage-mounted methanol tank for the engine's boost system, but like the engine, there is no way to display it.
All of the control surfaces move on photoetched-metal hinges and metal rods. I found them a bit fiddly to assemble, but they presented no major problems.
The landing gear are molded in a vinyl-like plastic that doesn't take paint well. The gear legs are hollow to take springs that make the oleo struts work. Use a strong adhesive to secure the landing gear legs, as they'll be holding a lot of weight when the model is completed.
While working on the lower surface of the wing, I was surprised to see that the shell-ejection ports are only scribed! You'll have to carve them open.
Adding the cowling and the fuselage gun deck was tricky. I wished for an extra set of hands while I assembled things. I had followed the instructions, so the fuselage and wing had been joined. The wing kept getting in the way, and I had to be careful not to break off the landing-gear legs. I recommend assembling the whole fuselage before adding the wings.
On finishing the landing gear, I noticed that the tread pattern on the tires looked a bit deep and wide. Also, the landing-gear doors had a strange pattern of reinforcing strips on their inner surfaces that I've never seen before.
The Fw 190D has a separate hatch that provides access to the tail-wheel retraction gear. It's included in the kit, but there's no detail inside.
When I put the completed model on its landing gear, the tires splayed a bit. The single pin that locks the oleo strut in place doesn't provide enough tension to keep the strut from rotating. Gluing the oleo in place may be the best solution.
I painted my model with a combination of Gunze Sangyo and Polly Scale late-war Luftwaffe colors. I adjusted the paint scheme from the instructions when I saw photos of the actual aircraft in the references and consulted an aftermarket decal set featuring the same plane.
Decals are provided for two aircraft. These are beautifully printed and went down perfectly over a gloss undercoat.
My primary reference was Squadron/ Signal's Walk Around Number 10: Fw 190D. I also found Fighter Pictorial's Broken Eagles 1:Fw 190D useful, as it includes three photos of "Yellow 11." The kit measures well to the references, and the completed model looks convincing.
I completed my D-9 in 35 hours; that's about what I anticipated for such a large model. My impressions are mixed. Compared with Trumpeter's 1/24 scale Mustang and Spitfire, the Focke Wulf has fewer detailed features and fewer parts. Still, the finished model is impressive.
- Jim Zeske