have extended their series of new-tool 1:48 Fw 190s to include the 'A-8, the most numerous of all the radial-engined version. The 'A-8 marked the culmination of previous efforts to enable the Fw 190 to tackle the increasing threat of American daylight bombing raids, and was continuously modified and upgraded during its time in production from February 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.
Typical changes during the production run involved increased armour and variations in armament, a more powerful engine and the fitting of a paddle-blade propeller, but the standard 'A-8 carried 2 x MG 131 machine guns in the fuselage and 4 x 20mm MG 151 cannons in the wings with a top speed of just over 400 mph at around 19,000 ft. In capable hands, the 'A-8 remained a formidable opponent to the end, but encumbered by the weight of extra equipment, the Fw 190 suffered an increasing performance gap compared with the latest enemy fighters that was only really successfully addressed with the introduction of the Fw 190D and Ta 152 developments.
's new kit arrived in a solid and attractive top-opening box, with all the sprues and accessories packed in separate sealed bags. The sample model reached me in perfect condition despite two trips in the post. The kit comprises:
109 x dark grey styrene parts (plus 44 not needed)
6 x clear styrene parts (plus 4 unused)
51 x etched metal parts (some pre-coloured)
A set of kabuki tape painting masks
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
The large number of spare parts is down to the way Eduard
have designed the series of kits around a core of generic sprues containing parts applicable across a range of variants. The result is, whichever kit you go for, you'll be guaranteed a plethora of things to add to your spares box.
The moulding is basically flawless in the sample model, with the crisp parts showing just a few faint mould lines to clean up in places. Ejection pins have been placed sensibly and the only hint of sink marks that I could find on first inspection were on the back of the propeller blades at the roots where they'll be hidden by the cowling anyway.
As with the previous kits in the new-tool Fw 190 line-up, the surface finish is superb, with delicately embossed rivets and fasteners, plus neatly scribed panel lines.
A quick test fit of the major components is really encouraging. The original release in the series - the Fw 190A-4 - was a breeze to build (see HERE
), and the new 'A-8 promises to be just as good.
In fact, it should be even more straightforward from one point of view because, like the ‘A-5 released around twelve months ago (see Tim Hatton's review HERE
), the lower cowl section is now moulded integrally with the wing. I've got to say, though, I've got mixed feelings about the change, because the original piece for the “short cowl” fitted beautifully and was simpler to paint as a separate part.
With all due apologies to the late David Bowie for hijacking his lyric, it's not a question of "turn to face the strange" - but there are some notable differences between this and the earlier kits in the series. While the fuselage has the same "long cowl" as the 'A-5 and looks very similar at first glance, it's actually a new tooling with differences in the access panels etc.
And, of course, there's the bulged cover over the larger calibre cowl guns. (Looking ahead to getting started properly on the kit, and assuming the top cowls still fit as well as the originals, I'll probably leave them loose again to allow me to install the exhausts after I've painted the fuselage. For the same reason, I'll once again cut the barrels off the inner wing cannon so that I can install them after painting.)
Turning to the wing parts, there are some obvious changes, with inner wheel covers no longer fitted, revised access panels and cartridge ejector chutes for the outboard cannons, plus there's a large panel on the extension to the lower wing section that forms the bottom of the rear fuselage where the new fuel tank was fitted on the original aircraft.
On top of the wings, two of the markings options feature streamlined blisters over the outer guns - and, if you opt to fit those, you'll also need to do a little filling and add etched panels on the underside.
Beyond that, it's a question of using some of the alternative parts included on the core sprues that are used for the series of kits. So, you'll use a new cockpit tub and side consoles, different control surfaces compared with the 'A-4, a choice of smooth or treaded tyres and - for one of the colour schemes at least - you get to play with the late style bulged canopy.
Painting & Decals
This is a ProfiPACK kit, so the instructions are printed as a classy colour-printed 16-page A4 booklet. The assembly diagrams are clear and simple to follow, with colour call-outs for Gunze Sangyo paints.
The kit includes markings for a generous five colour schemes, some very well known like Ernst Schröder's “Red 19” “Kölle Alaaf / Edelgard”. As tempting as that undoubtedly is, and inspired by Erik Mombeeck’s recent study of JG.5 Eismeer (reviewed
>HERE), I’ve plumped for “Blue 4” with its attractive matching spinner spiral and cowl ring, plus striking yellow/black Reich's defence band. The full list comprises:
A: Fw 190A-8, W. Nr. 171180, "Yellow 4", 6./JG 300, München-Neubiberg, Germany, April – May 1945
B: Fw 190A-8, W.Nr. 350189, "Blue 4", 12./JG 5, Herdla, Norway, Spring 1945
C: Fw 190A-8, W.Nr. 172733, "Red 19", flown by Uffz. Ernst Schröder, 5./JG 300, Löbnitz, Germany, October 1944
D: Fw 190A-8, "Yellow 7", flown by Ofhr. Walter Köhne, 3./JG 1, Bad Lippspringe, Germany, May 1944
E: Fw 190A-8, W.Nr. 960542, "Black 1", Stab/JG 4, Jüterbog-Damm, Germany, Spring 1945
The decals are thin and glossy and spread over two sheets to include a comprehensive selection of servicing stencils. I’ve found recent Eduard
decals perform excellently, responding really well to standard setting solutions to give a great “painted on” look on a gloss surface, so I’m confident the set here won’t give any trouble.
This looks like it’ll be a great addition to Eduard
’s growing range of state-of-the-art 1:48 Fw 190s. It’s detailed enough to satisfy hard-core Luftwaffe enthusiasts while, based on my experience with the 'A-4, I'll predict that construction will be straightforward enough to be suitable for anyone with even only a modicum of experience.
I haven't been able to resist starting construction already, so watch out for a full-build report soon.
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