When Eduard released their 1/48 scale Fw 190s earlier this year, they already managed to pack more detail into the standard kits than any previous Würger in this scale. With a full engine and fuselage guns bay, exposed cannons in the wing roots and a very decent wheel well, what more detail could they add? Well, the answer wasn't long in coming, with the release of a major etched upgrade set.
The set contains no less than 222 photo-etched steel parts on 2 frets. The parts are accompanied by clear colour-coded instructions which indicate where kit parts must be modified or replaced entirely. The instructions are printed rather smaller than usual, but this doesn't detract from the clarity at all - and anything that saves paper and also leaves the workbench less cluttered has to be a good move in my book. The high number of parts makes this a pretty complex set to use, so the instructions are broken down into 30 basic stages to keep everything under control and some of these stages are further sub-divided for clarity.
The assembly sequence doesn't seem very intuitive at first glance; for instance, the first stages of detailing the wheel wells and cannon bays appear on page one, then they are interrupted by a major section dealing with the engine, before continuing on pages 3, 4 and 5. The answer to this apparent conundrum is that the sequence is closely keyed to the original plastic kit, so it's actually totally logical. Well, I've totally given the game away now about what the etched set covers, so lets have a look at the main areas in more detail.
A closer look
Things kick off with the fuselage gun deck, with replacement electrical boxes, cabling, plus handles for the ammunition cases and more detailed faces for the feeds to the MG 131s. The interior of the engine bay gets some sidewall detail and there are small rings to add to the ends of each exhaust pipe. (I'm not sure whether the latter will really give a hollow-tube look, but at least it's a start.) As mentioned above, these are the first steps in detailing the cannon bays and wheel well, with most of the moulded detail needing to be shaved off the former and several etched plates added to the main spar which forms the rear of the wheel well.
The next section deals with the engine. As supplied in the kit, the BMW 801 is reasonably detailed, but isn't intended to be visible beyond what can be seen beyond the cooling fan or via the open gun deck. The etched set changes all that; the idea is to open up the access panels to reveal a detailed radial engine. There's ignition wiring to add, cover plates for every cylinder, rocker covers and ties - at least 80 additional parts go into the engine alone. The cowling panels are replaced with folded metal items which must be curved to the correct shape before tiny individual locking catches are added. Absolute devotees of realism will probably argue that the wiring would look better done with fine wire; well, I can't argue with that (and the option is always there to use the etched parts as a guide to cut the lengths needed), but I'm going to give the etched parts a try because I've been surprised just how convincing they can look once painted to give them some "depth".
Moving on from the engine, we return to the wheel well, which comes in for a lot extra detail. In common with other '190 kits, Eduard's has a rather prominent seam at the front of the well where the wing halves join. New etched plates hide all that and should look much more convincing. There are also new exhaust deflectors and faces for the gun ports added, before the undercarriage is completed with brake and retraction cables.
Next up come the wing-root MG 151 cannon bays. Having removed most of the original detail back on page one, it's time to pile it all back in with new etched cables and brackets, charging boxes and ejector chutes.
The last page of the instructions is devoted to smaller details; an etched strap for the drop tank to replace the solid moulded item in the kit, plus details for the ECT rack to hold it. There's an antenna for the bottom of the fuselage and a ring to surround the flare chutes, before everything is rounded off with extra details for the hinge on the top of the canopy which allowed the original to flex as it opened, and replacement details for the aerial guide behind the pilot's headrest.
Eduard's Fw 190s are already great kits straight out of the box and should look stunning with the engine opened up for inspection and extra detail for the cannons and undercarriage. As you can imagine, this etched set isn't suitable for beginners, but experienced modellers should relish the challenge it offers and the prospect of a show-stopping model at the end of it all. Recommended.
Eduard have released a complex etched detail set that adds a lot more detail to their already excellent Fw 190. This isn't suitable for beginners, but experienced modellers should have a field-day with the possibility of a fully exposed engine and detailed gun-bays.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...