by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The Fw 190A-8 became the most widely produced version of this distinctive fighter with some 1,400 aircraft built. The most significant change to this variant from the Fw 190A-7 was the installation of the GM-1 nitrous-oxide injection system, for temporary power boost in combat. A portion of A-8 production was built as the A-8/R2 and A-8/R8, armed with MK 108 cannon in the outer wing location and with armoured slabs added to the cockpit sides and a modified canopy.
Eduard has re-released its 1/72 scale Fw 190A-8 as a ProfiPACK. It originally came out in 2015 according to Scalemates and 2015 is printed on the decals. The contents and marking options are exactly the same. Well not exactly the same, the pre-coloured photo etched fret is different. The recessed and raised detail is really nicely done. The panel lines are fine as is the recessed rivet detail. There is a little flash here and there, but nothing drastic. The kit contents include:
●2 x grey plastic sprues
●1 x transparent spreue
●1 x Pre-coloured photo etched fret
●1 x set of Kabuki paint masks
●1 x small sheet of decals
●1 x 16 page A5 format instruction manual
As is usual with Eduard ProfiPACK releases there are three ways of detailing the cockpit: use of pre-painted photo etched [PPPE], decals or painting the raised detail yourself. It you doing the latter the the raised and recessed detail is pretty good. In this instance there are only decals for the instrument panel [IP}. Eduard has supplied blanks with no detail for the side consoles so the PPPE can be attached with ease. The IP and side consoles are attached to the same PPPE part. You need to bend the IP part 90° or so. Obviously some experience will be helpful particular in this scale, the tiny rudder pedals with straps will need careful handling and bending. There is even a trim wheel and handles for the instrument panel and throttle for the left hand console. There is what looks like a raised ejector mark on the right hand side of the cockpit wall. This appears to be an attempt at representing the trim wheel in plastic. Eduard suggests to remove this if you are fitting the PPPE trim wheel. Other detail includes a plastic instrument panel, side consoles, control stick, seat, and detail on the rear bulkhead of the cockpit. Other PPPE parts include seat harness and alternate detail for the rear bulkhead of the cockpit. All this detail fits onto a kind of cockpit tube that includes the area covered by the canopy to the rear of the pilot. It looks as if most of the interior is painted RLM 66. So all in all this will be a superbly detailed cockpit.
There is just one windscreen and two choices of canopy. Eduard supplies two of each style of canopy one for the open position and the other closed. There is an armoured headrest and the rail to add to the inside of the canopy. Paint masks are included although the masks cover the areas around the framework. For the rest you will need spare masking tape or liquid mask.
Fuselage is comprises of right and left halves. The rudder is a separate one piece part. There are no open hatches, but there the radio hatch you can open up if you wish. The area around the hatch on the inside of the starboard fuselage is deeply incised, making it easier to remove. There is no representation of the inside of the radio compartment included in the kit. There are a few bits to fit into the fuselage before joining: cockpit, fire wall, exhaust pipes and engine. Thankfully the exhausts comprise of two blocks of four exhaust pipes making it a lot easier to install. The detail of the two part engine looks a bit simplified, but seeing the engine will be challenging as it’s buried in a close fitting cowl and there is a fan between the engine and prop. Once the fuselage is assembled you can add the breech and gun trough covers. The two gun barrels are separate and attached to a block. There are two types of prop included with this release although only one is used. The spinner and fan are separate. The lip of the cowl is in two parts, just be careful cutting away the sprue that spans the gap of both parts.
The lower wing is one piece and almost full span. There is a nicely detailed spar to add and this makes up part of a well detailed undercarriage bay. Other detail included the distinctive dimpled roof in the fuselage, leg stanchions and the gun barrels that pass through the bay. The third set of exhaust pipes needs to be added also. There are a couple of holes that need to be drilled out if you are fitting the under fuselage rack. The upper wing features detail in the under carriage bay roof. The one piece ailerons are separate pretty sharp trailing edges. The raised detail depicting the canvas nature of the aileron is subtle. The underwing aerial can be represented in either plastic or there is a PE part. The outer gun barrels are separate and oddly the pitot tube is moulded onto the upper starboard wing. Overall the detail on the wing surfaces is superbly executed. The detail around the gun bulged blisters is really nicely done.
The tail planes are both one piece. Again the detail is subtle particularly the curve surface of the elevator against the tail plane.
The distinctive raked undercarriage legs and gear doors are captured very well. The main oleo is one piece with torque link included. There is the option to remove the torque link and replace it with a beautiful looking PE part. The retracting arms are separate and the tyres are one piece although the hubs on both sides are separate. The separate hubs means there is no need for masks. The tail wheel and oleo is one piece and slots into the fuselage once the fuselage halves are joined.
Eduard supply both a bomb and a fuel tank to fit on under the belly of the aircraft. The single fuselage rack needs to be fitted, but there are two different styles of cradle for the bomb and fuel tank.
The majority of the photo etched parts are for the cockpit. There are optional PE parts for the underwing aerial, DF loop, stirrup for access to the wing and cockpit, torque links for the main oleo and two underwing access panels. The quality of the Pre-painted parts is superb
There are Kabuki masks just for the windscreen and both styles of canopy.
The two decal sheets are printed by Eduard. One sheet carries the national marking [full swastikas included], squadron badges and codes as well as the spirals for the spinners. Also included are three different sizes of the black painted areas around the exhausts on the side of the fuselage. The other sheet contains an extensive range of stencils and wing walkways. Quality looks first rate with good colour depth and definition. Generally there is a little excess carrier film to be seen, although the fuselage numbers and swastikas have significant amounts of carrier film.
[A] IV./JG 5, Herdla, Norway, Spring 1945
[B] Maj. Walter Dahl, Stab/JG 300, Jüterbog, Germany, December 1944
[C] . Julius Händel, IV./JG 54, Poland, August/September, 1944
[D] Lt. Gustav Salffner, 7./JG 300, Lobnitz, Germany, March 1945
[E] 380352, I./JG 11, Darmstadt, Germany, Spring 1945
The 16 page A4 format instructions has full colour painting guide with four view drawings of each marking option. The stencil placement guide is a very welcome inclusion. The build instructions take you through numerous stages of the build. Eduard has noted the various differences between the aircraft the main one being the choice of canopy.
Eduard really has become the masters of accurate looking models and surface detail. Having the recent release of the Airfix Fw 190 in my stash I can testify that the Eduard version wins out on the subtlety of the surface detail. The late war markings are worth noting and seem to make the ‘Butcher Bird’ even more aggressive.