by: Sean Langley [ ]
The kit depicts the Fw 190A-8, one of the last of the radial-engined versions, armed with four 20mm cannon and two heavy machine guns. Despite the official title, it offers two from JGr.10 (in summer 1944), and one from 8./JG 300 (in 1945. Had they got up to 8./JG 300 by then? Blimey). All three aircraft have striking snake markings over standard late-war Luftwaffe camouflage. Neither is related to the famous snake on that Ju 87B from StG 2.
This is a limited reissue of the Fw 190A-8 from a few years back, which itself was derived from the new Fw 190D-9 kit. Since then there have also been A-5 and A-6 variants, and others will doubtless follow. As a result, this is a typical Hasegawa kit. To allow the greatest possible range of variants, it’s very modular; so you get a wealth of sprues, some still joined together haphazardly. They go up to Sprue X but you only get 13, so you can imagine the other options there must be. All carry finely-detailed and well-moulded grey parts. You’ll use 91 of them (97 if you throw in the pilot, who’s well moulded and is the only way to include seat belts) and you’ll find a number of useful things for the spares box, including some exhaust pipes, a tailwheel, and a centreline tank. There’s no additional media, only the plastic. Particular highlights include:
• a one-piece cockpit (including the rear deck) with additional side panels and the usual instrument panel (you have the choice of decals or paint for the instruments and switches), plus rudder pedals and a control column (phew!)
• separate propeller blades, with locating pins that should make getting the pitch and spacing easy
• a one-piece engine plus valve gear, a two-piece gearbox, and a cooling fan. This may seem a little pedestrian compared with some kits, including some of Hasegawa’s own. But the engine itself is very tidy considering (it even includes the collars around the cylinders), and it will be largely hidden by the fan and the close cowling
• exhaust pipes in three groups – they have solid ends and will benefit from drilling out if you don’t want to buy replacements (such as Quickboost’s)
• a four-part cowling with one-piece front ring, plus very neat parts connecting it to the rest of the airframe (the upper deck and the belly panel that carries the tank)
• a nine-part centreline tank-plus-pylon
• insert panels in the lower wings for this particular variant’s cannon bulges (plus a couple of spares with different cartridge ejector ports)
• open flaps with interior structure – although if you want them raised, be prepared for a fair bit of work taking off the locating pins, which are vast. They protrude from the sprue and one of mine was all but broken off
• a choice of very thin, clear canopies, as one of the kit’s options is the later bulged canopy (although both canopies are effectively designed to be closed – neither has the slight pinch that the real thing exhibited when it was slid open). Other clear parts provide the gunsight and the wingtip lights, which you can tint. And they’re bagged separately. This should be standard!
Surface detail is engraved except where it should be raised and is, as you’d expect, generally excellent. There are, however, quite a few seam lines that you’ll need to watch for, and a little bit of flash in places. The one point where it could do with more parts is the cockpit, whose side panels have almost all the sticky-out bits – trim wheels and so on – integrally but rather weakly moulded. With the pilot in the way you might not see very much, but an open cockpit in this scale could do with more.
Construction is entirely conventional, starting with the cockpit and ending with the pitot tube. The instructions are also typical Hasegawa: apparently random on the page, but logical, clear, and surprisingly full of information. As usual there’s a smattering of half-drilled holes that you’ll want to open up for the optional parts – boarding step, ventral tank – plus some that you must open for this kit’s variants. There are partial holes in the leading edges for the outboard cannons. Although the instructions recommend opening them before mating the wing halves, you may be able to get away with doing it afterwards. Either way you’ll want to do it carefully, because the cannon has a tear-drop fairing where it meets the wing, which needs precise shaping.
The maingear well is a lovely one-piece moulding (you add odd bits like the inboard cannon barrels) and the belly panel fits over it so that the open structure is depicted. The well comes integral with a spar that helps to set the wing dihedral, which should be handy because that separate panel is likely to take some stiffness out of what would otherwise be a full-span and full-chord lower wing.
The Fw 190’s undercarriage is simple but is notorious for needing to sit “just so” to get the angle right. The maingear attachment points are integral with the wing, not the well (so watch the joint line). The legs themselves have square locating pins that should set the angle, assuming of course that the leg itself is at the right angle. However, the pins are a little larger than the holes, so you’ll need to do some trimming, and be careful to avoid shifting them slightly out of true. The wheels are in two parts, with a keyed locating pin, and have smooth tread and reasonable, if slightly soft, detail. There are no “undercarriage down” indicators. The tailwheel comes in left and right halves, so the wheel is integral with the fork – again, slightly disappointing for the scale.
All three kit variants are in a standard scheme of RLM 74 and 75 top surfaces, RLM 76 undersides, and mottled sides and tail fin. The JGr.10 options add a yellow chin panel. The decals are well printed and in-register, and look to be quite thin, which is becoming normal for Hasegawa. One thing I’ve not seen before is that they’re very matt. In my sample the decal sheet was pitted in places as though someone had been trying to start a ball-point pen on it – not sure where this came from, but it hasn’t broken them so they’ll probably go on OK with the right softeners.
You get full squadron markings in a choice of JGr.10 (red and yellow snakes) or JG 300 (mostly red snakes), plus a spinner spiral and, for the JG 300 option, a blue and white Defence of the Reich tail band. The JGr.10 options have different tactical codes and only one has a serial number, so they must be different airframes – accordingly, I’m not sure whether the use of the same snake for the two is precisely correct. Also provided are two sizes of swastika for the tail, conveniently off to the edge of the sheet where they can be lopped off if market conditions dictate. All the white is, as usual, ivory. Full stencils are provided, including a couple for the tank that say “Not a bomb!” (bless) and all are spelled correctly so far as I can see. Trumpeter please take note, it’s not that hard.
Normally you expect Hasegawa stuff to fit perfectly, but it’s always worth testing a few odd bits. Here the modular approach, which always carries a risk, has produced a problem: some of the joints aren’t all that precise. For instance, the underwing inserts will need trimming. Unfortunately, it’s not the edges – the panels are too deep for the reveals and need thinning. But it should be relatively minor work for the experienced modeller.
In the UK the JGr.10 boxing comes in at £36.99, which is at the upper end of a seemingly random price range for Fw 190s, and slightly below the prices of the more recent Ki-44, Ki-61 and Ki-84. Also a long way below what Tamiya currently want for a new 1/32 single-engined fighter, and that’s before we take a deep breath and contemplate the price of their new Spitfire.
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