Great Wall Hobby (GWH) caused a minor sensation late last year with their entry into the mainstream 1:48 aircraft kit market by releasing as their first effort a subject that had long been high on modellers' wish-lists – the Focke-Wulf Fw 189. Overall, the kit is really excellent (see HERE
for the review), but GWH dropped the ball slightly when it came to the interior; apart from a number of missing items, the most obvious error is that the original release represents the Fw 189A-2, which was armed with defensive MG 81Zs which were belt-fed from large ammunition containers. GWH somehow missed this and instead retained the ammo drums for the MG 15-armed 'A-1 (ironically, a version which they are yet to release at the time of writing).
Many of us who tackled the kit at the time of its release resorted to scratchbuilding a more appropriate fit-out, but now Eduard have made life much easier with a comprehensive upgrade set that not only corrects the problems with the GWH kit, but takes the "office" as a whole to an entirely new level of detail.
Set #49565 arrives spread over two etched frets. The first is largely pre-coloured and partly self-adhesive (also available separately as Zoom FE565) and contains 71 parts. The second fret is plain metal and offers a further 83 parts.
As usual, Eduard's pre-colouring is simply superb, with intricate details that would defeat most of us if we tried to paint them. Working through the instructions roughly in order, the set upgrades the following areas:
- The camera – with new fascias, panels and controls
- The roll-over bar – partly replaced by folded metal parts
- The crew's harnesses – each pre-coloured and multi-part
- The forward floor area – with new rudder/brake pedals and their mountings, a bomb-sight and additions to the control column
- The guns – with new perforated barrels, ammunition belts and, of course, the all-important ammunition containers. Also included at this stage is the prominent wing spar missed in the kit.
- The cockpit sidewalls, with various consoles and equipment panels
- The pilot's side console and main instrument panel, along with its ring and bead sight
- The canopy sections, with sun blinds, grab handles, hinges and stays.
The instructions are clearly illustrated. As supplied, they are monochrome, but a colour-shaded version can be downloaded from Eduard's website. In terms of complexity, this is probably a "middling" set; i.e. beginners should beware, but anyone familiar with working with photo-etched parts should be fine (especially with the cut-down Zoom edition). There are a number of quite tiny parts, and using the set involves folding quite a few boxes to shape, along with rolling the perforated machine-gun barrels and forming the ammunition belts.
The completed "office" should look great. The new items fill in some obvious blanks in the kit, and where Eduard offer straight replacements for the GWH parts they are a lot more delicate. According to some sources the aircraft was equipped with gas masks in cylindrical holders, and Eduard don't provide these (they're probably not suitable to roll and fold convincingly in this scale anyway), so it's still tempting to fashion these from sprue or styrene rod.
Eduard's Fw 198A-2 interior adds a lot of missing detail, and corrects the ammunition equipment. With all that glazing, and the option for open cockpit access panels, the work you put in will be fully visible, and I'd rate Eduard's set as something of a "must" to enhance the GWH kit's already excellent cockpit. Highly recommended.
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