by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Eduard's series of upgrades for the popular Great Wall Hobby Fw 189 really gets into gear with the release of no less than three exterior detailing sets aimed at all versions of the "Uhu".
48710 - Fw 189 Landing Flaps - $22.45Of course, the GWH kit already includes separate flaps. but Eduard have produced a full set of etched replacements for both the flaps themselves and their bays. These feature the kind of delicate ribs and structure that only this medium can reproduce, making the plastic originals look very basic by comparison.
A single fret contains 42 parts, and the construction follows Eduard's now well established style, with the ribs ready-attached to the flaps and bays, needing only to be folded into position before inserting a length of plastic rod (not supplied) and a few smaller cross-ribs.
Based on experience, Eduard's etched flaps offer a dramatic improvement over their styrene counterparts. First appearances can make using them rather daunting, but in fact it is surprisingly straightforward so long as you work carefully and ensure the folds are accurate. The most crucial aspect isn't to do with constructing the flaps per se, but thinning the inside surface(s) of the kits wings sufficiently to accept the bays, as you often do need to work down to as thin as you can dare.
48712 - Fw 189 Exterior - $22.45This set arrives on two frets, comprising a total of 156 parts and covers the nacelle, engines, undercarriage and wheel-wells.
The first modification is probably the simplest, replacing the kit's solid-moulded grab handles with delicate metal versions. This minor change makes an immediate and dramatic improvement to the look of the crew nacelle.
Attention then turns to the engines. There are liners for the engine bearers, oil coolers to fold to shape, liners for the air intakes, and new cowling access panels built up in layers complete with stay rods. The cowls are a bit trickier than they might appear at first sight, because they will need annealing and dishing slightly to match the compound contours of the originals.
One irritating point if you want to show off the GWH kit's wheel wells is the awkward ejector pin marks to fill between the moulded ribs and stringers. Eduard solve this with a set of blanking plates with embossed rivets to line the whole of the inside surface, cover the unrealistic gaps inside the wing roots, and form a roof to each well. It's a very neat idea and they should look pretty effective - it rather makes me wish Eduard had included a similar set to line the walls of the cockpit and hide the prominent seams caused by the wing-root inserts. Completing the wells are a pair of boxes to fold to shape, some wiring/pipework and brackets that look designed to hold cylinders (not included) - perhaps hydraulic reservoirs?
A new fork should improve the tailwheel after a careful bit of surgery to remove the solid-moulded original, and there is structural detail to add to the tailwheel door, along with an actuating arm. Finally, the bomb-racks come in for some extra details to complete a useful set.
48714 Fw 189 Surface Access - $14.95The final set is a new idea to me - self adhesive access panels. The single fret contains 91 items, and the various fuel covers, inspection plates and servicing panels make for an interesting comparison with the GWH originals.In general terms, the etched versions are much finer and crisper in appearance, with raised catches (as against embossed in the kit parts). The set also contains a new cover for the landing lamp, but you will still need to do something to represent the lamp itself which GWH missed.
Being self-adhesive, the idea is that you simply trim and sand smooth any moulded hinges on the kit parts and apply the new parts direct to the surface of the model. That's all well and good, but it does mean that the panels will sit slightly proud, whereas those on the full-sized aircraft appear to be flush fitted. So, ideally, you will want to recess the etched parts slightly - a fiddly job probably best left for the experts.
The wing-root access panels overcome the ugly seams running through the kits parts, but getting the metal parts to conform to the roots could be "fun" (admittedly, this is without trying them out)... The full-sized parts were probably formed on a press, with multiple compound curves, so they could be quite a challenge in miniature. If you anneal them to make it easier to shape them, it will obviously kill the self-adhesion.
The set contains replacement non-slip strips for the upper surface of the wings. You'd certainly need a couple if you fit the new access panels, and I guess the thinking is that it's better to replace the whole lot for a consistent look. (I hadn't noticed until comparing the Eduard items that GWH actually goofed and ran two of their moulded strips right across an access panel line for the gun covers.)
I can imagine the Surface Access set will really come into its own if you are building a diorama and want to depict an aircraft being serviced or lying derelict. Opening up the various covers will really add a touch of interest - but, of course, you will need to thin the inside of the kit parts down for a scale appearance and model the interior framework and fittings behind the openings for the best effect.
InstructionsEach set is accompanied by a nicely illustrated set of instructions printed in black and white. Colour versions are available on Eduard's website which are even clearer, but to be honest the monochrome shading in the printed versions makes it quite easy to distinguish between original kit items and the upgrades, and see where parts must be modified etc.
ConclusionEduard have provided a comprehensive range of exterior upgrades for the GWH kits. In terms of complexity, I'd say the landing flaps which ironically may appear daunting to newcomers working with etched upgrades should actually be quite straightforward to tackle, while some of the items in the other sets could prove more tricky than might be apparent at first glance. But, if you have the experience to to get the best out of everything, Eduard's sets will result in a beautifully detailed "Uhu".
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.