by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
North Star Models have released their most comprehensive upgrade set yet with a complete replacement cockpit for the popular Great Wall Hobby Fw 189A.
The set combines both highly detailed resin and photo-etched brass parts, and takes a rather unique approach - rather than simply add details to the GWH parts, North Star provide an entire replacement fuselage nacelle and an interior with a plethora of extra details to be used in conjunction with a few of the original styrene components.
Packed in a neat top-opening box, the set comprises:
23 x grey resin parts
104 x etched brass parts
1 x clear printed film
The casting is very good in the sample set, with no bubbles to worry about, and minimal clean-up required before assembly can commence.
By producing a complete nacelle, North Star neatly overcome the irritating joins in the original kit's sidewalls, but the upgrade also goes further as it adds a lot of missing details to either side of the cabin and inside the roof. The floor adds some subtle rivet detail around the pilot's seat, but the most obvious changes are the addition of the main spar that GWH missed out, and a new padded mattress for the rear gunner. The latter might not be to everyone's taste - true, it matches the general style shown drawing in the spares manual for the full-sized aircraft, but perhaps it's a little too "comfortable"? Still, I see no reason why you couldn't use the kit floor if you prefer.
The rest of the resin parts include a new camera, flares, gun mounting ring, spent ammunition chutes, rudder/brake pedal mechanisms, gas mask containers, control column, and an instrument panel that includes the rear of the instruments where they can be seen through the canopy.
In fact the new instrument is designed to be used in two ways. As moulded, it includes the right-hand instruments angled towards the pilot (a point easily missed) ready for individual brass bezels, but you can also shave off all the front detail and use it as a base for a one-piece etched panel with a film layer for the instrument faces.
Continuing with the brass parts, the biggest parts are ammunition canisters, with replacements for the ones mounted behind the spar that fed the guns in the wing roots, and more importantly, completely new containers for the MG 81Z ammunition that GWH forgot to include (providing inappropriate MG 17 drum containers instead). Also included are ammo belts and a gunsight for the pilot.
New rudder pedals attach to delicate etched mounts, and the resin camera receives brass fascias before slotting into an etched frame. There are seat harnesses for the pilot, plus a sling-type back-rest for the bomb-aimer who also finally gets something to do in the shape of a bomb-sight. The pilot's side console is detailed with throttle levers and fascias and instruments for the sidewall boxes.
Instructions The set comes with an 8-page instruction booklet, printed in colour and containing 23 numbered stages followed by colour photos of the completed nacelle interior. The diagrams are neatly drawn and the photos are a real help in showing the finished assemblies. It's worth studying carefully, because some of the sub-assemblies are quite complex, and the final assembly is something of a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
ConclusionNorth Star's Fw 189 interior set takes quite a radical approach in including an entire new nacelle, and is very well produced. I think it's safe to say this is in no way a beginners' upgrade set, but the end result as shown in the enclosed photos is quite superb. Recommended for experienced modellers.
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