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Jumping into the 1945 GB with my most "liked" fighter aircraft, the Fw 190D series and I have not built one since the early 1990's and those were the Trimaster kits in 48th scale. So, I have decided I need to build one for the collection in 32nd scale and why not go for the "Hot Rod" of the D's, which would be the D-13. I am utilizing the Hasegawa 1/32 D-9 and picked up the resin D-13 conversion set from Grey Matter Figures, which includes a resin replacement fuselage with the changes incorporated for the D-13. As Yellow 10 still survives today plenty of reference on the aircraft is available and it wore a wickedly cool camouflage scheme so that is the A/C I am going with. Also, using the Aires cockpit and wheel set, and I am really excited to try out the HGW Positive Rivet set as I have seen some remarkable results done with these.
1:32 Focke-Wulf Fw 190D upgrades EagleParts Catalogue # see article for code and price Available from Eagle Editions You will perhaps note that most of these sets aren’t exactly what you could call new releases. In fact, these sets range from being 11 to 12 years old. So, why look at them again, you may ask? Firstly, this is for two reasons. Judy Crandall kindly sent them over to me for a future magazine project where I will do a full detail build of the Hasegawa kit, and more importantly, these are still probably the very best resin sets available for the 1:32 Hasegawa ‘Dora’ kit. As we stand at the moment, that particular kit is still the only mainstream Dora in 1:32. Another reason to look at these sets now is that they are now joined by another release; namely a brand new set of Fw 190D-9 propeller blades! Whilst we are all flooded out with choice for the Me/Bf 109, there is simply a real lack of new Fw 190 releases for large scale. Of course, Revell has slightly readdressed this recently with a new-tool F-8, and of course, ZM are promising a range of Würger too. The four sets I’ve received are: EP#40-32, Fw 190D series cockpit, $34.50 EP#42-32, Fw 190D ‘3-piece’ gun cowling, $11.50 EP#43-32, Fw 190D radiator cowling, $9.50 EP#64-32, Fw 190D-9 propeller blades, $14.50 Fw 190D series cockpit Yes, there were differences between the cockpits of the main variants of the Fw 190, and this set is only suited for use in the Dora. This release is packaged into a quite large blister packet which contains not just the resin, but a fret of photo-etch parts too. Two instruction sheets are folded and placed within too. If I have any reservations about the packaging, it’s that the resin parts are loose within, and possibly prone to damage amongst themselves or in contact with the PE fret which is in a small zip-lock and not protected with card. The package itself is sealed with a product label which requires cutting or tearing away. This set comprises of TWENTY-EIGHT pale grey resin parts, cast both separately and in combination with a small number of casting blocks. The largest part is the cockpit tub, which extends from the forward bulkhead, backwards to the rear of the radio bay to the rear of the pilot. There is no block as such to remove here, but you might need to thin the floor a little. Detail on this part is exceptional, with some great detail on those busy-looking consoles, and with a map case and map moulded onto the starboard console side. This blows away any injection moulded Fw 190 pit I’ve seen, including the new tool F-8 from Revell. Rails exist to the rear of these, and the seat will slot into place just in front of the shoulder armour. The floor contains control linkage and box, foot plate, secondary instrument panel and a good deal of wiring and plumbing. A cockpit-builder’s dream. Both sidewalls are separately cast. One of mine had a warp in it, but a few seconds in hot water, and this was fixed. Again, detail comprises of stringers, rails, fuel and electrical port rear areas, wiring looms, and of course, the interior of the radio access door. When it comes to the seat itself, Eagle have given a couple of options here. You can choose to either use the part with the cast seatbelts in situ, or a bare seat onto which you can add your own belts. A set of PE buckles and clasps are supplied, but not the actual belts themselves. Made up with a textile set from HGW, this would look amazing, but don’t underestimate the look at the seat with cast belts. This looks great, and I may even decide to use that part instead of attaching separate belts. Options are also given for you to choose to install either early or late versions of the foot pedals, which are supplied as PE parts. You can also choose to model the pit with or without the chronometer. The pilot would usually remove this when he exits the cockpit, but the option is there, or you could use as part of a dio, with the pilot holding it. As the Dora can be built as a JABO machine, a separate bomb control panel is also supplied. Even the control stick ‘boot’ gets the options treatment with both a standard part and an animated one, allowing you to display the control stick cocked over to one side. I think that covers all bases!! To fit this cockpit, the biggest job will be to thin the kit cockpit sides, removing the moulded detail. The instructions DO state that this isn’t a drop-fit, so please be aware of that. A certain degree of plastic butchery will be required, and a little patience. Having already fitted one of these, I can tell you that patience pays dividends. Part of that butchery will involve removing the instrument panel coaming. A corrected resin part is supplied, with detail moulded both on the inside as well as the outside. Whilst a much improved instrument panel is supplied in this set, Eagle suggest you use the kit decals to detail it. I suggest you don’t, as they are pretty crap. Instead, consider the superb sets that Airscale sell, including cockpit placards. That will really help to make this a masterpiece. Even the PE parts provide further options for you here. To the rear of the pilot is the battery and radio compartment, and above this sits a photo-etch turtle deck. Parts are supplied to either complete this with a standard lid for this area, or with a vented lid. You’re spoilt for choice. All resin here is beautifully cast, with no visible flaw anywhere that I can see. Fragile parts are protected by walls on their casting block, and those blocks will be easy to remove in every case. The PE fret contains around 40 extra parts, such as rudder trim wheel, foot pedal options, turtledeck, battery compartment lid options, seatbelt buckles, and also the two undercarriage indicator sticks which fasten to the wing! PE production is also very good, and should present no problems, as long as it doesn’t get banged in transit. Pictorial instructions are supplied, with plenty of text to guide you. Read this carefully. I know it will pay off, having once used this set on a previous project. All parts have labelling too, for easy identification. Fw 190D ‘3-piece’ gun cowling An area that few companies manage to portray properly on the Dora, is the forward gun cowling. Hasegawa also failed to get this correct. Thankfully, we have folks out there who can indeed do this, and these replacement parts are available through Eagle Editions. Eagle actually sell both the three and five piece gun cowls, but my project called for the three-piece part. Hasegawa’s attempt leaves the cowl looking a little odd with pronounced gun bulges creating a sort of plastic ‘cleavage’. The three-part cowl, moulded as one piece, was the type fitted to the later Fw 190D machines, so you will need to check your references to see whether you will need the three or five part item. Jerry Crandall’s Fw 190D volumes are an excellent reference. The number of parts actually refers to those used on the fore, gun cowl, and not the forward trough section. The replacement part is quite literally a single piece of light grey resin which simply needs removing from its casting block, with no further modifications required. Removal will be easy as it’s connected to its block via a thin resin wall that is connected to the canopy side of the part. A few small resin ribs will need to be shaved away too. As even this cowling could vary due to the numbers of small bulges on them, all are cast here, and you just need to nip and sand away those that don’t pertain to your own machine. Fw 190D radiator cowling Again, this is another ‘drop-in’ part that directly replaces the incorrect kit component. The problem with the Hasegawa part is that the front section of the cowl opening doesn’t properly depict the aerodynamic profile of the real thing, and it simply moulded as a rounded edge. Eagle’s part addresses this and corrects it. The side profile of the Hasegawa part is also too rounded, giving a slightly incorrect character to the final appearance. Another aspect of the Dora cowl that Eagle have included, are the plates on the cowl sides, which are used to join the cowl ring together on the real aircraft. These had a common interlocked hole, by which insertion of a pin was the means by which the cowl halves were secured to each other. The kit part omits this detail entirely. This replacement part is connected to its casting block by a very narrow wall of resin, and you’ll need to be extra careful when removing it. Fw 190D-9 propeller blades A very simple upgrade, designed to fit the Hasegawa D-9 (is there any other?). This addresses the inaccurate paddle-blade prop parts in this kit, with a newly sculpted option that more accurately captures the appearance of the real thing. In fact, the basis for this correction set is an original 190D-9 prop which is in a private collection. These are packed into another blister packet, and each blade is cast in light grey resin, on its own casting block. Casting is excellent with no flaw, and these will look real good in conjunction with the replacement cowl parts. Conclusion Even after a decade, these upgrade parts for the Fw 190D simply cannot be beaten. Their casting is as sharp as I remember them when I used my first set about 8 years ago, and the detail is just amazing. I love the cockpit work on a project, and this simply cries out for some special care and attention. Even if you don’t bother too much about the cockpit, I really do recommend the gun cowl, prop blades and radiator ring. These help to transform the front end of the Dora. Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to Eagle Editions for the samples you see before you. To purchase directly, click the links in the article. James H