Eduard Fw 190A-8/R2 ProfiPACK Edition — 1:48 Scale
Some (including Luftwaffe pilots at the time) make the case that the Fw 190 was the best German fighter of WWII, even outdoing the Bf 109. While we can debate this point, the Fw 190A-8 was the definitive version and most numerous of the early “short-nosed” 190s. In 2017, Eduard launched a new and re-tooled family of excellent 1:48 scale Fw 190A kits. In late 2019, the Fw 190A-8/R2 ProfiPACK Edition landed on our review bench.
In 1934, the German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) issued a call for proposal for a fighter in the efforts to rearm and definitively modernize the Luftwaffe. Arado, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel, and Messerschmitt developed prototypes for a fly-off. The Messerschmitt 109 was selected in 1936 as the winning design. During the following year, the RLM defined a need for a second fighter to complement the Bf 109. Focke-Wulf designers, led by Kurt Tank, took another look at their losing Fw 159 prototype and began to develop a range of new designs, drawing on the 159’s virtues but also transcending its weaknesses. Design studies reached maturity when they included an air-cooled, 14-cylinder BMW 139 radial engine paired with innovations that achieved a low-drag cowling which also optimized engine airflow and cooling characteristics. The extensive use of electrical controls and control rods (as opposed to cables) made the Fw 190’s handling more crisp and responsive than the Bf 109. Other various aerodynamic refinements also increased the Fw 190’s wing loading.
The first Fw 190V1 Würger (or Shrike) flew on June 1, 1939. This marked the origin of one of the most prolific production runs of any WWII-era fighter, involving some 20,000 airplanes that spanned (by my count) 77 variants and sub-types. Many were powered by the twin-row BMW 801 radial engine. It was arguably the Luftwaffe’s most effective day fighter, serving in every corner of Europe and North Africa. It also excelled as a fighter-bomber, dedicated ground-attack platform, and night fighter. In the opinion of many pilots, the Fw 190 was superior to the Bf 109 in terms of its heavier armament and superior low- to mid-altitude performance.
The Fw 190A-8 entered production in February 1944 and its manufacturing run lasted until the end of the war. About 6,500 were built. A-8s were powered either by the standard BMW 801 D-2 or the 801Q powerplants. These engines had a number of small improvements including a C3-injection Erhöhte Notleistung emergency power boost system. This could push the engine’s power output to nearly 2,000 hp for a short time but at the cost of extremely high fuel consumption. Internally, more fuel was added. A-8s were also fitted with wooden propellers. The canopy was outwardly bulged and a whip antenna was fitted to the underside of the port wing. Further, the A-8/R2 was more heavily armored and armed. It swapped out the outer wing 20 mm cannon fitted to earlier short-nosed Würgers with the 30 mm MK 108 cannon.
Eduard’s ProfiPack edition of their 1:48 scale Fw 190A-8/R2 comes in their standard top-opening box. The kit comes on five blue-gray sprues holding a total of 185 parts (about 100 will be used; see below). Ten clear parts are also found on one clear sprue. There are also one fret of pre-painted photoetched metal parts containing 49 parts and one pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for the masking of the windscreen, canopy, and wheel hubs. The decal sheets provide one full set of airframe stencils and markings for five airplanes:
- Fw 190A-8/R2 W. Nr. 680747, flown by Oblt. Hans Weik, CO of 10.(Sturm)/ JG 3, Memmingen, Germany, June 1944
- Fw 190A-8/R2 Flown by Hptm. Gerhard Schröder, CO of II.(Sturm)/JG 4, Welzow, Germany, September 1944
- Fw 190A-8/R2 Flown by Lt. Karl Spenst, 8./JG 300, Germany, Löbnitz, Germany, January 1945
- Fw 190A-8/R2 Flown by Fw. Adalbert Koch, 6./JG 300, Löbnitz, Germany, Fall 1944
- Fw 190A-8/R2 W. Nr. 682989, 5./JG301, Germany, May 1945
Strengths: the new generation of Eduard Würgers has addressed all the previous critiques of their first generation 1:48 scale 190s. All of the observations and accolades that apply to their previous new-issue Fw 190s including the baseline Fw 190A-8 apply to this kit as well.
But to recap: Eduard looks like they have done a great job representing with the A-8 variant with the new fuselage and wing parts along with other A-8 specific details. Furthermore, and just like all their other new 190s, parts breakdown and overall engineering result in a kit that is quite straightforward and easy to build. Construction will not be particularly time consuming. Surface detail is outstanding as expected from Eduard, with beautifully executed and restrained recessed panel lines and elegant recessed rivet details arrayed into complex (and as best I can tell) ultra-accurate patterns including the fuel tank access hatch on the bottom of the fuselage for the A-8. I snipped out the fuselage halves and wings to dry fit them, and they appear to line up in airtight fashion. No filler is required.
The plastic cockpit parts by themselves are a bit simplified, but the 49 pre-painted photoetched metal parts for the instrument panel, side consoles, shoulder harnesses, and lap belts (among other detail parts) add an impressive level of detail (as it would seem Eduard intended from the get-go). Engine exhaust stacks are okay for 1:48 scale. While the exhausts themselves are not hollow as a resin casting can achieve (and there’s an Eduard Brassin set for that), the kit parts do feature slightly recessed faces and a good wash of a dark color can achieve the illusion of a deeper exhaust.
The landing gear, tires, and tailwheel assembly are all very nicely detailed and molded. The rudder, elevators, and ailerons are all separate parts. At least for the rudder, the mounting tab seems to force a straight-in fit and a little modification might be necessary to fit the rudder in a deflected position. The clear parts are gorgeous and possess pretty much perfect optical quality with no seams present. Likewise, the pre-painted photoetched parts are beautifully made.
There are a lot of unused parts in this kit – about 80 in all. These include an additional propeller, other MG 17 fairings, underwing dipole night fighter antennas, and alternate gear doors, rudders, and ailerons for other Fw 190 variants.
The decal sheets were printed in-house by Eduard and cover the five well-chosen and eye-catching schemes described above. I really like the colors in ALL of them! There’s also a complete set of airframe stencils. Alternate decal versions of the instrument faces are provided if working with the PE parts is not the builder’s preference. Printing appears perfect. Everything is in register, colors look great, and carrier film is finely restrained.
Also – I’ve got to mention that the box art is one of the more dynamic and engaging examples Eduard has produced lately. It depicts a very close encounter between a B-17 and W. Nr. 680747 (Markings Option A in the kit). It’s also available as a print in the EduArt product line HERE: https://www.eduard.com/eduard/posters/fw-190a-8-r2.html?cur=2.
Weaknesses: There is very little to critique here. First, the landing flaps are not molded as separate parts, but there’s an Eduard PE set for that. Second, I do believe the inboard main gear well doors should be closed in the parked position, as I understand that they cycled open and then closed when the gear was either retracted or extended. Third, the cockpit and gear wells are just a bit simplified. I can confirm this particularly as I had my head up into the cockpits and gear wells of a pair of 190s recently at the Military Aircraft Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Again, there are plenty of photoetched and Brassin sets to take care of any “minimized” detail there, and almost anyone can add the appropriate wiring/plumbing in the wells with very little effort. At the end of the day, these three points do not represent substantive critiques but are things to think about as you plan your build.
Once again, Eduard nails it with another great 1:48 scale kit of their Fw 190A-8/R2. For those interested in adding even more detail to their second-generation Eduard Würger, Eduard has also issued cockpit, engine, machine gun, landing flaps, and cannon bay detail sets, among other products. Enjoy this one!
Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany
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