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Sturmjäger Part 1

by Mike Millette


Fw 190A-8/R8, Red 1, Wnr. 682204, 5/II/JG300 Tamiya Fw 190F-8



I don't know exactly why, but the Sturmjäger  Fw 190s seem to have some of the neatest paint schemes.   

At some point I had decided that I would have to build one or two of these aircraft, but was a bit put off by the price of a Trimaster Rammjäger  kit.   

The other option, converting the wing to the 30mm outboard cannon configuration, seemed a daunting challenge until I discovered the Cutting Edge conversion set, CEC 48078, for Tamiya’s Fw 190F-8.  Actually this conversion set allows you to modify either the Tamiya kit or any of the Trimaster family (Trimaster, DML, Dragon, Hasegawa, Revell/ Monogram) of 1/48 Fw 190s into almost any version from A-5 to A-8.  For the Sturmjäger s, this includes a resin replacement piece for each of the outer wing 30 mm gun bulges and shell ejector port.  It was just what I needed.   

The next big decision was which aircraft to model.  After flipping through Bernd Barbas' "Planes of the Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, Vol. 2"  I decided that Ernst Schroder's Red 19, "Kolle Alaaf!" and Klaus Bretschnieder's Red 1, "Rauhbautz VII" were clear favorites.  They were colorful and fairly well documented (so I thought) and there were decals available in 1/48 scale.  What a deal!  Little did I know what lay ahead.   

Due to some very obvious confusion about Red 19s paint scheme (see Part II), I started on Red 1 first.  Red 1 was the aircraft of Staffel Kapitan Klaus Bretschnider.  Bretschnider was by all accounts a fearless and aggressive fighter pilot with 31 victories, 19 of which were bombers.  The inscription on his aircraft "Rauhbautz VII" (Tough Guy VII) pretty much says it all.  This aircraft carried the MG 151/20, 20mm cannons inboard and Mk 108, 30mm “pneumatic hammers” outboard.  In an effort to offset the weight of the armor and restore some of the aircraft’s performance, the upper deck MG131, 13mm machine guns were removed. 


Basic Construction


I started with Tamiya’s excellent Fw 190F-8 kit built, for the most part, straight out of the box.  The only area where any significant modifications were made was in the bottoms of the wings using the Cutting Edge conversion set.  


Cutting Edge Conversion


The Cutting Edge set supplies several different outer wing panels as well as a revised cowling gun cover allowing you to build a variety of late A models from the A-5 to the A-8, including the Sturmjäger  version.  The replacement parts for the Sturmjäger  conversion bear a striking resemblance to the wing inserts used in the Trimaster family of 190’s but in any case they are very well cast with crisp details and no air bubbles or warpage.  In order to locate the replacement panels properly, I took them and taped them to the bottom of the wings so that all of the panel lines matched up.  I then used a pencil to draw the outline of the replacement pieces and removed the taped components.  The instructions recommend that, initially, you cut out a smaller section of wing than needed to install the replacement panel.  This is so that if you make a mistake, you err on the safe side.  Good advice.   

A pin vise was used to drill numerous holes around the inside of the area to be cut out.  The holes were then connected using an Xacto knife and a ragged chunk of wing removed.  The ragged edges were cleaned up and the tedious task of trim, test fit, trim, test fit, trim, test fit... began.  This was kind of a pain and I actually had better luck doing this on the DML kit I used to build Red 19.   

No matter what I did I could not get the replacement panels to line up flush to the bottom of the wing all the way around.  If one end was flush with the exterior surface then the other end always seemed to have one corner that was too high or too low.  I checked the parts for warpage and found none, so I can only conclude that in my effort to make the panels fit snugly, the holes were still too small.  I was reluctant to cut them much bigger not wanting the replacement parts to be so loose fitting that they just dropped out, so at some point I installed them as best I could, superglued them in place and cleaned up the “step” with 400 grit sandpaper.  Panel lines that had been lost in the process were restored using a scribing tool. 

One of the unique features of many of the Sturmjäger s is the appliqué armor.  Aeromaster has 3 sheets of decals featuring these aircraft (48-231, 232 & 233) and they all include patterns for the left and right side appliqué armor.  The original armor was 5mm thick that works out to approx. 5 thou in 1/48 scale.  I made mine out of 10 thou plastic sheet that, obviously is thicker than scale, but for some reason looks closer to what you see in photographs.  In addition, looking at photos of aircraft carrying this armor, it seems pretty clear that the edges were beveled, perhaps in an effort to improve airflow a bit. This can be replicated by running the edges of the plastic armor across a sheet of 400 grit sandpaper at a 45 angle.  One or two swipes should do it.  Eduard also makes photoetched metal armor for Sturmjäger s (48-244) but I have not tried these.   

As part of the conversion work all of the kit guns were removed, the upper deck guns permanently, as Red 1 didn’t carry cowl mounted machine guns.  The wing guns were replaced with left over gun barrels from Pro Modeler’s Me 410.  This may sound odd if you aren’t familiar with this kit, but what made them appealing is that the come pre-drilled, straight out of the kit.  Just cut to length and glue on.  The outboard 30mm guns are installed low in the wing so they protrude out the bottom of the wing slightly with an attendant “bump” or “fairing”.  This fairing was replicated using a small blob of Squadron Putty that was then drilled out and sanded to shape before the guns were installed.



Paint and Decals


I should probably have a section in this write-up entitled “Research” since an awful lot of time on these projects was dedicated to that, but, as much of it was done during the painting stage, I will include it here.  The black & white profile and photos in Bernd Barbas' "Planes of the Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, Vol. 2" were compared to the black & white photo and color profile in Sundin & Bergstrom's "Luftwaffe Fighter Aircraft in Profile" and with the Aeromaster decal instructions (sheet 48-231).  Inconsistencies in all three sources became apparent immediately.  Claes Sundin's color profile seemed to be the closest color interpretation of the available photos so that was used for the most part, the notable exceptions being the II Gruppe bar and the spinner. 

It appears from Claes Sundin's color profile that the tactical number "1", the II Gruppe bar and the RVD band are all painted in the rust red color that JG300 used for its early RVD bands.  The Aeromaster sheet and Bernd Barbas' book suggest that the number, bar, RVD band and under cowling are all painted using RLM 23 Red (this was the color used by JG1for their RVD bands).  Looking at the photographs, the II Gruppe bar is definitely a lighter shade than the RVD band that surrounds it.  It also appears that the tactical number is painted the same color as the II Gruppe bar.  From this I concluded that the number "1" and the II Gruppe bar are RLM 23 and the RVD band is painted using the rust red primer color.  The patches on the bolts holding the armored ring on to the engine cowling also look to be rust red as well and this makes sense, as this was primer paint for the most part.  In most of the paintings or profiles that I have seen of this aircraft, the under cowl is also painted red.  In the photo in Sundin & Bergstrom's book, the under cowling panel is definitely a lighter shade than either RLM 23 or the rust red primer.  Yellow seems a reasonable interpretation, although I suppose at some point it could also have been painted red.  I painted this area yellow on my kit. 

Rather oddly, the spinner also turned out to be a bone of contention.  Again, numerous paintings and the profiles, mentioned above, show the aircraft with a red spinner with a white stripe.  The photo of Red 1 in the Sundin & Bergstrom book shows what looks like a white spinner with a black stripe and back plate.  The color profile also shows it that way.  In a chat with Jerry Crandall, he insisted that the spinner had been painted red with a white spiral.  Given the paint scheme evolution of aircraft like Red 19 (Part II), it seems quite possible that this spinner could have carried either schemes at one time or another.  Fortunately the Tamiya Fw 190D-9 kit contains a left over spinner and prop for the A model.  Since I had one in my "to do" stack I had an opportunity to do both spinners. 

One detail that I missed in the course of all this research is that the Aeromaster decals for the II Gruppe bars go all the way from the aft end of the RVD band forward so that they protrude ahead of the band just a bit.  In reality the bars started ahead of the aft end of the band, meaning that the decals are about 1/16in too long.  I discovered this while trying to apply them and wondering why the bars went so far forward.  Quickly checking references made it clear what the problem was.  I cut both decals in half and applied the aft halves first.  Once they had dried I overlapped them by the above-mentioned 1/16in and they protruded just the right amount.  The walkway marking on the upper surface of the wing were the only kit decals that were used.  I won’t do that again.  The Tamiya decals are very thick and even with a clear overcoat they still don’t have the flush, painted on look of the other decals. 

The paint scheme is the standard combination of mid war grays, RLM 74 Gray Green, 75 Gray Violet and 76 White Blue.  I really like Aeromaster's enamels so they were used for all three of these projects.  They are already pre thinned for airbrushing, but were thinned additionally to a 60/40 mix with Odorless Thinner and shot through a Badger 150 with the air pressure set at about 20psi.  While this requires that more layers be applied to get the right color density, but it gives a nice soft edge to the mottling without a lot of overspray.



Finishing Touches


The Fug 16 antenna was made from invisible thread with blobs of wood glue to represent the resistors.  The FuG25 antenna was made of a short section of stretched sprue painted with Model Master Tire Black.  The gun camera port was drilled out and replaced with a dot of superglue.  I’m not thrilled with the way it turned out and will probably use Crystal Clear in the future.  I also drilled out Tamiya’s main gear retraction flags.  They are robust but not exactly to scale.  I replaced them with stretched sprue painted red. 

This model and Red 19 marked the first time I tried the "Future" floor wax as a clear coat I didn't have quite the problem with it on this model as with Red 19 but still.... it was not a stellar success.  Since that time I have discovered from reading posts on the Discussion Group that Solvated (my decal solvent of choice) will fog even dry Future.  This was not the only problem I had with this stuff but it certainly was an annoying one.  As I am generally pretty happy with Aeromaster’s clear enamel as a gloss coat, I will admit to some reluctance to use Future in the future for anything other than canopies.




See Part 3


Model, Images and Article Copyright © 1999 by Mike Millette
Page Created 15 September 1999
Last updated 26 July 2007

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