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Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3

by Larry Cherniak

 

Focke Wulf Fw190A-3
III./JG2 "Richtofen"

 


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 is available online from Squadron

 

Introduction

 

Ever have one of those projects where everything goes RIGHT?

In some ways it is easier to write about correcting bad kits, or detailing out a reasonable one: everyone likes a story, and you have more of a chance to reveal the "drama" of a model building project when there is something to tell.

With the Tamiya Fw190A-3 kit built out-of-box, there is not a whole lot to tell. Dull reading perhaps, but also the single "biggest bang" for the time spent of anything I've built. Building this kit is truly like eating candy: you get big rewards real fast, and risk spoiling your appetite for more nutritious fare (i.e. anything you have to work for).

 

 

Painting and Weathering

 

The beauty of a kit you don't have to struggle with is that you can quickly proceed to the fun stuff (for me at least) - painting and weathering. Interesting camo schemes and markings for 'A-3's are somewhat limited compared to later marks: they basically served with only JG2 and JG26 on the French coast in early '42 in standard RLM 74/75/76 camo (although I found one green JG54 bird and a few even survived the war in training units, picking up interesting paint on the way). It would be a simple matter of putting on a new antenna mast and cooling gills and building any of a hundred 'A-4's, but limiting myself to "contest-grade OOB" meant sticking to the 'A-3. In the end I decided on a typical JG2 machine, with decals mostly from the kit with a few from Aeromaster.

I preshaded the kit with dark gray after priming with Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1000. As you can see in the photos, I added "information" to the project by putting lines not only along molded detail but also along pencilled-in rivet lines.

Camouflage was sprayed on freehand using straight ModelMaster enamels (Judging the results, I think I will add a little black-green to the RLM74 next time to get the proper contrast between the grays). This was tricky, as I had to keep them a bit translucent over the preshading. You might just be able to make out in the upper wing photo how I added stringers at this point (simul-shading?). I was careful to leave the effect a bit heavy-handed at this stage, and sure enough later varnishing, decals, and weathering dropped the effect down to "just right".

 

 

A Future glosscoat, decals (the exhaust panel was painted gloss black and the decal trimmed around it just after application), and ModelMaster Acryl flatcoat followed. I then weathered with earthtone oil washes in the panel lines (primarily raw umber plus ultramarine blue), silver Prismacolor pencil scratches, a few silver plus raw umber plus flat white paint chips, and some pastels. Exhaust staining was airbrushed flat varnish plus a drop of light tan, followed by pastels.

By the way, the pitot tube which should be on the starboard wing was included in the kit but broke off before the pictures were taken. Photos are 100 speed 35mm, Fuji film, taken with a Canon Rebel EOS 35-85mm zoom camera, mostly on the wider angle settings for increased perspective effect, taken outdoors at f16-22. I had them processed to CD, then cropped, retouched, and color corrected them in PaintShopPro.

 

 

Conclusion

 

If this kit is not perfect, it is as close (within the limitations of the medium and current style) as any I have built. Sure, they should have opened the landing gear inner doors and maybe the sit of the gear is not quite right.

 

 

But I won't pick nits- this kit was a true pleasure to build and is very accurate in outline and detail. From the purchasing of the kit to putting it on the shelf was a 10-day sprint and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

 

Additional Images

 

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Model, Text and Images Copyright 2001 by Larry Cherniak
Page Created 16 July, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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