by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HistoryThe Fw 190 D (nicknamed the Dora-9 Dora-Neun or Long-Nose Dora Langnasen-Dora) was introduced for the major reason of the Luftwaffe needing a high altitude performance FW 190. While earlier versions of the Fw 190 were very effective at low and medium altitudes, they lacked performance at the altitudes the American heavy bombers and fighters operated. The Fw 190 B and C airframe series were developed to tackle the high altitude performance, and all attempts to do so had failed for various reasons, including and not limited to high performance superchargers and turbo systems, reliable cockpit pressurization systems, poor material availability and the war demand itself.
The Fw 190 D began development in 1942 when Kurt Tank saw a need for the move to a in-line engine solution. Tank knew the move to an in-line engine could help the Fw 190 in its altitude performance.In October of 1942 the first mock up Fw 190 D was built with a Jumo 213 A engine installed in the nose. The first Dora to make it into volume production was the unpressurized D-9 model. With excellent handling and performance characteristics, it became very clear that the Dora-9 was nearly the perfect response to the Luftwaffe's need for a high-altitude, high-speed interceptor.
The KitThe kit comes packed in the standard lidded box we are all used to. Upon opening the box you will find that Hobby Boss do things differently. You will see a plastic tray with all the parts sitting in individual recesses with a couple of lips to hold them securely in place. Very securely in fact as I dropped the box from a height of 4ft onto a hard floor and not one piece came out of its holding recess. Lying on top of the parts are the instruction booklet and decals.
The kit contains 26 light grey and 2 clear plastic injection parts. All the parts are free from flash and sink marks are in places that aren't seen. The main parts such as the fuselage and wings are pre-built so seam filling is kept to a minimum. The downside of this is the cockpit is already moulded in to the fuselage so adding or even trying to highlight interior detail will be difficult to achieve. The seat seems to sit to low in the cockpit and it seems the instrument panel (which has no detail) would obstruct the view of the pilot (it was not really better on the real aircraft! note from the editor). The exterior detail throughout the kit is exceptional on such a small scale, with the wheel wells and wheel doors beautifully done. The engine and cowling are moulded as one piece and the doughnut shaped radiator is nicely reproduced. The panel and rivets are all recessed and very finely done with only the raised ribbing on the control surfaces looking a fractionally overdone.
The clear parts are reasonably thin but do show a slight distortion on the curved parts of the canopy. The canopy is in two pieces and could probably be modelled in the open position, but it doesn't give you that option in the instructions.
the instructionsThe instructions are printed on glossy A3 size paper, folded in half to form a booklet. The front page tells you what the different build symbols mean and how to use the decals. pages 2 and 3 is the build sequence from step 1 to step 4. The back page gives you a colour profile drawings of the decal and painting guide.
painting and decalsThere are two choices of markings in the kit. JV44, Germany 1945, with the distinctive red underside with white stripes. Upper surfaces of RLM 83, RLM 75 with the fuselage sides RLM 66. The second option is IV/JG3 1945, with basically the same colour scheme as the other version but with RLM 66 replacing the red and white underside. Personally I think Hobby Boss have made a mistake as the RLM numbers 66 and 75 should be the other way around as RLM 66 is a very dark grey and should be on the top of the fuselage. Best to check references to confirm the correct RLM numbers for both aircraft.
The decals look in register with little carrier film around the edges but the black portions look a little blotchy, as if the decal film hasn't been properly applied. How they go on I won't know until I try them. The swastikas are in two parts so careful alignment will be needed.
ConclusionI believe Hobby Boss are onto a winner with these 1/72 aircraft kits, as they are cheap and easy to build. I am hoping they have the same impact on the modelling world as Airfix did 40 years ago with their Series 1 and 2 kits. Hopefully they will bring a new generation of builders into the hobby with quick and easy kits, for the generation of kids who want instant gratification.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale.