Production of the Fw 190 A-6 began in June 1943 and marked a turning point in the '190's development - this being the first version devised from the outset as a heavy-fighter. For some time it had been apparent that the MG FF cannon fitted in the outer-wing positions on earlier variants was becoming increasingly unsuitable for modern combat (in fact, they were often regarded as useless extra weight and removed at unit level), so now they were replaced by an additional pair of the much more potent MG 151 (the same as carried in the wing-roots). The fuselage-mounted MG 17s were retained, despite being largely ineffectual against armoured aircraft, for sighting the powerful battery of cannons.
The change in armament was accompanied by a strengthened wing structure and minor equipment changes but, otherwise, the 'A-6 was largely similar to its immediate predecessor - the A-5. Production was split between Arado, Fieseler and Ago and records indicate that 569 A-6s were produced.
Eduard's latest addition to it's range of 1/48 scale Fw 190s arrives in a sturdy conventional box. As we've come to expect from Eduard, the presentation is second-to-none - the sprues are bagged in groups with the clear parts packed separately, there's a set of pre-painted photo-etched parts, a sheet of painting masks, two sheets of decals and instructions printed in colour as a 16-page A-4 booklet.
The bulk of the kit is moulded in Eduard's distinctive olive green styrene on 8 x sprues containing 139 parts (plus a number of unused pieces destined for the spares box). A clear sprue contains separate sliding sections for the canopy to be displayed open or closed (the full-sized canopy was hinged at the top to allow it follow the shape fuselage as it was opened and closed). The moulding is excellent throughout, with finely scribed panel lines and faint embossed rivets on the surface of the airframe. Many people wince at the idea of rivets, but Eduard's depiction of them is probably the most subtle yet in thsi scale.
It's getting on for a year since the 'A-8 first appeared, so Eduard's Fw 190 is still, to all intents and purposes, new (in terms of the life-cycle of a mass-produced injected kit). So, as you'd hope, the moulding is very crisp and the only part where I've noticed a little flash is around the radiator fan.
As in my first look at the Fw 190 A-8 test-shot
last year, the only slight sinkage is on the reverse of some of the thicker parts - moulding lugs for the engine etc. - and none will be visible when the parts are assembled.
As you'd expect when comparing the kit with the earlier releases, there are no great surprises, since many of the sprues are shared. However, at first glance, the kit appears to have been packed with an extra set of wings - in fact Eduard have provided 2 complete lower sections to allow the kit to be modelled with or without inner landing gear doors. (These were removed when a centre-line rack was fitted to the aircraft and the A-6 was the last of the A-series to carry them.)
Since the kit is similar to the earlier releases in the series, I won't describe it in detail here. Click on the following links for Jean-Luc Formery's full review of the Fw 190A-5
Eduard's Fw 190A is widely regarded as the most detailed and accurate 1/48 scale kit of the aircraft, with a cockpit supplied with a choice of moulded or etched details, a well-detailed engine and fuselage guns area, wing-root cannon bays that can be displayed open and a main-wheel well featuring a rear spar, ribs and other details. This does, inevitably, all add up to a kit that is rather more complex to build than many comparable fighters in this scale. There are no major problems - but by the same token, this certainly isn't a model that will "build itself if you rattle the box" - and it's not a kit for beginners.
The assembly instructions do a good job making sense of this detailed kit. They are very clearly illustrated on 10 sides and are colour-coded to show areas to be glued or modified. Some of the sections are a little complex as they cover the alternative moulded/etched styles of building and multiple configurations for the colour schemes, but modellers with a little experience should have few problems.
Eduard have contacted me to warn that the first batch of kits (including the review sample) was shipped minus a supplementary sheet of instructions for applying the painting masks and stencil decals. For anyone who has one of these early kits. Eduard have provided a .pdf file of the missing pages which can be downloaded HERE
. The oversight has been corrected for all subsequent releases of the kit.
Painting & Decals
Along with a very comprehensive set of stencils, the kit contains decals for 5 colour schemes:
A. "White 11", flown by Oblt Georg Schott, 1./JG 1, Deelen, The Netherlands, summer 1943.
B. "Black 7", flown by HansDortenmann, 2./JG 54, Eastern Front, February 1944.
C. "Black <<", flown by Anton Hackl, III./JG 11, Oldenburg, Germany, March 1944.
D. "Black <--", flown by Josef "Pips" Priller, JG 26, Lille-Vandeville, France, 1943.
E. "Black 13" - the same a/c as Scheme D., but with revised markings.
The decals in the review kit are beautifully printed - thin and glossy, with excellent register and crystal clear carrier film. The chequers for the cowling of Scheme A are divided into 6 items to be applied over a white base-coat. The breakdown looks practical, but there are some complex curves to negotiate, so be prepared to use decal softener to get everything settled and lined up...
Eduard's Fw 190 A-6 looks like another real beauty! With their combination of accuracy and detail, these kits have captured the imagination of modellers who initially doubted the wisdom of Eduard choosing the '190 as a subject. Revisiting the kit can't fail to get the building juices flowing again - look out for the on-line build to follow in the Forum - and only serves to whet the appetite for Eduard's next Luftwaffe kit, the Bf 110! Highly recommended.
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