by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
After trying a few toy-like 1/144 scale WW2 fighter kits in the 1970s that came with badly printed and inaccurate decals, I have to admit I ceased taking the scale seriously and concentrated on larger models. That's definitely proved to be a mistake, because by doing so I've been entirely unaware of Platz's superb range of 1/144 scale models until very recently. Still, better late than never, I can now begin catching up on what I've been missing.
Platz's Focke-Wulf Fw 190D arrives in a very attractive end-opening box, which features a photo of the completed model composited into an action setting on the front and a full-colour painting guide on the rear. The box contains parts for two complete models, each comprising:
29 x grey styrene parts
2 x clear styrene parts
The double-pack includes decals for 4 x colour schemes.
The moulding is excellent, with very crisp detail and no flash. The only point to watch out for is at the forward root of the lower wing, where the part is slightly over-stressed on the sprue. This had fractured on both the kits in the sample pack, but it's a moment's work to repair with liquid cement.
The level of detail throughout is quite amazing for someone unacquainted with these models. The surface finish comprises very fine engraved panel lines and the finesse of some of the smaller parts actually puts some larger scale kits to shame.
As you might expect, construction is simple - but, unlike the F-4J Phantom reviewed recently, this definitely isn't a snap-together kit. The cockpit lacks a control column, but features a surprisingly accurate seat and the undercarriage is very neatly detailed with separate wheels, gear legs and retraction arms. The paddle-bladed propeller has a separate hub, and the 2-part 300 litre drop tank attaches to an ETC rack.
A pair of crystal clear canopies is provided for both the plain and "blown" styles.
Instructions & DecalsThe instructions are written almost entirely in Japanese, with with very clear diagrams that make the simple assembly almost self explanatory. Numbers for Gunze Sangyo RLM paints are given throughout.
The kit includes a comprehensive set of decals for a quartet of JV44 "Papagei" Doras:
1. Fw 190D-9 W.Nr 600424, "Red 1". Pilot Lt. Heinz "Heino" Sachenberg.
2. Fw 190D-9, "Red 3". Pilot Hptm. Waldemar Wübke.
3. Fw 190D-9 W.Nr 213240, "Red 13". Pilot Oblt. Klaus Faber.
4. Fw 190D-11 W.Nr 170933, "Red 4".
The decals are beautifully printed by Cartograph and are thin, glossy and in excellent register. Swastikas are provided and the distinctive red and white striped undersides are tackled in two ways - complete decals, with national insignia in place, or separate stripes and crosses to allow the builder to paint the red. Amazingly, for such a tiny model, there's a very complete set of stencils provided, along with a placement guide.
ConclusionPlatz's Fw 190D is a superb little kit. The size makes it perfect for anyone lacking space who still wants to build a collection of detailed models and it could also serve very well as a "background artist" in a larger scale diorama to give a sense of depth and perspective in photos. Highly recommended.
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