During the second half of WWII, the Focke Wulf Fw 190, as a robust and versatile aircraft, offered potential for a development into the nightfighter role. Sometimes, the tactics utilized by these fighters required no modification from the standard day fighter at all, or required minor changes only, notably in radio equipment. But often, complex modifications came with the addition of radar aquipment such as the FuG 217 and FuG 218 Nepun. Along with the Antennae and electronic gear, there was also an indicator on the instrument panel. Other aircraft gained other details such as exhaust flame dampers, extended firing tubes for the fuselage guns, supplementary radio equipment and so on.
Though the bulk of night fighting was carried out by twin engined aircraft (Bf 110, Ju 88, He 219 etc...), the Fw 190 could be a dangerous opponent for the Allied night bombers.
Eduard's Fw 190 is a well known kit now so I won't make any further comment about the quality of the plastic parts because everything has already been said about it. If you want further informations and pictures about the basic Fw 190 kits, you can use the following links:
- Fw 190 A-8
- Fw 190 A-5
- Fw 190 A-6
- Fw 190 A-8/R-2
- Fw 190 F-8
- Fw 190 A-8 (reedition)
The Nightfighter Dual Combo Kit
Earlier this year, when I first saw an advertisement for the Fw 190 Nightfighter Dual Combo kit in Eduard's catalogue, I was impatient to have it in my hands. Now that this special edition has arrived was it worth the wait? Definitely yes!
The new Fw 190 kit by the Czech manufacturer is packed within a big top opening cardboard box decorated with a simple but yet very effective artwork. In fact, the box is exactely the same size as the ones Eduard uses for their famous Royal Class editions. This is not a surprise since there are no less than 20 plastic sprues within the kit this time! I can't help myself to feel that somehow there is a "Royal" feeling in this "Dual Combo" kit. Let's take a closer look at the content:
- Plastic parts: as I've said, there are 20 sprues (you will have something to feed your spare box once the models are finished).
- PE parts: two small photo etched sheets are provided. One is pre-colored and mainly destined to the cockpit area, while the second is mainly composed of specific parts for the night fighter version (radar antennas). It is to note that there are plenty of spare antennas in case you loose some to the carpet monster.
- Masks: one sheet is provided for two models (wheels, canopy and gun covers).
- Instructions: one A4 sized booklet composed of 20 pages printed in color. It comprises a History, a parts layout diagram, a paint chart, the construction sequence spread over 11 pages, 6 pages of painting and decalling guides and a stencil data page.
- Decals: there are two sheets in this kit. A bigger one with the stenciling, the german crosses and the swastikas, and a smaller one with the tactical markings and the unit emblems.
- A small "Wilde Sau" pin.
Variants and markings
The decals have been printed by Cartograf and are very nice. It is possible to choose between six different marking options:
A - Fw 190 A-5 10./NJG 3 "Nachtjagdkommando 190", Aalborg-West, Denmark, Winter 1940.
This is technically a standard A-5. The only change from a day fighter machine is the darkening of the upper surfaces with irregular applications of RLM 74.
B - Fw 190 A-6 Major Hajo Hermann, Stab/JG Herrman, Bonn-Hangelar, August 1943.
This is technically a standard A-6 with a RLM 74/75/76 camouflage.
C - Fw 190 A-6/R-11 "Neptun" II./JG 300, Lobnitz, Fall 1944.
This is an A-6 machine field modified for night fighting (antennas). The aircraft received a lighter spray of RLM 76 on the top of the fuselage.
D - Fw 190 A-7/R-11 "Neptun" Lt. Klaus Bretschneider, 6./JG 300, rheine, March 1944.
This is an A-7 machine field modified for night fighting (antennas). It has a RLM 74/75/76 camouflage with a red Defense of the Reich fuselage band.
E - Fw 190 A-8/R-11 Fhj. Ofw. Günter Migge, 1./NJGr. 10, Werneuchen, 1944.
This is an A-8 machine modified for night fighting. The antennas have a different design than those of the previous two machines. The aircraft is also equiped with exhaust flame dampers.
F - Fw 190 A-5 Oberst Walter Grabmann, Jagdfliegerführer Holland & 3. Jagddivision, 1943-1944.
This is an A-5 machine equiped with FuG25a antennas under the fuselage.
With the parts provided in the kit, it is possible to build almost all combinations of variants except for one: A and F. This is because they both share the same A-5 underwing part with the 20mm MG FF covers (only one provided in the kit). For two aircraft, the landing gear layout couldn't be determined from the existing photos. These are option B and C (A-6 variant). If you want to model both of them, you can equip one model with the Lower wing G (early style) and the other with the lower wing F (late style). Apart from the one mentionned earlier, there are enough upper wings, engine cowlings and landing gear doors provided in the kit to allow every possible combination.
In case you want to do the aircraft illustrated on the cover artwork (option D and E), you won't have enough PE parts to do two cokpits. You will have to use the plastic parts on one of the models. The same problem occurs if you want to do two aircraft of the A, B, C and F group. In fact, you can only build two full models if you choose one aircraft from the A, B, C and F group and one aircraft from the D and E group. I know, this seems complicated, but Eduard simply forgot to include doubles for some of the PE parts. There is only one set of extended firing tubes for both D and E variants for example... doh!
The instruction booklet is very nice and precise, but I found some errors nevertheless:
- Eduard ask you to use fuselage parts A1 and A2 for marking E and fuselage parts C1 and C3 for the other markings. This is wrong, it should be the contrary! Fuselage parts C1 and C3 are the correct ones for the A-8 variant (E) and fuselage parts A1 and A2 the correct ones for the A-5/6/7 variants (A, B, C, D and F).
- According to my refs, the ETC 501 bomb rack was placed slightly backwards on the A-7 than indicated in the instructions. This is easy to modify though.
- The painting guide for the A-7 is wrong in that it shows an A-8 aircraft.
- The locators for the "Neptun" antennas (options C and D) are wrongly placed in the inner underwings parts. You must move them by 13mm to the wing tips (see photo). On the last drawing of the instructions they are shown in the exact position, outside of the guns. It seems as if the antennas on the upper wings could be moved to the wing tips by a couple of mm as well...
Eduard's Fw 190 Night Fighter Dual Combo is a great kit of a lesser known variant of the famous German WWII fighter designed by Kurt Tank. It's too bad that some PE parts haven't been doubled like most of the plastic parts. It is also tedious that again some errors made it to the final version of the instructions. If you blindly follow them, you will end up with a model fitted with the wrong fuselage and have the antennas placed in the wrong position (variant C and D). For these reasons, I only recommend this model to experienced modelers who have some solid references about the Fw 190.
Having said that, Eduard should be congratulated for designing such interesting kits. Rather than asking us to fill or scribe panel lines like other manufacturers, they provide us with so much optional parts that in this case it is almost possible to build a third model out of the spare parts left from the kit!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale