The Fw 190 D-9 is an emblematic WWII aircraft which has gained a cult status amongst aviation enthusiasts. It's history and the fact that it represents the last piston engined fighter of the Germans widely used in combat makes it the perfect representative of the "last days of the Luftwaffe".
The Fw190D was only supposed to be a transition aircraft until the new design Ta 152 was ready. So expectation were not very high when a Jumo 213 (primarily a bomber engine!) was installed in a Fw 190A airframe. Surprisingly, the result wasn't too bad and while the "Dora" (nickname of the D variant) was less maneuvrable than the A series, it was faster and could climb and dive more rapidly, making it more suitable to the aerial combat tactics of the last years of the war. In fact, it was the only German design which represented a real match for the P-51s and late mark Spitfires, the combat jets (Me262) being not really operational at that time.
In order to fit the new engine, the Fw 190 fuselage was lengthened both in the front and tail areas adding about 1,52m to the overall size of the aircraft. The wings remained the same as the A series though. The D-9 was also equiped with an annular radiator, similar in design to the one of the Ju-88, which gave the impression it was fitted with a radial engine while in fact the Jumo is a liquid cooled engine.
The Doras started to enter service in september 1944 and were used in combat until the last days of the war. They were camouflaged in many different ways, depending on the sub-contractor which manufactured the various pieces of the aircraft as well as the available paint stocks. Some had parts of the airframe which remained in bare aluminium while others (JV44) received a colorful red and white finish on the undersided not to be shot down by their own flak!
When Eduard announced the release of their 1:48 scale Fw190A series of kits in 2006, many people were surprised since other good kits of this aircraft already existed in the same scale. Three years later, the Fw190A kit of the Czech Manufacturer is a best seller for the company, so it is not strange to see the release of the D-9 variant now.
The new Fw190 D-9 kit comes in one of Eduard's typical top opening cardboard box. The nice boxart is very well known now since it circulates on the web for more than a year now! The kit's content is the following:
- 5 sprues of light olive styrene parts.
- 1 sprue with the transparent plastic parts.
- 1 pre-painted photo etched fret.
- 1 sheet of masks.
- 1 sheet of decals.
- 1 instruction booklet.
Of course the plastic parts provided in this reference are very similar to the ones of the previous Fw190A serie of kits. However, though the original Dora shared many parts with it's predecessor, this doesn't applies to the Eduard plastic model kit since all the sprues have been specialy designed for this boxing, except for the transparent one. So to sum up, this is an all new tooling and not a mix of old sprues with newer ones.
The quality of the injected plastic is very good. The surface treatment is on the same level as the other Fw190 kits by the same manufacturer (this means very high!). The new kit features finely engraved panel lines and a subtle rendering of the rivets. I found no sink marks or heavy traces of flash on the sprues and no parts were damaged in my sample.
The kit already offers a good level of detail with the plastic parts only. The cockpit looks busy and while no complete engine is provided this time, the people at Eduard have designed some parts to reproduce the engine backside and fuselage equipment visible through the open landing wheel well roof. To my knowledge, this is a first for an injected kit of the Fw190D. It is also possible to show the installments of both upper cowling and wing root machine guns bays since their covers come as separate pieces with inner details reproduced.
Only 6 parts are labeled "not for use" on the instructions (landing gear bay cover, different spinner, etc...) but there will be many more left, depending on the aircraft you will want to do and the way you want it to look like in the end. Indeed, you have the choice between closed or opened canopy, flat or blown hood (including different headrest details), plastic or photo etched instrument panels and side consoles, smooth or threaded tyres, one piece or multi part tailwheels, closed or opened cowling flaps, bomb or fuel tank. Some parts will end up in the spare box as well if you don't want to show the guns bays (machine guns and ammunition casings).
The movable surfaces are separate except for the horizontal tailplane ones, which is a shame. Sadly, the landing flaps don't come as separate pieces neither, but I'm sure Eduard will release a nice set of etched flaps sooner or later. Unusual for the Czech manufacturer though, is that you will have to engrave some panel lines or eliminate some features on the upper gun cowling part (R8) depending on which version you do. It seems that this time doing four different variants was simply too much asked and frankly I can't blame Eduard for that.
The engine backside plus equipment sub assembly is composed of about 20 parts and looks very nice on the instructions. I'm sure it will look the part when the model is viewed from the underside. This is a real plus of the kit.
The clear parts are the same as in the Fw190A series of kits. Two styles of hoods (early or late) are provided in two exemplars (open or closed). The quality of the transparent parts is excellent but I've read elsewhere that the blown hood isn't bulbeous enough.
The photo etched fret is mainly composed of pre-colored parts for the cockpit (instrument panels, side consoles, seatbelts, rudder pedals, etc...) but also of some parts destined to the exterior (wing root gun cover hinges and Morane antenna mast). A nice addition but not vital if you like to paint the interior yourself. However, it's good to have the choice and some seatbelts are always welcome.
Provided as well is a sheet of masks which will help you to paint the transparent cockpit parts (windscreen and hood), as well as the area aound the wing root gun bays and the wheels.
The instructions are typical Eduard and you will have a feeling of "déjà vu" if you have already studied those of the Fw190A serie of kits. The D-9 booklet is composed of 16 A4 sized pages of which eight are destined to the assembly steps, five to the painting and marking guides and the remaining three to the history text, the part's layout, the color table (for the Gunze Aqueous and Mr.Color range of paints) and the stencils data. It is to note that the painting and marking guide of option F must be downloaded at the Eduard website (direct link here
The decals are excellent and well printed by Cartograf and will allow you to choose between no less than six different aircraft:
A - 5./JG 301, Bad Langensalza, Germany, May 1945
B - Oblt. Hans Dortenmann, IV./JG 26, 1945
C - Stab/JG 4, Frankfurt am Rhein-Main, April 1945
D - I./EKG(J) or V./EJG 2, Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, May 1945
E - Stab/JG 6, Prag – Rusin, Czechoslovakia, May 1945
F - Oblt. Hans Dortenmann, I./JG 26, Spring 1945
I won't comment too much on the various paint sheme proposed in this boxing since they are well explained in the instructions. There were so many camouflage variations on late war Luftwaffe figthers that it wouldn't make sens anyway. But I'm sure most modellers will be happy with what is provided in the kit without having to search for aftermarket decals. Six different decal options in one box, this is rather the exception than the norm in the modern plastic kit industry!
People will probably complain about the fact that Eduard have done one more Fw190D-9 whereas other fine models of the aircraft type already exist in 1:48 scale. However, this new tool offers features that are not present in other kits, so I think it can represent a nice addition to everyone's collection. The Dora is also an aircraft that is very representative of the Luftwaffe camouflage chaos of the last days of WWII and as such offers a myriad of paint scheme possibilities.
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