by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
HistoryProduction 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.
The KitThe kit comes in a sturdy top opening cardboard box and comprises the following items:
- 6 olive green plastic sprues protected within a plastic bags.
- 1 transparent plastic sprue protected within a resealable bag.
- 1 bag with resin parts.
- 1 pre-colored photoetched fret.
- 1 additional PE fret with armored plates.
- 1 decal sheet.
- 1 instruction booklet.
Most of the content of the kit is well known because it is simply the superb Eduard kit in a different packaging. Special Hobby have added some extra parts to allow the modeler to build an early "Sturmbird", an aircraft equipped with additional armored plates to protect the pilot during attack missions against the U.S. bombers. Eduard do have a "Sturmbird" in their collection as well (Tamiya and Hasegawa also in the same scale) but it is the later Fw190 A-8/R-8 variant so you have here the only possibility to do one of the earlier A-6 type if you want to.
The quality of the kit in this new boxing remains excellent. The plastic parts have been crisply molded with no traces of flash or sink marks. Surface detail is subtle and the level of detail is extraordinary. The kit is also a big spare parts provider since a lot of options are present on the sprues and not all the parts are in fact needed to build the model.
The original Eduard photoetched parts are destined to the cockpit and will add more detail to the kit. However, most of them are replacement items for plastic parts (instrument panel, side consoles, rudder pedals etc...). Seatbelts are, of course, also included. The additional PE fret has only four parts. They represent the armored plates and two styles are provided: three piece and for piece variants.
The transparency of the clear parts is excellent. It is possible to build the model with the canopy in the opened or closed position. In both cases, the windshield and the canopy are separate. This is because the movable part of the canopy deforms when sliding backwards. This has been accurately reproduced by Eduard. Additional "Panzerglass" pieces are present as well.
Other things which make this boxing different than the original release are some additional resin pieces (early style wheels and shorter style fuel tank rack) and of course the decal sheet. Four different marking options are provided:
The decals printed by Aviprint are very nice and crisp. The four marking options are the following:
A - Fw 190 A-6 "White 2", Sturmstaffel 1, Gefreiter G. Vivroux, Dortmund, February 1944.
B - Fw 190 A-6 "White 1", Sturmstaffel 1, Major HAns Günter von Kornatzki, Dortmund, January 1944.
C - Fw 190 A-6 "White 7", Sturmstaffel 1, Dortmund, January 1944.
D - Fw 190 A-6 "White 7", Sturmstaffel 1, Dortmund, end of January 1944.
All the aircraft wear a RLM 74/75/76 camouflage with RLM 04 yellow lower engine cowling and black/white/black fuselage band (only red for option C). No decals are provided for the "Reichsverteidigung" (Defense of the Reich) stripes so one will have to paint them using masks on the model. Option A and D are fitted with unusual four piece armored plates while the option B and C wear the more common three piece variant.
The 18 pages , A5 size, instruction booklet is of course based on the drawings of the original Eduard kit. The size of the Special Hobby instructions is much smaller but remains very clear nevertheless. They are printed in black & white only though, but color profiles for the four camouflage options are downloadable on the www.cmkkits.com website.
I have seen many internet build logs of Edurad's "Würger" in the last couple of years and the comments about the kit have been different all the time. It goes from "painfull and almost impossible to build" to "excellent and most enjoyable". Often, when the experience was not so good, the modeller tried to build the model all "buttoned up", for what the kit wasn't really designed for. But I also saw superb models with all the access panels closed so it is also possible to build the kit successfully that way. For a troublefree build, I guess it is VERY important to carefully follow the instructions, especially in the stages where the gun compartiment and the engine are fitted.
conclusionEduard's Fw 190 A-6 is back in a new box by Special Hobby and the fanatics of the "Würger" will like it a lot. The fact that the kit costs less than the original Eduard kit makes it very good value for money too!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.