Focke Wulf Fw-190A-5/6/8 Priller Combo

Published: December 27th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker - IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hasegawa
Price: $53.99
Product / Stock #: 02003
Product provided by: Hobbico

History

This kit is another in the new Hasegawa series which reissues older kits with slightly modified molds, depicting several historic aircraft, usually of the same general type. This issue, which includes two complete kits, can be built as an FW-190A-5, A-6, and A-8, but it would also be possible to do an A-7 variant if you used different markings.

To begin with, the kit depicts a "Priller Combo", but the instructions say absolutely nothing about who Priller was, or why he warrants a kit manufactured in his honor. I'll clear that up first, although Googling "Josef Priller" will give you a general account of his life. Josef Priller (1915-1961) was a career military officer in the Luftwaffe, and at the outbreak of World War II, was a Staffelkapitan in JG-71, which later became JG-51. In 1940, after obtaining 20 victories over RAF aircraft, he was transferred to JG-26 Schlageter. In December, 1941, he became Gruppenkommandeur of III/JG-26, with a score of 58, all against the RAF. By January, 1943, he had become Geshwaderkommodore of JG-26, and was in this position when the Allies invaded Normandy on 6 June 1944. One claim to fame is that he and a wingman were among the few to fly over the landing beaches, attacking ground troops, and the event became famous when he was depicted in the book (and later movie) The Longest Day, and although it is widely believed that Priller's attack was the only one flown that day, another attack was conducted by KG54, a Heinkel HE-111 unit.

Priller flew nearly all models of the FW-190A at one time or another, and enough photos exist to document a number of color schemes of his various aircraft. He continued his career until he led the costly Bodenplatte operation, which signaled the decline of the Luftwaffe. After that, he was appointed Inspector of Day Fighters (East) as Oberstleutnant, a position he held until the end of the war. Following the war, he acted as any intelligent and resourceful German would, marrying the owner of the S. Riegele Brewery and becoming General Manager. Now, there is an enviable command position! He was an advisor in the production of the film The Longest Day, and finally passed on in Bavaria in 1961.

History (Aircraft)

The Focke Wulf Fw-190 is perhaps one of the best known of the Luftwaffe fighters, so there is no point recounting its history. The A-5 variant was slightly longer than the earlier A-4, and featured two 30 cal MG-17 machine guns in the cowling, along with two MG-151/20 and two MG-FF in the wings. There were many variants. The Fw-190A-6 replaced the outboard MG-FF's with MG-151/20's, and also had other modifications. The Fw-190A-7 had two MG-131's in place of the smaller weapons in the cowl, while the Fw-190A-8, which was the major production model, had a water-injection system and a relocated pitot tube, among other modifications. The bulged cowling was common to the A-7, A-8, and A-9 variants. In some cases, the outboard wing-mounted cannons were removed to save weight and improve performance, and Priller's mounts all seem to have had these guns removed, so all of these models should be four-gun variants.

The Kit:

This kit has been around for a long time, but is still one of the best Fw-190A-8's available. It has been issued as the A-5 through the A-9 variants, but the basic molds are for an A-8, with panel lines to be removed for earlier variants. This particular kit contains TWO complete kits which can be built as A-5 through A-8 variants. One addition is that both cowlings are included, so you'll have a couple of extras for backdating or updating other kits. For anything but the A-8, some minor modifications are required. The outline is basically accurate, and in my opinion, after having built over 100 Fw-190 kits, using nearly all kits available, the Hasegawa offering is easily the best available. Revell and Academy also produce the same variant, but they have moderate to severe outline problems. The Italeri kit is much better. And, of course, there's the Tamiya A-3, but that is a whole different story. Tamiya also has an A-8 listed, but I have not seen this kit, so I can't comment on it.

The kit had a basic but useful interior, with a tub, two instrument panels, a seat, control stick, and two armored headrests, only one of which will be used. Be sure to paint and decal the cockpit interior before joining the fuselage halves together. Only the flat canopy is included, although this is the type that Priller apparently used. It is in two parts and should be left open to expose the cockpit detail. I added masking tape seat belts and a small section of clear plastic for the Revi gunsight. The tailwheel is molded in the down position, and is strong enough that I have never broken one off. The prop is molded in five parts - three blades, a cooling fan unit, and spinner. It is a little dicey to assemble and get straight, but the blades are easy to paint. The wings are molded in three pieces, with the bottom panel dictating the dihedral angle. The small cannon shell ejector units in the outboard wing panels need to be trimmed off, although this information is unclear in the instructions. One drawing shows them on, while another drawing shows them removed. I removed them, as they would have probably been replaced with flat panels if there were no guns there.

Assembly:

This is a very easy kit to build, and snaps together with little filler required. The landing gear needs careful attention, as it is not too strong, but it does line up easily. Be sure to paint all of the small parts, adding such things as the gear, prop, and rear sliding canopy after painting. Be sure to follow the instructions, especially those concerning the panel removals for the earlier variants. The instructions are also unclear on the LF radio antenna that stretches from the cockpit canopy to the tailpost. They say to remove the little mounting on the canopy, but this is incorrect. The mounting was used on all flat canopies, but was NOT used on aircraft that used the later blown hood, which is not included in these kits. Check your references on this one.

Painting and Finishing:

These airplanes all had similar paint schemes: RLM 74 and RLM 75 greys topside, and RLM 76 light blue underneath. They also had yellow rudders and cowling undersides. Complete painting detail are provided in the instructions, but be careful, as they are listed in the order of A-5, A-8, and A-6 rather than the expected A-5, A-6, and A-8 order. This can get confusing. The decals are a mixed bag, as they are very thin, and the larger images, such as crosses and markings, go on easily. Some of the smaller maintenance markings, which are extremely tiny but very readable under magnification, often folded up when I was trying to apply them, and they were very difficult to work with. Some, including the small don't-walk lines on the wings, I decided not to use, as these lines are seldom visible in photographs anyway. I didn't use the trim tab decals either, as they seemed a little too long for the tabs. I just painted them red. On the positive side, the decals do not need to be trimmed, as the edges are invisible after the decals dry, and they snuggle down into the panel lines very nicely. There were quite a few decals left over for the spare decal box.

Recommendation:

The Hasegawa Fw-190A kits have always been high quality items, and this one is certainly worth getting, especially if you like the aircraft of the aces. The decals are the only real difference between this and the earlier kits, and if you want to build these particular aircraft, this issue is highly recommended.

Thanks to IPMS/USA (David Montgomery) and Hobbico for the review kit.

  • Fw-190A-6 finished 1
    Fw-190A-6 finished 1
  • Fw-190A-6 finished 2
    Fw-190A-6 finished 2
  • Fw-190A-6 finished 3
    Fw-190A-6 finished 3
  • Fw-190A-6 finished 4
    Fw-190A-6 finished 4
  • Fw-190A-8 finished 1
    Fw-190A-8 finished 1
  • Fw-190A-8 finished 2
    Fw-190A-8 finished 2
  • Fw-190A-8 finished 3
    Fw-190A-8 finished 3
  • Fw-190A-8 finished 4
    Fw-190A-8 finished 4
  • Fw-190A-8 finished 5
    Fw-190A-8 finished 5

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