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Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Battlefront's FW190F8 (AC010)

The Folke Wulf 190 is one of my favorite German planes of the war...and  Battlefront has added this great plane to Flames of War.  To have it in the game is icing on the cake.  The first thing that jumped out at me is that the FW190A8 (AC010) kit is not made with that slick grey plastic of the other plane kits.  This is a nice hunk of Resin (at least that it was it looks like)

A little history (or wiki-history)...

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (Shrike) was a German Second World War single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Powered by a radial engine, the 190 had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The 190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft...

...The Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force), along with the Bf 109. On the Eastern Front, the Fw 190 was versatile enough to use in Schlachtgeschwader (Battle Wings or Strike Wings), specialised ground attack units which achieved much success against Soviet ground forces.

This little guy packs a punch in game terms: the model its self.

Now on to my standard, non-patent pending review methodology...

Accuracy:  Comparing pictures of a period FW190s, the Battlefront model appears pretty close.  At first glance this appears to be a FW190F8 based on engine cowling and exhaust and 2 MGs in the nose cowling and 2 20mm cannons in the wings as well as having wing mounted bomb racks.

Now it claims to be a 1:144 scale, lets give that a check...  The FW190F8 model/plane have a lengths of 2.375"/9m (29'5") and a wingspans of 2.9375/10.51m (34' 5").  My measurements of the model were with a tape measure so the fidelity is a little off.  The ratio of length:wingspan for the actual plane is 0.854 and the model is 0.805.  Given that my measurement could be a little off, this is pretty close to the 1/144 as posted on the box (the difference is most likely due to the inaccuracy in my measurement...never thought I would need calipers until now) ***Edited to correct reviewer's initial mistake that model was 1:100.***  The boxed set comes with decals, and here is where I find a gig in accuracy. The decal sheet that is included in the box serves double duty with the JU-87 Stuka Boxed set.  Most of the decals are interchangeable with the FW190 and maintain historical accuracy.  My accuracy issue is with the tail swastikas.  Every picture I have found of the FW190 has black with white edge swastikas or no swastikas on the tail section.  The decal sheet has white edge with clear center swastikas...which are accurate for Stukas. This can be corrected by painting the center black after they are applied.  But if a black option was included there would be no problem.  Overall 8/10.

Quality: The casting of the plane body and metal bits was near perfect.  The metal bits had very little flash or mold lines.  Cutting the cannon inserts was a little tricky to do and make sure the gun barrel didn't break off.  The metal was very stiff and didn't want to bend easily and allow me to cut cleanly.  The resin plane body had some mold lines under the the left and right stabilizers. 

Trying to preserve detail and not break the stabilizers made the filing of these was very difficult.  I actually gave up and hoped that the paint would be enough to hide what I didn't file away.  Overall: 9/10.

Versatility:  The decal issue limits the versatility. Only having the clear limits what you can replicate out of the box.  I understand trying to save money and make the most use out of a decal sheet, but the Stuka andFW190 had substantial differences in markings.  If there was a decal sheet that was FW190 focused and gave2-3 different fuselage markings this would have been a 10/10.  Overall:  8/10.

Paintability:  Best plane kit yet for paintability.  Some of you might remember my fits of rage when I painted my Typhoons.  My Stukas and HS129s were better cause I learned my lesson.  The earlier slick white/grey plastic the planes were made of did NOT take paint well.  The FW190 being resin took paint wonderfully.  They also were able to but some nice deep detail lines on this model which only adds to the score.   Overall:  10/10.

You'll notice that the post on my stand is curved forward.  This model has a new hole for the post to slide into the model instead of just to the bottom of the plane.

This makes the plane fly straight and level.  All my other planes are in a dive "pose" and I was able to do that by tilting the old mounting peg at an angle.  This new mounting is cleaner but needs a unique solution to create the dive pose.  All I did was take a lighter and hold it in the middle of the post until it got hot and I was able to bend it to the pose I wanted.  Safety is important here.  You can not only burn yourself, but you can catch the plastic on fire (it goes out quickly) and you could make the sprue unusable.  This clear plastic is harder than a typical plastic sprue, so will need more heat.  Consider this an Advanced technique.
I made a little nest for the # of Planes dice to sit firmly

Overall: 8.75/10.  The major issues all relate to the decal sheet included in the kit. Taking the decal sheet issue away, and by using my own decals or modifying the decals as I did, bump this up to a 10/10.  This is a solid model that was a breeze to paint and will look great taking out columns of Allied tanks.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

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