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Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit

Great Wall Hobby 1/48 Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 mit Sonderaktion Schneekufen Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer Great Wall Hobby
Subject Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 mit Sonderaktion Schneekufen Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4808 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros Another beautifully done model of this distinctive aircraft Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $TBA

First Look

Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit
Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit
Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit
Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit
Focke Wulf Fw 189A-1 Kit

In 1937, the RLM issued a requirement for a reconnaissance and observation aircraft that could support Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht intelligence requirements. This design would replace the Henschel Hs 126. Arado, Blohm and Voss, and Focke Wulf all entered designs with the Arado Ar 198 becoming the initial favored option. The Arado's high wing and single engine offered simplicity, but flight test revealed poor performance.

Focke Wulf put forward a twin-engined design as the Fw 189. This aircraft was a twin-boomed monoplane that was powered by a pair of Argus As 410 engines rated at 459 horsepower each. The Fw 189 could take a crew of three up to over 27,000 feet and its light wing loading allowed it to out-maneuver Soviet fighters out for an easy kill.

The Fw 189 was used extensively on the Eastern Front to provide Wehrmacht commanders a commanding view of what the Soviet Armies were up to around the vast Russian landscape. The design was so successful that the Fw 189 would remain in production throughout the war at factories in Bremen, Bordeaux-Merignac (now Dassault) in France, and Aero Vodochody in Czechoslovakia.

Over the production span of the Fw 189, a number of variants were produced including the Fw 189A-0 prototypes, the Fw 189A-1 armed with two MG15 machine guns, the Fw 189A-1/Trop for desert operations, the Fw 189A-2 that replaces the MG15s with MG81Z, the Fw 189A-3 trainer, the Fw 189A-4 light ground attack version, the Fw 189B series built in very small numbers as 5-seat training aircraft, and Fw 189C series as a heavily armored ground attack variant that wasn't produced, the Fw 189D floatplane that wasn't built, the Fw 189E with a pair of Gnome Rhone radial engines not produced, and the Fw 189F series which were updated Fw 189As that were re-engined with larger Argus powerplants and other enhancements.

Great Wall Hobby is a kit manufacturer from China that recently started producing model kits initially focused on armor subjects. Their first aircraft kit was the 1/48 Fw 189 and this has been followed by several versions of the P-61 Black Widow and the TBD Devastator. Great Wall is back with the third installment of their Fw 189 series, this time set up for winter operations.

This Fw 189 release is molded in light grey styrene and presented on seven parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts, a fret of photo-etched parts and a set of window masks.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Nicely detailed rear gunner's position
  • Positionable cockpit access doors
  • Detailed engines
  • Positionable cowling panels
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable rudders
  • Positionable elevator
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable boarding ladder
  • Fixed landing gear with fairings and skis
  • Optional maintenance work stand
  • Optional pilot's figure
  • Window masks to make painting SO much easier

Markings are provided for one example:

  • Fw 189A-1, KD+RO, Russian Front

Swastikas are provided in this kit though they are broken up in segments to keep this kit compliant with certain European laws.

Painting instructions are provided in the new Gunze Creos color standard though RLM numbers are also identified so you can use what paints are convenient wherever you are.

This is clearly the nicest Fw 189 produced in any scale to date and offers the modeler a nice array of options, all for an extremely reasonable price. If this model builds as nice as it looks, it will indeed be quite a bargain. We will definitely have a go with this project soon.

My sincere thanks to Great Wall Hobbies for this review sample!