Pacific Coast Models 1/32 Fw 190A-4 Build Review
|Date of Review||June 2018||Manufacturer||Pacific Coast Models|
|Kit Number||32011||Primary Media||Styrene, resin, photo-etch|
|Pros||Beautiful molding, relatively simple build||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$67.45|
For a brief description of this famous Focke Wulf and a look at this kit out of the box, look here.
While I made a New Year's resolution to tackle the various projects around here that are in varying degrees of completion, I agreed to do a build-review of Pacific Coast Models' new 1/32 Fw 190A-4 kit. This is actually their Fw 190A-1/2/3 kit with new resin parts to bring the model up to the A-4 configuration. Since PCM kits are a relatively easy projects, I thought I'd give it a go'.
Two of the three resin conversions replace the slotted vents on the fuselage sides with louvered vents. The conversion is simple - cut out the old sections (left and right) and replace with the resin inserts. You can see below where I've cut along the panel lines from the outside and inside views.
While there are good razor saws out there, I like the Alec Pro-25G, which is much thinner (0.1mm thick with a tooth pitch of .25mm) than the other saws, allowing the blade to drop into the panel lines. This was my first attempt at such a conversion and the kit plastic is harder than most, so it took a little trial and error to learn the tool. The right side conversion went much smoother and quicker. You can see the removed slotted panel and the resin part in its place.
I've glued the fuselage halves together after inserting the resin tail wheel well. The third and final part of the A-4 conversion replaces the A-1/2/3 tail tip with this resin part featuring a stubby antenna mast.
One of the nice features of this kit is the wide open underside which will allow me to complete much of the fuselage work before installing the cockpit tub from underneath.
After doing some test-fitting of the wing parts, I found that the resin wheel wells fit nicely and these were cyanoed into place. Next, I will glue the upper wing halves into place so I can begin the process of tweaking the wing/fuselage joint early before closing up the forward fuselage.
Since this kit is their previously released Fw 190A-1/2/3 with some new resin parts, I had seen some online posts about the fit of the wing/fuselage joint. I did a test-fit and while there was a slight gap towards the rear of the wing fuselage joint, it is easily filled. Someone had suggested putting a spreader inside the fuselage, but that would split open the fuselage instead. The plastic in this kit is quite rigid.
The cockpit was a pain. While the tub fits into the fuselage just fine, the instrument panel needed some work to fit onto the tub, and even then, it no longer fit after the Eduard color photo-etched instrument panels were overlayed onto the plastic panel. Worse still, the Eduard parts were wider than the plastic panel, which turned out to be a real problem as the plastic panel does not fit up into the fuselage. Not only does the panel need to be narrower, the Eduard parts will also need to be cut down to fit. The instructions show that the tub once had a throttle but that was not there in my kit.
Note that the engine backplate has one area with a slightly wider diameter as the rest of the disk. This wider extends out under the bottom area of the fuselage to properly orient the top of the engine.
I finished up the cockpit and engine subassemblies, then began the process of closing up the cowling and gun panels in the nose. It took a bit of work with some wet-sanding to get the parts to blend together properly. I mounted the wings to the fuselage and let the glue set up while resting in the jig, then filled those minor gaps in the wing root with cyano and did a little more wet-sanding.
Before I go any further, I decided to apply the base coats to the model. I decided on the winter scheme for JG 54 which is washable white on the upper and side surfaces while retaining the RLM 65 on the under surfaces as well as the yellow ID band and panels. The white was Mig One-Shot White with a few drops of brown to weather the paint.
With the base colors dried, it was time to get this model on its landing gear. The main gear struts have a distinctive inboard stance which is reflected on the axle angles on the struts. I used brass tubing as a jig to align the struts and hold that inboard stance. The mechanical mount for each gear strut is all-but-nonexistent in the wheel wells, so while I had a bottle holding the brass tubings' position, I applied liquid cement to the gear/well mounts. When this had cured for an hour, the gear was too wobbly to apply weight, so I reinforced the joints/mounts with cyano. That provided a stronger hold.
I added the remaining details to the model, applied the decals, then began the weathering process. Since washable white was intended to be washed off the aircraft in the Spring, it couldn't be cleaned very easily from the daily grit and grime. I added RLM greens to the leading edges of the wings and cowl to show the white wearing away while adding exhaust and gunfire stains.
This kit is fairly straightforward for a limited production kit. The folks at LSP pointed out that this kit is missing one more detail to accurately represent the A-4 - a different-shaped armor backplate/headrest. They indicate that you can steal one out of a Hasegawa 1/32 Fw 190A-8 kit (I don't have one handy) but this is one part of the conversion that should have been provided in the kit. Even so, I am calling this build finished.
My sincere thanks to KitLinx for this review sample!