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Fw 190 Kit

Hasegawa 1/48 Focke Wulf Fw 190A-5 w/BMW 327 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2007 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Focke Wulf Fw 190A-5 w/BMW 327 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 09755 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice rendition of the Fw 190A-5 and outstanding BMW 327! Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit
Fw 190 Kit

Doctor Kurt Tank is credited with designing the best propeller fighter to see service in Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. Each iteration of the Fw 190 would rival, if not exceed, the capabilities of anything in operation in the RAF or USAAF. Powered by an air-cooled BMW radial engine, the Fw 190 was a relatively small aircraft with excellent wing loading and horsepower to make the Fw 190 an excellent fighter.

Unlike the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Fw 190 had a landing gear with a wide-stance, making it far more stable during takeoff and landing, especially for less experienced pilots. The bubble canopy provided excellent all-round visibility which not only bettered the Bf 109 but all of the Allies' fighters as well. The air-cooled BMW radial was more reliable and easier to maintain than the Daimler Benz liquid-cooled engines of the Messerschmitt.

There were several series developed around the Fw 190 design. The Fw 190A series were primarily fighter aircraft (though many Fw 190As operated in the mud-moving role as well) and this series in particular was subject to a variety of subvariants that offered different mixes of armament, power and configurations.

A number of years ago, Hasegawa changed tactics in how it produces and distributes its kit line. It previously had a catalog full of nice kits and kept most of those kits available at all times. As sales dropped and the cost of maintaining warehouses of inventory rose, Hasegawa significantly cut the number of kits that are always available. Much of their product line was taken out of regular production and instead reissued in limited releases. On paper, this was a great idea and several other hobby manufacturers have emulated this new business model.

For the modeler and hobby shop owner however, this limited run kit business could get a little strange. Take Hasegawa's 1/48 F-14 Tomcats. They stayed out of production for a while, then suddenly Hasegawa was repackaging the same kits over and over with different decals, sometimes releasing several versions in one month. This pattern is also repeated with the 1/48 Super Hornets, 1/48 Warhawks, and more.

Hasegawa has changed tactics again, and this is a welcome change! With the first release of their Fw 190A-5, they suddenly found themselves behind the power curve against Eduard. Eduard has been producing the ultimate kits of the Fw 190 and their A-5 was released last December (look here). So their new tactic is to jump into the 1/48 World War II vehicle market and they've bundled a new-tool 1/48 BMW 327 Coupe Convertible with this Fw 190A-5.In other words, there are two nice kits in this box, plus a figure.

The Fw 190A-5 is molded in Hasegawa's standard light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. This is my first look at one of their new 1/48 Fw 190 kits and it is engineered similar to their other recent releases like the P-39 and P-40 series - modular. Different versions of certain details are provided in the same box, which allows for more spare parts at the end of the project, but minimizes the number of different molds required to render multiple variants of the same basic aircraft.

As with most aircraft projects, this build starts with the cockpit and this cockpit looks nice out of the box. The mildly AMS modeler will want to add a photo-etched seatbelt and harnesses, but with some effective painting, the finished cockpit will look good to the eye.

One of the more common mistakes made by previous Fw 190 kit makers has been the main wheel wells. Eduard was one of the first (if not THE first) to get these right in 1/48, and Hasegawa appears to have it right as well. The remainder of the construction is simple and straightforward, but the detailing is still very nice.

Then there is the other kit, the BMW 327. This kit is rendered in white styrene and presented on one parts tree, plus the body and chassis and a figure. Another tree is included that contains chrome-plated parts for the bumpers, trim and other details, and a tree of clear parts which include the windshield, side windows, and a one-piece convertible top that includes the rear window. Simply mask off the rear window and spray your convertible top.

The kit is very nicely detailed. There is a complete interior to see should you opt to keep the convertible top down, and the underside the chassis is also nicely rendered with power train and suspension. The engine is only a bottom view as there is no provision to pose the hood open nor detail under the hood to see.

Overall this kit's options include:

  • Standing figure of Major Josef Priller
  • Positionable canopy (on the aircraft)
  • External centerline drop tank
  • Positionable driver's door (on the car)
  • Choice of top up or down

Markings are provided for one aircraft:

  • Fw 190A-5, Black 13, Kommodore/JG 26, as flown by Major Josef Priller, Belgium, June 1943

So why get this kit over the Eduard A-5? Two reasons come to mind. First, the hardcore AMS modeler will gravitate to the Eduard kit with all of the details that come in that box. The lesser AMS modeler and average modeler would rather have something less intense to build, and Hasegawa kits are well known to be easier builds that render nice results. Even the hardcore AMS modeler will appreciate the Hasegawa kit as a quick build to 'cleanse the pallet'.

Second, there is that beautiful BMW 327 kit. I won't be a bit surprised to see this bundled with other kits as well as available sometime separately. After Hasegawa invested in that tooling, you can count on seeing the BMW kit again.

It has been interesting that Hasegawa hasn't entered the 1/48 WWII Armor/AFV market with the rise in this scale's popularity and the variety of subjects coming from Tamiya, Hobby Boss, and more. With this BMW kit, we are now getting access for the first time to period vehicles that would complement a variety of aircraft or even armor vignettes and dioramas.