Monogram Classics FW-190A



Kit Manufacturer




Out of Box (OOB) or Modified

Rating (1-10 10=best)

Monogram Classics FW-190



$6/$8 (see text)

Multiple variants

Closed in wheel wells


The German FW-190 was conceived by Kurt Tank, of the (not-in-favor at the time) Focke Wulf company. Tank had proposed other fighter designs, some of which were brought into limited service as trainers, but mostly they were rejected. For the most part, this was not due to any fault of the designs themselves, but of politics and favoritism within Nazi Germany. (One of his designs far outperformed the ME-110, but because Goering received kickbacks from Messerschmidt, the 110 was selected instead - with bad results for its crews over Britain in 1940.) The FW-190 was nearly rejected as well, as the war was expected to be over shortly and (shortsightedly) no replacement was seen as being needed for the then-dominant ME-109. It was allowed to go foreward, however, because it didn't need the DB inline engines the 109 depended on, but instead used a radial engine (the BMW 801.) When finally introduced, this airplane was a shock to the Allies, who didn't have anything - even the venerable Spitfire - that could match it.

This unwanted airplane proved to be one of the best, and most versatile, aircraft the Germans fielded. Its airframe was designed for mass production, as well as easy modification. It also had built in hardpoints to take several field modification kits (Rustsatze - the /r# numbers you see at the end of the designations) which allowed ti to be used as a fighter, formation destroyer, bomber destroyer, and attack aircraft.

The kit itself is definately a "classic." I built this one at least a decade and a half ago, and it was an old mold then. It was (so I've been told) one of the first kits where Monogram went from offering toylike features (such as its "classic" SBD Dauntless, TBF Avenger, and the horrid Helldiver) and went instead for accuracy. It shows its heritage in the raised surface detail (rivets abound) and minor things like the open wheel wells (no detail.) It's still quite good, however, and does something no other FW-190 kit does - it allows you, with minor conversion and kit parts, to build one of many variants. The variants included are:

The kit instructions show you which wing guns, pitot tubes, holes, and the like are to be cut off, drilled out, or retained for the specific versions. (This is an easy conversion to do, and I don't see why - outside of making more money for specific boxings - Tamiya or another company doesn't do the same.)

I first built this kit as I mentioned many years ago. At that point, I thought this was the most incredibe thing I'd seen, model-wise, with the means of handling all the different versions. I built mine then as the tropical (A-7.R3) version, and never got around to doing the rest. A while back, I got the urge to find this kit again, only to find it had gone out of production. Searching e-Bay, I found one of these in the 1970s/1980s boxing for $6, and won my bid. A month afterward, it was announced it would be rereleased in the Monogram Classics line. (Isn't that the way it always goes.) I was ecstatic, and once it was rereleased, bought a second one. (I'd planned to do all the versions, to go with the Tamiya FW-190F8, DML/Promodeller 190G, and the long-nose variants of the family - I still might.) Looking through the versions again, I decided to put off the tropicalized version and do the formation destroyer, with the long barreled 30-mm cannon under the wings.

The FW-190A-8 R3 Formation Destroyer. A bit of explanation of this variant is in order. At this point in the war, huge formations of US and British bombers would attack Germay, day and night. The FW-190 was better able to deal with these bombers by its already formidable armament (two 7.7 or 13 mm machine guns, and usually two or four 20mm cannon.) The long barreled 30mm cannon was conceived as a "formation destroyer" - it didn't need to be accurate, it just had to disruupt the defensive box formations the bombers flew in. It was successful at this - and any bomber unlucky enough to be hit by this weapon was a goner. This was one of the most heavily armed FW-190 variants, both in number and caliber of guns.

The kit. As mentioned previously, this is an older kit. Don't expect a modern shake-and-bake kit, but it's not as skill-intensive as a limited run kit either. The cockpit consists of a tub (adequately detailed if the cockpit's closed), a seat, the pilot, and a control stick. You'll notice I didn't mention an instrument panel. There's not one. The instruments are provided as a decal you cut out and glue into the cockpit, on a ridge underneath the cowl Considering the tight confines of the cockpit, this works. If there's a resin set for this, I don't know of it. Also, because of the age of the kit, flash abounds - be prepared to do some careful trimming. Still, the detal's not bad.

If you're looking for engine detail - there isn't any. Of course, the FW-190 had a fan right in front of the engine, and this is shown in the kit. With the tight cowl, this isn't a problem.

Step four is where you need to start knowing which version you want to build - you assemble the fuselage here. If you want to build the tropical version, cut off the bulges and assemble and attach the tropical filters. The next step's the big one - figure out which version you want, and follow the instructoins to cut off whatever bulges, guns, or which pitot tube you need to remove. You'll also note the wheel wells - they're just big, open holes. You can't put off attaching the landing gear legs - they *must* go in now. Hold off on putting in the wheels, and landing gear covers. If you want to box in the wheel wells, be careful and measure many times - because of the way these go together, you can't just fit a card over the opening. The post (anyone know what purpose this serves?) gets in the way, as do the edges of the wing roots on both the upper wings and the fuselage. Don't forget to drill out the holes you need.

I didn't completely box in the wheel wells, just blocked the view back. The view forward already has a block in place from the front of the wing. I may do a more detailed job next time. Once this is done, you'll find yourself with a wing, cockpit, canopy, cowl front and a fuselage Get the putty ready - remember, this isn't a shake and bake kit.The wing-fuselage joint on the sides weren't too bad, but underneath the fuselage was murder. After looking at the gaps between the cockpit and the fuselage, I chose to close the canopy. Putty everything where needed, then decide if you should attach your armament. Leave bombs off (usually), prepaint fuel tanks, and attach cannon where needed. Once all this is done... you're ready to paint.

Painting. I used a frankenstein's monster of paint combinations on this. I started out painting an area of the rear fuselage with Testors primer, to prepare for the yellow fuselage band. I used Testors acrylic for the yellow band, then masked it off when dry. The undersides and fuselage sides were painted with Aeromaster RLM light blue. Once this dried, I painted the uppersurface camoflage freehand with Gunze Sangyo Aqueous hobby paint - no incompatibilities were found. Suprisingly, the mottling on the sides came out beautifully! I touched up the landing gear doors and the insides of the flaps with Gunze RLM-66, painted the spinner red (after fighting with the white, I gave up,) painted the tires, and let everything dry, then unmasked everything. Whala, a FW-190!

Decals. Given the two kits I had, one set of decals was old and yellowed, the other nice and new. Not knowing how they'd react to decal solvent (a must over all this raised detail,) I used Aeromaster's FW-190 Insignia sheet for the crosses and swastika. With a light brushing of solvent, they went down perfectly. Now for the kit decals... The machine specific markings came from the older, yellowed sheet, and snuggled down effortlessly with the same solvent (Solvaset.) Whew.

The final touch came with light weathering. A little "scuffing" on the wing root and prop blade edges with Rub 'n Buff, and some pastel weathering aft of the exhausts and behidn the various gun barrels is all I did - I didn't want to go overboard on this kit. It looks fine to me, now.

All in all, I enjoyed building this kit again. It's not an award winner by any means as I built it this time, and much better kits are on the market, but with a little TLC, this builds into a great representation of one of many FW-190s. As I get others built, I'll add photos to the rest of the review. Reccommended, with a bit of patience.