Here's the kit I'll be working on for this group build (note: those are indeed the instructions that came with the kit... one of these things is not like the others...):
Kit: Airfix 1/24 Fw 190 A/F
Aftermarket: Fw 190 Seat, LG and Wheel Wells from Jerry Rutman, and Eduard Luftwaffe Seatbelts and Fw 190 Instrument Bezels
Decals: Hobbydecal Fw 190 Stencils Version 1 (I'll be painting on the rest)
Where to begin... Sturmstaffel 1 or the Fw 190? Both were striking fear in the hearts of daylight bomber crews by the end of 1944. Sturmstaffel 1 - created from the desperation caused by Allied daylight bombing - was the concept brought forth by Major Hans-Gunter von Kornatzki. His plan of flying in at close range to the 4 engine bombers before opening up with all weapons seemed like a logical and straightforward plan. Thus, in January of 1944, volunteer pilots were coming forward to fly with this trial unit. These volunteers were a bit thrown back when the declarations they were to sign (in order to fly with this unit) stated that should they be in position to assault the big bombers, the pilot was to take every action necessary to bring it down - even if it meant ramming the bomber.
Though this ramming maneuver was very seldom used, the tactics of Sturmstaffel 1 were soon to be known throughout the ETO. Their aircraft of choice being the Fw 190 - with a twist.(at that time the A-6, but by the end of 1944, models A-6, A-7, and A-8 were all employed). Modifications were made to add extra armour to the aircraft, including extra armour to the canopy and sides of the fuselage (the easiest visible trait that distinguished this units aircraft from those of others). These aircraft - also known as "Sturmbocks" (translated: Battering Rams), had their pilots also wearing steel helmets for protection (though this was later dropped due to the impracticality of the helmets in high speed/high G maneuvers). The later A-6's through to the A-8's also had modified weapons load outs to maximize the damage caused. All these modifications for what? Sturmstaffel pilots would approach from the bombers rear, waiting until all 4 engines were within the ring on the Revi gunsight - or about 150 meters before opening fire on the bombers - rarely further than 200 meters from the bombers 6 o'clock position.
My pilot of choice for this GB is Leutnant Werner Gerth. Initially serving with 7./JG 53, he volunteered with Sturmstaffel 1 in January of 1944. His first kill was on the 22nd of February of the same year, and on the 6th of March - the day this kit is being built to depict - he shot down two USAAF B-17's... 3 minutes apart!. Later on 11 April he claimed two B-24's. On 20 April 1944, Gerth was appointed Staffelkapitan of 11.(Sturm)/JG 3, but still served with Sturmstaffel 1. However, on the 2nd of November '44, Gerth was hit by return fire from what would end up being his last kill, a B-17 over Halle. He baled out, but by all accounts, his parachute did not open. He was credited with 27 kills - 22 of those being 4 engine bombers, posthumously promoted to the rank of Hauptmann, and awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold.
This is my first 190 kit - in any scale, so it'll be one heck of an introduction to the aircraft. She's big. And I mean BIG. Not so much for the 1/24 scale, but further than that. Laying next to a fuselage half and wing half from the Stuka, this is a big fighter. Dimension wise, but also the shear bulk up front on the business end. In pieces this bird looks mean. Can't wait to see her put together!
Having read a lot of gripes about the kit itself, I don't foresee any of the problems to be a build-ender. Issues with the engine fitment, as well as the cirsp molding - or lack there of, really don't do the kit justice. It's an old kit, sure, but it's still well made. The basic sprues break down like this:
Most parts are nice, and crisp:
Some parts have flash:
There is however a serious lack of detail with the kit in regards to the weapons, and especially the cockpit. Gone is the beautifully engineered instrument panel pieces of their Stuka quality. What we're left with is... a... piece of junk. Not one crisp bit of plastic here at all:
The Eduard instrument Bezels will really be playing a big part in this one for sure! I've used them in the past, and though I had my difficulties with them - they didn't stand up to the kit panel I was using them for - they will fill the need nicely here I'm sure.
The plan for the build is to open up this 190. Expose the engine - completely - show off the weapons in the wings, open any access panels and throw everything that I could into the cockpit. Here is a quick set of pictures showing the plan thus far:
Its all in the plans for now. Once the Stuka is closer to completion, then I'll begin to start getting into this one. Otherwise, 2 1/24's on the workbench with all them darn tiny pieces... well that's got 'bad data' written all over it.
This post has been edited by Kostucha: 17 March 2010 - 04:31 PM