(First I want to apologise to any Norwegian readers, but as I intend to use this article on American forums, I’ll be conducting this build-log/review in English.) Note: This was my first foray into airbrushing my models, and all in all it went quite well, after the usual newbie-mistakes.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger («Shrike») was a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Powered by a radial engine in most versions, the Fw 190 had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The Fw 190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter. The D or «Dora» series was intended as a high-altitude adaption of the basic, radial-engined Fw190A. The radial engined was replaced with the Junkers Jumo 213 V12 inline engine. This meant the rear fuselage had to be extended to keep the center of gravity. Among other adaptions was a pressurised cockpit and supercharger.
For more information see Wikipedia.
Academy has got well-deserved praise for their Fw190D kit. It is a breeze to put together, has enough details for most modelers, and now obvious mistakes. There are some points of note though: The cockpit is as per usual for Academy quite basic. I spruced it up a bit with a masking-tape harness. (On the positive side is a instrument panel which lends itself beautifully for drybrushing to bring out the details, unfortunatly not much will be visible in the end.
The cockpit-hood has molded on groves to mount the internal structure, which look a bit strange. I tried to camoflage it with painting the area with RLM66, so it looks more like a part of the internal frame. Last but not least, the exhaust and tail wheel is molded integrally with the fuselage, which is not optimal for painting, but the details are good, so no major problem. The problem come when we turn our eye to the decals. For one thing they are typical stiff and glossy Academy decals, but all three profiles have some issues. The included profiles are decribed as decirbed by Academy:
- «<<+» IV./JG3, Prezlau, Germany, March 1945 – Oberlt. Oscar Romm
- «+» I./JG301, Germany, Spring 1945 – Feldwebel Hagen Forster
- «<-+-» Kommodore JG4, Frankfurt, Germany, May 1945 – Oberstlt. Gerhard Michaelski
Now the first profile is basically correct in the decal department, but the painting instructions are flawed. Academy decribe all three planes as RLM83/RLM75 over RLM76 (with difference only in the amount of mottling.) But Romms plane was probably in a simplified end of war painting scheme: The upper fuselage in RLM81, upper wings in RLM76/RLM83/RLM82, wings undersides in unpainted metal except forward section painted in RLM75, and bare metal undercarriage panels. Michelskis plane was quite possibly not even his plane (it is a guess due to a known photo of him posing in front of it). And it’s not marked «<-+-» but in fact «<1-+-«. All in all an interesting plane, but the decals are wrong, and as for Romms plane there was probably panels of unpainted metal on the underside of the wing.
Oberstleutnant Michaelski was possibly flying this machine and the profile is doable with the included decals pluss spares, but i opted for the more colourful Dora from JG301. Unfortunatly I could find no information on the good Feldwebel, and all searches just turned up information on models, not the orginal plane. So I opted to do some research to try and peice together a possible profile from JG 301.
JG301 was formed on 1 October 1943 in Neubiberg with Stab and three Gruppen as a «Wilde Sau» (wild boar) single-seat night fighter unit. The Geschwader was equipped with the Bf 109G and was reorganised with four Staffeln per Gruppe. JG50, a specialist anti-Mosquito unit, was disbanded and absorbed into I./JG 301 in October 1943 . The II. Gruppe was redesignated to II./Jagdgeschwader 302 (JG 302) on 30 September 1944 and replaced by the I./JG 302. II./Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7) was attached to IV. Gruppe on 24 November 1944 and disbanded on 19 January 1945 JG301 used the Bf109G, Fw190A and D, and a handful of Ta152. (Se also this source) Now there is always an inherent problem with late war Luftwaffe schemes. The breakdown of the Third Reich was in full swing, and many orders and descisions made at the Reichsluftfahrtministerium was never implemented at the local Geschwader-level. Add to that the continuing problem of supplies, as well as quality of late war production paints, and you get a real head ache if your sole consern is making a «perfect replica». One thing is certain. JG301 had a «Defence of the Reich» colourband of yellow and red. This colourful band around the fuselage was introduced early in 1944 to aid in the distinction between German fighters and allied bomber escorts, but after the reorganisation of the defence-forces in Octorber 1944, the colours mostly assosiated with the different Geschwaders was finalized. JG301 went from a rust-red band to the more familiar yellow and red. (Usually the yellow in front of the red, but there was some machines with the colours reversed.) Now to muddy the water further, JG301 did not follow the usual practice of using different symbols aft of the balkenkreuz to signify what Gruppe the plane was part of. (I.e. no symbol for Stab & I., a vertical bar for II., horisontal bar for III. and a squiggly line for IV. Gruppe.) Instead JG 301 used their own system of colour coded horisontal bars. One possible interpretation of this can be found here. But late in the spring of 1945 it seems this system was more or less abandoned. It seems many Luftwaffe units started employing different ad-hoc systems, possibly to confuse allied pilots, so they couldn’t easily identify if the opposition was young novices fresh out of glider school, or lethal experten. That the allies was more or less in full control of the skies, is also evident in the way planes was beginning to be camouflaged in greens and browns rather than greys, in other words, colours to blend in when on the ground, rather than in the sky. Which leads to my next assumption: That in many cases the top of the Geschwader-recognition band was overpainted at the top of the fuselage, to make the planes easier to conceal when parked.
Finally the decals from Academy omit the Swastika on the tail, which I had to source elsewhere. As a guideline for the type used I leaned on The Smitsonians faithfully restored Fw190A
So what does this lead to?
My speculative «Blue 18» of II./JG301 – Stendal, Germany, March 1945.
II./JG301 was equiped with Fw190Ds in the spring of 1945. There’s no proof II./JG301 had 4 staffels in the spring of 1945, but if they did the tactical numbers was most likely blue. The system of horisontal Gruppe-markings was probably not adhered to fully any more, and part of the higly visible fuselage band was overpainted to aid in concealing the plane when parked. And in March 1945, II./JG301 was definatly stationed in Stendal Germany. So this is my final profile, based on assumptions and guesstimations, but nevertheless a possible, if not probably look of one of the planes knows as «too little, too late». Thank you for reading!
Painted with: Agama RLM 76, RLM 83 and RLM75 (outside), RLM 66 (interior), RLM70 (propeller) RLM02 (wheel wells, inside of carriage panels), Citadel Boltgun metal (metallic parts) and Chaos Black (Tires, grime and shading). Decals from Academy, Kopro (Swastika sheet II) and spares (Kopro, Airfix)