For your modelling degustation this week we have a new kit No 4801 – the 1/48th scale Fw 189A-1 “Nachtjäger” from Great Wall Hobby from China. This is a several part review/build in which the first part will be a traditional review - then a dry fit and also a picture essay of some of the parts and larger assemblies dry fitted to give you an idea of the aircraft kit’s features as well as its fit.The third part will be painting and finishing the kit off and my final conclusions.
For those of you who hadn’t heard of Great Wall Hobby they are the sister company of Lionroar, a company in China well known in the modelling circuit for their excellent armour add-ons and military kits. As seems to be the ways with some companies from China recently that have started a new branch of the company under a new name to, I suppose dispense with any pre-conceived notions or to level expectations - I don’t know – we are here just to look at the kit not the company who makes it.
The Fw 189 was actually the first kit in 1/48th for Great Wall Hobby, this being their second kit in the scale after their first release recon/ light attack Fw 189A-2 which was released late last year. This is a sensible but slightly unexpected version of this aircraft considering there were only about thirty of these aircraft made for a night fighter role. (In this article we have the only pictures of the A-1 nachtjäger known to myself).
The importance of this aircraft on the eastern front was understated by its small numbers. It was pressed into the night fighting role in a large part because of the Red Airforce’s policy of night interdiction and bombing campaign by units such as the Nachthexenor -“Night Witches” - flying slow but deadly Polikarpov Po-2 bombers which terrorised the Wehrmacht on the eastern front. Let’s stop with the history and the politics of model making and get on to the kit in hand.
Great Wall Hobby
Focke-Wulf Fw189A-1 “Nachtjäger”
Styrene Parts: 182 (grey and clear) on 6 sprues
32 P/E parts on one sheet
Canopy masks + Decals for one aircraft
Where I got mine: Airbrushes.com for £34.99
This kit comes in a sturdy medium sized box with some really nice artwork of one of the only aircraft recorded in photographic form, the aircraft “W7-CB”, Stab 1/NJG 100, based at Greifswald in 1945. This is the only aircraft featured on the deals in this release. It’s a really nice beginning to have some decent artwork on the kit for me. Also included in the box is a bonus small poster of the box art for you to hang on your wall as inspiration which is nice.
The good first impressions don’t stop there either – you get for your money six sprues of grey styrene bagged individually in re-sealable plastic bags. This is great as there is nothing worse than buffing out a kit with scratches all over it from rumbling around in one or maybe no bags to keep them safe (Revell & Hasegawa take note).
Instructions are in a black and white and some in colour. They are a glossy - well thought out booklet of ten pages which I was impressed by - although there are two errors to take note of. Because this is basically the same kit as the first recon version A-2 GWH (with all the parts to make the former except the decals) GWH have forgotten to tell you to remove the recon camera which certainly would have been the case in the original aircraft. As well as this GWH show the MG 151 is superfluous, but this is in fact required by this kit as is the included pilot figure ( if you use him its really up to you)- So a few typos there.
Other than this I like the clear way the diagrams are presented and also I like that the actual RLM colours are provided in the instructions (along with the Gunze colour numbers) so you can interpret your own shades instead of translating what the Gunze colours are and then translating this to your preferred paint choices.
I can see has no flash on the kit and only some small ejector pin marks to clean up inside the gear bays and nacelles. There are one or two sink marks on the boom tail and the engine covers where there are internal walls, but we will come to show you the easy fixes for these later in the build – nothing at all major or a big problem and I am happy with the moulding of this kit and the fine details such as fasteners and hinges which are plainly evident here.
Masks for the extensive birdcage canopy and instructions are shown here
The Canopy is moulded here twice, but only one of them with the hole nicely provided for the radar antennae to protrude from us used here. Great wall have done us all a favour here and provided a set of masks and a key on the instructions. I have been told though that these are rather”un-sticky” so either persevere or make some of your own, we will see their quality in the next part as well.
Great wall ship this clear plastic sprue in a padded pouch to keep it safe – such a great thing to do - I am sure it will be much appreciated by many modellers. Here is the profile of the canopy – only one to be used of course!
And some of the other transparencies including the tail gunner position...
The six sprues of grey and one clear styrene are complemented by a sheet of photo etch which is meant to be used for some of the smaller areas in the aircraft hard to replicate so delicately in plastic. Areas such as the flap well insides, main gear door interiors, gun sights, engine wiring and crew seat belts and pilot’s shoulder harness and foot pedals are represented here and make a nice touch (to those who are not adverse to P/E that is..)
The antenna array for the radar could have done with some metal replacements as it is just a tiny bit too thick for this connoisseur’s eye, though I am being picky now.
While on the antenna array the mounting is a little low on the glass frame but only marginally so, and the radar set is there but without the necessary oscilloscopes for the radar. I am not sure as well if the MG 151 cannon for the “Schräge Musik” configuration on the inside have Perspex over its unglazed ring, also whether the cannon could be faced forward or rearward, I would suggest rearward, it is really hard to tell with the lack of research material available on these small numbers of aircraft.
Other new parts in this release include the new tail cone section for the rear gunner with an enclosed MG 15 and some flame dampeners for the Argus engines. These engines have the P/E wiring option and can be posed open for inspection.
Now to inspect these engines GWH have included s inspection stands and chocks as a bonus to all of the diorama lovers out there to get a start with.
Separately moulded flight control surfaces are included for the ailerons, elevator and rudders and although the rudder texture is a bit hollow this can be partly filled with some fine filler like Mr.Surfacer before sanding and painting. Not a great deal for such a great set of options in the movable surfaces.
There are also some nice tyres here that are weighted and look the part. Together with strong but still scale thick lacking gear you won’t really need any aftermarket here maybe except for some wires from the spares box.
Decals are provided for one aircraft - nachtjäger “W7-CB”, Stab 1/NJG 100, based at Greifswald in 1945.We do have a picture of this plane, and it appears to me in the picture to be a disruptive spotted splinter camouflage – while the instructions call for a mix of RLM 75 Grey-violet on the top the regular underside colour of RLM 76 light blue. I would look hard into this before I come up with a final verdict, I’ll keep you posted as to my solution again in the second part of this build.
An on-line profile of the aircraft I found of the same aircraft
The colour call out given by GWH below – some difference maybe? We'll see!
The decals for the one aircraft are provided in a very matt sheet with Balkan crosses and the usual “safety first” approach of swastikas split into three parts, at least they are provided here! “No Step”, instrument panel, small data sheets and some superfluous NG3 fighter grouppe badges are provided here as well. All of the colours on the decal are true, the whites not opaque, and there are no overlapping edges or misprints, we will see how they apply later in part II of this review.
Next week before I start building I will look at the dry fit of several of the pieces of this kit to show you some more of its qualities.
Till then have fun!
AdamMy sincere thanks to Airbrushes.com who supplied this model to review