Airframe & Miniature series No.7
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Radial-engine Versions
A Complete Guide to the Luftwaffe’s Butcher Bird by Richard A. Franks.
by Richard A. Franks
Available thru Valiant Wings Distributors and Directly from their website
£18.95 + P&P
Valiant Wings Publishing’s seventh title in Airframe & Miniature series features and aircraft that has just been announced as a new tooling from a major manufacturer - coincidence we think not! And so what good timing it is to see a book in this series on one of the most popular fighters of WWII the Radial-engine Versions (including A, B, C, F, G & S) of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
“Focke-Wulf Fw 190 – A Complete Guide to the Luftwaffe’s Butcher Bird by Richard A. Franks.” Is a change in the format in that it has been further increased in page numbers to reflect the depth of material uncovered by such a well-known and popular example - this book is a hefty 224 pages in a thick A4 sized book with a glossy but soft cover.
This portrait formatted book is otherwise very similar to the other books in this series which is a good thing. This series is usually a great “all in one” book that you can use for most of your modelling reference. Was this book any different to it’s predecessors? We thought we would take you through pointing out the main parts of each chapter…
The book starts off with a helpful glossary of German and aircraft terms used throughout this book and then we launch into a brief introduction of several pages telling us a little about each of the Fw-190 variants looked at in this book as well as the concept behind it’s development with some interesting pictures of drawings and plans of the aircraft in conception.
This intro is just a taster to the next section which is a step by step plan of the evolution of this aircraft. Firstly we look at the prototype Fw-190 with the pointed aerodynamic nose before Focke-Wulf soon looked past this potential lethal (and very hot cockpit) to the radial engine “A” variants in the series and then in the later “F” and “G” variants.
For each of these aircraft and even slightly different sub variants we get a side on line drawing and informative text telling of the changes to each airframe and what might have moved or changed from the previous model. You get to see many unique airframes and side steps as well as miss-steps like the inline engine “Kangaroo”, the twin seater, the A-7 with slipper tanks on the wings, a Wurger with a turbojet and fixed upward firing guns as well as Soviet engine variants – I never knew there were so many types of this kite. The book gives you insight into just how and when the changes were made and the camouflage and colours which really helps especially on the experimental airframes.
Speaking of camouflage and markings there is section devoted exclusively to that area of interest and gee it is a cloudy arena so it is good to see some in depth discussion.
The colours reproduced in modern times from black and white photos and often hazy memories and often false information makes this discussion sometimes a minefield for modellers just wanting to get their model right. At least the author tries to give as balanced and well researched view as he can. If there is ever a doubt (all too often in this field) you are given a pointed “?” which lets you know that the author cannot bet his life on it although I can see from this text that they are as well informed as they could be about the type.
There are a few pages covering the varied nose and tail colours you might have come across on a round nosed’ 190 - the “farbton” (colours) as they were called of the whole service life of the Wurger are talked about and illustrated in several line drawings and informative text. The underwing, uppersurfaces and even exhaust “falcon” patterns are shown in full colour which is a great help.
There are several diagrams for those who need to brush up on this aircraft rank squadron markings and national marking patterns. These are really handy to firstly remind you of what the markings mean (if you forgot like I did) and also with the modelling of your own kite. These go beyond most people’s ideas of a basic camouflage description on this aircraft.
Quite logically this colours section leads into six pages of colour side view profiles by Richard J. Caruana. Each of these pages has four schemes on each of them. From the A3 variant to the latest F-9 and G-8 models you get to see some interesting and obscure as well as well-known aces. These get me thinking of what my next model of this show might look like and apart from the inspiration these very well drawn profiles show you the variation of colours and heraldry of the unit or pilot in a drawing next to the profile.
Now we get into the plastic – each of the models you might find this aircraft in are now shown in a review section. The open box and cover art as well as decals are shown in a small picture as well as a brief write up in several paragraphs of each of the kit in each scale starting at 144th scale thru 24th scale from Mark I models obscurity thru to Revell Hasegawa and Eduard. Actually there are every new tool Eduard Fw-190’s in 48th scale looked at which is a surprise for me. This is an extensive section and a good guide if you want to dip into the modelling market and am not sure of the differences of the kits on the market.
There are six different builds of the short nosed Wurger in 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales next in the book – each are very well build models with great picture of some of the nicer completed elements of each kit. These kits are built by the noted modellers Libor Jekl, Steve A. Evans and Daniel Zamarbide Suarez and each of them make some enviable kits with great text to help you emulate their success.
One of my favourite sections in these series of books is the “building a collection” section in which we get a series of 3D isometric line drawings of all variants of the aircraft by Jacek Jackiewicz. This section takes you through, step by step and evolutionary chance from it’s ancestor and describes in a way so easy to follow. The prototype right through to last war variants (with all of the special prototypes and weapons packs) are shown and interestingly the recent flying replicas from the Flug-Werk company are here.
This part of the book is a whopping forty-five pages and I can only congratulate Valiant for the amount of work that is here and the earlier line drawings and descriptions sections.
Next is a section for the detail freaks and historians as well as people who just need to know – the whole of the Fw-190 is captured in more detail in the next section – several walk around pictures and technical diagrams cover every part of the Wurger inside and out. Period, restoration and technical drawings aid your understanding of just how this aircraft worked and what it looks like close up inside and out. The occasional reference picture is captioned as well which helps you understand the workings of the aeroplane. This is a really very good section especially for modellers and scratch builders..
After the extensive bibliography where you can find pretty much every book on the Butcher bird there is a real bonus for the modeller in a set of fold-out 1/48th scale plans which I suppose will please most modellers due to the popular scale but geez I would love some 1/32nd scale plans. There are PLENTY of 72nd scale drawings out there and although this is a great idea and executed with a lot of class to capture most of the market – well – I had to pick at something didn’t I?
The same good quality read as the other books in the series but with more pages and info – what is there to dislike? Another comprehensive all-in one from Valiant Wings who really do have this section of the market stitched up. If you were to have just one book on the short nosed Fw-190….
You can get yours by ordering thru the Valiant Wings website, www.valiant-wings.co.uk, or by ‘phone on 01234 273434 (+44 1234 273434 if calling from outside the UK) or by writing to:
Valiant Wings Publishing
8 West Grove
Also available from all good specialist bookshops, retailers and ADH Books.