Tuesday, July 16

Read n' Reviewed: Model Aircraft Extra No. 1: Building the Focke Wulf Fw190 from MA Publications

The team from Model Air Publications, lead by Andy Evans has collected the works of thirteen (I know a lucky number) model builds of the famous Focke Wulf Fw 190 into one publication in the first of a new series of special editions. The aim of this new series is to compile some of the best model builds of the same type into the one volume, and what better place to start than the popular "Wurger" huh? We have the new publication and have read it, so why not let us tell you what is inside in our review? Go on - let's do it...

Read n' Reviewed: Model Aircraft Extra No. 1: Building the Focke Wulf Fw190
From: MA Publications LTD
Compiled by Andy Evans.
A4 Portrait format / Softcover
80 pages, full-colour photographs
The book contains thirteen builds.
Price: $35 Aud 
Product Link on the Creative Models Australia website
Landing on our desk last week was this new publication from MA (Model Aircraft)  Publishing. This "Extra", eighty-page (is it a book or a magazine I don't know) publication is has a narrow focus - the Focke Wulf  Fw 190 of WWII Luftwaffe fame.

The book in physical form:
Physically, the book's format is an A4 ( 297mm X 210mm) portrait format book with a shiny soft cover card that is flexible and bound in a thin spine that holds eighty pages. The book is in English text, and roughly half of the writing inside is in block text, with very high-quality pictures of the models being described making up roughly the other half. There are some pictures of the real thing in a historical round-up of the Fw 190 that are black and white period shots, well known to most modellers.

There are thirteen (wow!) builds of the Fw 190 in its various models, marques and in a few different scales from varied model manufacturers.  These have been gathered together by the very talented modeller Andy Evans, and it is the first in what is hoped to be a series of "Extras" on particular aircraft. Eighty pages - thirteen builds? A few of the sharper ones of you might be thinking up a few questions about this book already huh? Let's have a look at the contents bit by bit to show you what's really inside...
For those of you who do not know of this Fw 190 that I am speaking about (not many of you I'd wager), the history of the aircraft is described in concise text over four pages, with accompanying pictures from the time, all in black and white. This overview gives you a fair appreciation of the real thing, and how it was changed over it's stellar, but short service career. The writing is smart, with only one error I can see int he formatting - on page six there is a line of text that I thought was left out, but it was placed I think in error under the photo below the main text.
To support this history of the aircraft, and as a tool for modellers, there is a two-page spread of all of the known variants of this aircraft and all of its sub-types listed and briefly described. This is indeed a helpful tool for modellers to use to tell their A3 from their A4 - and their G8 R4 from their G8 R/5's...
The model builds:
Each of these builds cover a few pages - from four to six pages each. These builds are mostly shown painted or mostly completed, with block text covering the whole build in place of a step by step build process. Some people do like this block text approach, but I prefer the SBS (Step by step) with pictures at every step of the way. It is up to you what you prefer, and so let's look at each of these builds in detail.

The first of the thirteen builds is the Revell boxing in 32nd scale of the night-fighter radar-equipped Fw 190A-8/ R11. This simple kit in a larger scale is built by James Ashton, and over some fairly brief text of four pages, he describes both the kit and an overview more of his building experience than a model build.
The second build is by Chris Mc Dowell, and he takes on Eduard's excellent Fw-190D of the colourful JV 44 red and white striped underside "Doras" that as Chris describes, had these colourful stripes applied to the undersides of the aircraft to better identify them to their own AA gunners. Chris shows his kit in a few different phases of the build, and especially during the complicated masking and painting of the crimson and white undersides. Chris describes the differences between the two kits in the one box, the colours, materials and some of the techniques he used to make the model look so very striking - and what a lovely model he has made here.
Next off the line is a torpedo bomber! Yes, the 48th scale Dragon kit of the Fw 190 A-5/U14 kit is here displayed over four pages by James Ashton. James makes a wonderful looking "Tin-fish" Wurger here, but although there are no pictures of the build process, there is some text denoting how the kit came together, with some useful tips on how to get this ageing kit together - but just as much about the airframe and subtype. It depends if you like the airframe or the modelling part more as to wither you like this approach.
The 1/48th scale Revell Fw 190D is next, with its prominent extended tail and long-nose type modelled again by James Ashton. Four pages of pictures and text describe again, more of an overview of the model than the actual building OF the model. James tells us a little of the kit's foibles and of the Hataka paint set that he used to so skillfully paint the kit, but I would like more on the build itself.
Page thirty already? Christoff Theunissen is next up to bat - with six pages covering the build of his Fw 190F-8 ground attack aircraft. Although he does use the word "crisp" (#modellingcliches) to describe a model kit, Cristoff does get on with showing us the build in some better detail as he goes through the text. good pictures of some of the paint and construction scenes accompany this text, and over these pages, he does give us a much better appreciation of how he made such a great looking model from the new-tooled Revell 1/32nd kit.
"Black 13" is a story of the Fw 190A-5/U12 model from Hasegawa in 48th scale by Sun Ick Roh. This is the first model that we get to see the plastic of - with pictures of the build on the first page, however, my hopes for a more detailed build progression were dashed with more pictures of the completed model on the other three pages of the story. We do get to hear more about the pilot of the aircraft, Staffelkapitan of 2./ Jagdeschwader 11 Lieutenant Hondt.
The striking, striped Fw 190F-8 older-tool (2015 boxing) Revell kit in 32nd scale from James Ashton is next. Over four pages, James describes the use of Alclad's new paints on this kit and how he made a few adjustments to the model to make the most out of an already solid base. The impressive result of the completed model is only really shown (apart from a "nude" unpainted bomb) int he completed state.
"White 6", a Fw 190A-8 in 48th scale from Eduard is next. Modelled by Mario Serelle here, and we get six pages with several pictures of the build at various stages - this is more like it! Mario uses AMMO painting and weathering supplies it looks like exclusively in this model, and I liked the way that he showed as much of the build as he could instead of an overview of the whole process.
A beautiful "Dora" Fw 190D9 kit is next from the talented Marek VrzĂĄk. We see his combination of both the Eduard and the Tamiya 48th scale kits to make one super long-nosed variant of the type with an exposed engine, guns, radio compartment, detailed Aries wheel wells and several other aftermarket items to make an impressive kit. The model is not shown in any other state than completed, however, and again I would have liked to have seen more construction phases in these six pages. 
An Fw 190A-4 in 48th scale from Eduard is next. Modeller Jay Blackmore shows us his Wurger. Jay is a good writer, and he skillfully describes how he modelled painted and weathered not only the kit, but the exposed panels with the Brassin engines, the gun troughs, wheel wells. Jay is a talented modeller, with some scratch building and skilful painting over these six pages, this is more like it.
This impossible scheme of criss-crossed lines on the Fw 190A-4  "Yellow 6" flown by Wolfgang Leonhardt during WWII. The Eduard "weekend" kit in 48th is a smart choice for a quick build, and James Cann took some time off his movie career to make this kit into an impressive replica of the real thing as he describes over six pages. The painting of the kit - with the but-tightening lines is talked over, as were the Alclad, Vallejo and Mission Models paints that were used to bring out such a lovely job. A good balance of modelling and pictures here.
Next up, with two of my favourite Wurger schemes with the short-nosed twin build from the 48th scale Eduard Royal Class Edition special boxing. Jay Blakemore again shows us his skills over six pages as he describes both of the A3 & the A4 versions that can be built out of this boxing in 48th scale. There is a lot to fit in to this article - with two builds over six pages, and if anything we do not need to waste precious space taken up with the fourteen colour choices in the kit - we want more modellin' Jay😁. Jay does do a great job of explaining his choices, but more construction, painting and weathering next time would be even better. 
Jay Blakemore is back again with his late-model Fw 190A-8R from Eduard. This is one of my favourite variants, with a good back-story behind the extra features that make it the R8 as is described by Jay here. He gets six pages to  give us a good account of just how he made this model with a lot of block text, however, there are only pictures of the (very well done) model to show, and no pictures of construction, painting or weathering in action.
Three pages cover the last build in this book. this Fw 190A-4 from Eduard Models in 48th scale is built by David Branski, and the rare bird is captured very nicely but all-too briefly again in this article. More of an overview of the process than a step by step, the model is nonetheless as high of a standard as the others in this publication.
And that was all they wrote...

If you have been reading this review - well congratulations for sticking with me. There was a bit in it, but I think you have to show a little about each model as all modellers go about making and explaining their efforts in different ways. My one criticism of the book is that it is not deep enough. I would like to see more of these beautiful models from start to finish, more of the inspiration and more of the modeller's challenges and how they made the best out of the models they had. Sadly, pictures of completed models with a brief overview of the making of the kit leaves me needing more. Some out there may want to see 72nd scale Wurgers also - as only 48th & 32nd scale kits are featured in this book.

If you are looking for inspiration, however, look no further than this book. There are all types of schemes and ideas for potential Fw 190 model makers in this book to draw your modelling mojo from.

The modellers who made these kits must be congratulated on their skill, but please, let us in a bit more next time with some step-by-step journeys through your world huh?

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Creative Models Australia for sending this publication out for us to read & review...