One of the highlights of getting to go to the model shows are the vendor tables. Some are retail businesses or manufacturers and others are fellow modelers reducing their stashes. A good deal on an Fw 190D series kit is hard for me to pass up, these are a few show finds. The top kit was first issued by Hasegawa in 1992. It has been re-boxed several times and can still be built up into a nice representation. Also inside the box was another partially-started Hasegawa Dora from the earlier 1976 tool, which is a little rougher and has some accuracy issues. The lower box is Tamiya’s 2000 issue, with all the fine points we’ve come to expect from Tamiya.
The Tamiya kit has everything on a single sprue. The parts are crisply molded with fine, recessed detail. I’ve built several of these, really the only major vice is the shallow wheelwells with the closed center panel. The real Fw-190D series deleted the center panel in the wheelwell to allow room for the engine accessories. This is a common problem with Dora kits in 1/72 scale, many modelers let it go as the wheelwells are hard to see during normal viewing.
Here are the sprues for Hasegawa’s 1992 issue Dora. This is a nice kit, though not as finely molded as Tamiya’s. Hasegawa’s business plan is to re-use and re-release their kits in different versions, thus maximizing use of their molds. This kit shares parts with their radial engined Focke-Wulfs but with different fuselage pieces.
One of the oddballs from the end of the war is a variation of the Dora fitted with the tail of the Ta 152. There were three known aircraft in this configuration, Brown 4 is the best known and most popular among modelers. AML makes a conversion piece complete with decals. There are many interpretations of the paint scheme on this one, but this unique variant is hard for me to resist.
Here are the three fuselages compared, the 1976 Hasegawa kit on the top, 1992 issue in the middle, and Tamiya on the bottom. The earlier Hasegawa kit is showing its age. The rear sliding section of the canopy is molded as part of the fuselage, and the cockpit opening is too far back. The later Hasegawa and the Tamiya kits match up well in shape, with the Tamiya being slightly better detailed.
Here are the wings compared. Tamiya’s wing on the top again shows some fine detail, but the Tamiya engineers measured a museum aircraft fitted with a D-11 wing assembly, which has only a single shell ejector opening between the wheelwells. Hasegawa’s newer kit has the exhaust recess seen on the radial engine Focke-Wulfs because of the parts sharing. No shell ejector openings for the cowl guns at all on this one. The previous owner of the older Hasegawa on the bottom had already glued the wings together which will make opening up the wheelwells a little more interesting than usual!
Here the 1976 Hasegawa fuselage is compared to Tamiya’s. The cockpit opening is too far back, and I decided to simply cut off the rear section of the canopy and replace it with a better one from the spares box so I could pose the canopy open. The old kit will need some help with surface detail as well, and the molded-in exhaust stubs just aren’t working for me. Not the best kit to start with for a show-stopper, but improving the old kits is a good exercise and can be fun too!
Part II here: