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Tamiya's 1/48 scale Fw 190A-8/R2
Bodenplatte Sturmbock

by Brett Green


Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 is available online from Squadron




Tamiya released the first of their 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190 kits in the mid 1990s. These two kits - a Fw 190A-3 and an F-8 - were very easy to build and well detailed, but they were not perfect. The main problems were undersized undercarriage legs and main wheels. This resulted in a somewhat squat appearance when compared to the Dragon Wurgers that had been released some years earlier.

Even so, Tamiya's kit established a loyal following due to its the sheer buildability when compared to the trickier to assemble, but more accurate, Dragon offering.

The only Tamiya Wurger that I had previously built was a sole Fw 190F-8 back in 1999. The speed and ease of assembly was impressive, to say the least.

In late 2005 Tamiya released a new variation on the theme - a 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 / A-8/R2 kit.


What's in the Box?

I was curious to see how Tamiya would approach the changes to their basic moulds in order to deliver the tough-looking, heavily armed and sturdily armoured Stormbock variant.



At first glance, Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 looks very similar to the earlier Fw 190F-8 kit. Indeed, the main sprues hold the same parts, including redundant weapons unique to the F-8.

The biggest difference is the inclusion of a new sprue with a broad-bladed propeller, new wing cannon covers and shell ejector inserts, and other details specific to the A-8. I believe that the Sturmbock used the same VDM propeller blades as the Fw 190D-9. Tamiya already offers a D-9 kit and its propeller blades, while not perfect, are not too bad. The prop blades supplied with this new kit are totally new mouldings, and they are not an improvement. The new propeller assembly is too small in diameter, and the profile looks peculiar.

Examining the wings also reveals some tooling changes. Most notably, there are now cutouts on the bottom of the wing to accommodate a selection of different inserts depending on the variant being built.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

This new kit includes revised clear parts. In addition to the standard and blown hoods, Tamiya has supplied the canopy armoured side panels. These include an accurately raised frame, and are very nicely done. Only one style of windscreen is included though (some Sturmbocks were fitted with appliqué armoured glass panels on the side of the windscreen too).

Also new is a canopy masking sheet. This is a very nice touch, but the individual masks are not die-cut. You do have to cut the shapes out yourself.

The final multimedia element is a self-adhesive vinyl (?) sheet with the fuselage armour plates. Lines dividing the individual plates and fasteners are recessed into the material but, once again, the modeller must cut them out with a sharp knife.

The kit parts most complained about from the earlier releases - wheels, undercarriage legs and slightly bulbous gun cowl - are unchanged.





I wanted to build this kit specifically to be photographed in flight. In the past I have attempted a few different methods for simulating flight. I have used a hair dryer to spin the propeller, installed photo-etched "Prop-Blur", and even attempted to add a blurred propeller in Photoshop. All these methods work in a fashion, but they all have their disadvantages too.

This time I decided to install a small electric motor. In 2002, Tamiya re-released their Fw 190A-3 kit with a tiny motor to spin the propeller. Comparison of the two kits suggested that I could install the motor in the new Fw 190A-8/R2 with only minor modifications.

First, though, I assembled and painted the cockpit, engine, wheel bay and the remaining interior parts. Most of the parts were pre-painted and weathered while they were still on the sprue. I did not spend a lot of time detailing the cockpit as the canopy would be closed, and the seated pilot would hide much of the detail anyway.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The pilot was painted with a combination of Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics, followed by a selective oil wash.

Next, the fuselage armour was cut out of the self-adhesive vinyl sheet. I used a steel rule and a new blade in my hobby knife for this task. I was concerned about how well this material would stick to the kit plastic, but they settled very well. However, I did not cut off the small bumps under the windscreen before applying the armour pieces. The result was a noticeable lump under the thin material. I managed to lift the edge of the armour, slice the lump off the fuselage, and relay the vinyl without any loss of adhesion.

The front of the engine mounting post was cut open in preparation for installation of the electric motor. The image below shows how much plastic I cut out of this area.

A hole must also be cut into the bottom of the wing to feed out the electrical wire for the battery.

I applied a spot of super glue to each side of the little motor, and slid it into the rear of the plastic engine part.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

In common with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8 that I built back in 1999, the balance of construction was almost embarrassingly fast.

With the cockpit, engine and wheel wells pre-painted, assembling the fuselage, the multi-part cowl, wings and tailplanes took less than three hours. This included the time required to remove parts from the sprues and clean them up. Quite remarkable.

I only encountered one minor alignment issue during construction. Test fitting suggested that there might be a tiny gap at the wing root, so I installed a spreader bar (simply a length of plastic cut from the kit sprue) between the fuselage halves.


Note the lump under the windscreen beneath the vinyl armour sheet. The armour was later lifted and the lump sliced off.

During the course of construction I noticed a few other minor engineering modifications to the original kit parts, including a new undercut at the front of the gun cowl to accommodate the gun trough inserts.

The kit propeller was replaced with a part raided from Tamiya's Fw 190D-9.

I managed to break off one of the 20mm cannon barrels that are moulded to the wing, so I cut off the other one too and replaced them with brass tube.

Not a spot of putty was required on the entire airframe.



Painting and Markings


Yellow is always tricky.

I often have trouble getting yellow paint to cover properly. I also find that acrylic yellows take a long time to dry and are very prone to fingerprints and damage even weeks after application. This time I decided to try to avoid these problems. I started with a coat of white primer on the lower cowl. This was lightly sanded and polished before spraying a coat of Tamiya Spray TS-34 "Camel Yellow" on the area. I decanted a quantity of this gloss yellow paint from the can into a disposable container and applied the paint using my Aztek airbrush. This acrylic lacquer still needed two coats over the white primer, but it dried fast and coped well with subsequent handling.

My Sturmbock was one of three Luftwaffe models that I was painting in the same session. To save time, I sprayed all three models with an overall base coat of Tamiya AS-5 Light Blue (Luftwaffe) straight from the can. By the time I had finished spraying the first light coat on the last model, the first was ready for its next (and final) coat of the colour.

I applied a random mottle over the lower surfaces and fuselage sides using Gunze acrylic H417, RLM 76. This noticeably paler shade delivered a pleasingly uneven finish - the first stage of weathering.

Next, Polly Scale RLM 75 was applied to the top of the wings, tailplanes and fuselage spine with the Testor Aztek airbrush fitted with the fine tan coloured tip. A first-pass mottle of RLM 75 was also sprayed onto the fuselage sides and fin. Similar to the treatment of the RLM 76, a paler shade of RLM 75 was mixed. Small, random streaks were sprayed over the base colour.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

This was followed by a disruptive coat of RLM 74. I used a mix of Gunze acrylic RLM 74 with a few spots of dark green.

A mask was cut out of a self-adhesive Post-It Note to assist painting the grey area behind the fuselage cross.

The fuselage mottle on the real aircraft was quite messy, suggesting several oversprays and repairs. I tried to reproduce this look by randomly overspraying the heavy fuselage mottle with RLM 76 Light Blue, then restoring some of the mottling with RLM 74 and RLM 75.

With the basic camouflage in place, it was time to attend to the detail parts. I cut the canopy masks out of the kit-supplied sheet. Fit was good, and the masks adhered well to the plastic. I did get a little "bleeding" of paint under the masks at the top of the canopy where there is a compound curve. Next time I will burnish the masks down with a toothpick to avoid this problem.

Tamiya supplies two styles of mask for the sides of the windscreen. The smaller masks presumably represent the armoured glass. This actually works quite well as an illusion. Another nice touch is that masks are supplied for both the inside and the outside of the armoured glass panels.



The panel behind each side of the engine cowling was masked and sprayed with a 50/50 mix of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black and XF-63 German Grey. The spinner and propeller blades were painted RLM 70 using Polly Scale acrylics.

The airframe now received an overall coat of Polly Scale Gloss in preparation for the decals.


I was planning to finish my Sturmbock in the markings of Oskar Bosch, according to a photograph in the excellent Hikoki book, "Bodeplatte - The Luftwaffe's Last Hope". I could not find any after market decals with these markings, so I resorted to an old Aeromaster sheet with black Luftwaffe numbers. The "4"s on this sheet did not quite conform to the photograph, so I modified them slightly by slicing a small amount off the diagonal of the digits.



Tamiya decals were used for the balance of the markings. The kit decal sheet is great, with five marking options for JG 3 and JG 300. I have heard complaints that Tamiya decals are thick, but these markings conformed well to panel lines and the surrounding film virtually disappeared under a coat of Flat Clear.

Finishing Touches

Some additional weathering was applied after the decals had set. I sprayed a very thin mix of Flat Black and Red Brown along panel lines and camouflage demarcation. I have described and demonstrated this post-shading technique on two recent "Testor's ScaleWorkshop" videos.

The final step of weathering was a thin wash of Raw Umber oil paint flowed into panel lines.

The paint job was sealed with a coat of Polly Scale Flat acrylic, then smaller details such as the 20mm gun barrels, canopy, DF loop, Morane mast and propeller assembly were attached. The stubby 30mm cannon barrels provided in the kit have hollowed-out muzzles - very nice!

The kit pitot tube was replaced with a filament from an industrial light bulb.

E-Z Line was used for the aerial wire. This elastic material is easy to work with and, being elastic, is more resistant to handling than nylon thread. Isolators were built up from tiny spots of Micro Krystal Kleer.

I took the in-flight photos before attaching the landing gear and drop tank.



A breather tube was inserted in the front of the drop tank from fine brass tube, then the drop tank was painted and weathered.

Although they are undersized, I used the kit undercarriage legs and main wheels. Replacements for both these items are available (gear legs from either Wurger Mechanic or Airwaves, and wheels from Eagle Editions). Next time I will use the replacements for a comparison.





Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 / A-8/R2 kit is not perfect. In fact, this release seems to have introduced at least one new error (the propeller assembly) and corrected none of the problems of the original kits.

Even so, it makes a very attractive model when completed, and I can forgive these relatively minor problems and easily addressable problems when I consider just how well the kit goes together.

Construction is sheer joy.


The hangar and construction photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 digital camera and optimized in Photoshop CS.

The model was photographed on a cardboard base against a photo of a German hangar. The cardboard base was given a snowy appearance by sprinkling the surface with baking soda.



The in-flight photo was taken with a Nikon D70 digital camera against a plain grey background with the model's motor connected to a AA battery. The aircraft image was merged with a photo of a cloudy sky in Photoshop CS.

Finally, the images were cropped, resized to 700 pixels in width, and saved as .jpg files for posting on HyperScale.


Model, Images & Text Copyright © 2006 by Brett Green
Page Created 13 February, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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