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Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9
Superdetailing the Big Tail Dora

by Doowan Lee


Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9

Part One

building the wings, fuselage and engine

 Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 is available online from Squadron




This is Tamiya's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 detailed with several update sets and many scratch-built parts.


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Wings and Tail

Since the Fw 190D-9 is a very popular WW II airplane, I was looking for something that had not been done.

Having reviewed as many internet model articles on the airplane as possible, I realized that few Fw 190D-9s had both a superdetailed Ta-152 tail and wheel well. The wheel well could be precisely correctly with the MDC update set. However, superdetailing the big tail was a bit more complicated task than I expected since I couldn’t just use aftermarket resin tails. An easier solution would’ve been kit-bashing an Italeri Ta-152H kit. However, I didn’t feel like wasting money and a perfectly fine kit. As a result, I ended up using a regular tail and heavily modify it with putty and my trusty dremel tool. The tail wheel service panel was easy to simulate since I had all the necessary parts from the FM detail Fw 190D-9 update set.

Modifying the outside was a completely different story. In retrospect, I would’ve saved a lot of time and trouble by simply kit-bashing the Italeri Ta-152H.


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For the wings, I had to correct several panel lines which were omitted in Tamiya’s 190D-9. I used Parts and Accessories’ flaps and Cutting Edge’s control surfaces. Fitting the flaps was pretty tricky and required many hours with my dremel tool. The flaps themselves required a lot of careful bending and assembly, but the details were excellent.


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Next was simulating rivet marks.

I have studied all my reference photos on the aircraft and realized that the surface was not very smooth at all.

Although I tried to justify not doing this tedious time-consuming detailing, all the reference photos of the 190D-9 showed fairly visible rivet marks even from a distance. In fact, in almost all close photos, I could see distinct and worn-out rivet marks throughout the aircraft. Rivet marks were especially visible around the cockpit and accessible panels and hatches.

This observation led me to simulate rivet marks on the entire model. Relying heavily on “Aero Detail: Fw 190D,” I used a sharp scribing pin to individually simulate the rivets. Although it was very time consuming to say the least, I think this is the best way to do the job. I tried different types of metal gear wheels and other tools, but they did not give me the exact round shape or density of the rivet marks. I used masking tape to guide each panel lines.
It took a few days plus a couple of blisters on my thumb. Well, there was no deadline, thus I went on with the task. I paid extra attention to keep the rivet marks subtle. This is done by sanding the entire aircraft with 2000 grit sandpaper until the rivet marks were subtle enough to be seen in close proximity but fade away from a distance. In retrospect, I am happy with what I did to simulate rivets all over the plane. However, I don’t think this will be something I would do on a regular basis for my future projects.


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Fuselage and Engine

As for the engine, I compared several aftermarket sets. Aires’ engine looked great and dynamic but a little oversized. Verlinden’s engine was nice, but undersized and a bit simplified. After measuring and comparing with all the reference books I have, I concluded FM Detail’s interpretation of the Juno engine was the most accurate. The support rails attached to the engine were scratch-built as well. I relied on Brett Green’s Fw 190D-9 close-up article at http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/fw190d9enginereferencebg_1.htm for wiring and extra detailing.


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I am particularly pleased with the cowling support rails I built from scratch. Also, the supporting arms of the engines seem too thin compared to reference pictures. I used aluminum tubes instead. I think they have to pretty thick and sturdy to support the weight of the engine. Other than that, the FM details’ engine and detail parts are just fantastic, well worth the price.

The radiator cowl ring received some extra detailing too. I added small tube-shaped openings at 6 and 12 o’clock. Also drilled out a small hole at the bottom panel line. Lastly, I also added rivet marks around the cowl ring. I might have overdone the rivet marks, the painting made them subtle enough. (cowlingparts02.jpg, radiator-cowling-prewashed01.jpg, brown4_51.jpg, brown4_79.jpg around here) I used MDC’s beautiful spinner and propellers instead of the parts that came with the kit.

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The radio comes from Aires’ Luftwaffe radio set. All the small hatches were scratch-built. The center auxiliary fuel tank is also scratch-built. I could’ve used the Verlinden update part, but I didn’t like the detail and look of it. I also added fastening clips to the harness of the tank. I then scratch-built the starter crank and placed it next to the auxiliary tank. A lot of frames and wires were added to make sure the fuel tank had the right background looks. Once they were painted and washed, I added the enervator control cables. A couple of small fuel ‘caps’ were opened and scratch-built.


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I found a nice drawing of the fuel tank compartment in the Mechanics of Bf 109 and Fw 190. I’ve always found simulating the mechanical looks of airplanes challenging and satisfying. Naturally, I decided to open the compartment and show the fuel tank harness. First, the compartment panels were removed from the lower wing. I used my Dremel tool to thin the surrounding areas to get the right scale thickness. Frankly, it was a very tedious process that I intend not to repeat in the foreseeable future… Then it was just cutting the right plastic panels, drilling holes, and putting them together. Once painted and weathered, it was inserted into the fuselage.

Fitting the compartment to the frame was particularly challenging for a couple of reasons. First, the floor of the cockpit was a bit too thick which made the compartment protrude too much. Time to summon my trusty dremel… Second, both fuselages had to be thinned substantially since I failed to calculate for the thickness of the kit parts. This is where I should’ve compromised accuracy a little for a better fit. Once again, time to summon my trusty dremel.. There was also an unforeseen problem as well. Now that the fuselage parts had been thinned to the extent for them to look translucent, I punctured through them several times while I was embossing rivet marks around the cockpit. Time to summon putty and sand paper… Of course, the wing didn’t fit well with the compartment despite my ‘sincerest’ efforts to calculate everything in 1/10 millimeter. Time to summon my trusty dremel, putty and sand paper.

The result is very satisfying, but only in retrospect.


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End of Part One

Go to Part Two - landing gear, cockpit, painting, markings and weathering

Go to Part Three - Gallery of Additional Images


Focke-Wulf 190
Modelling Manuals 20

US Price: $17.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: May 25, 2002
Details: 64 pages; ISBN: 1841762687
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2004 by Doowan Lee
Page Created 23 February, 2004
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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