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

by Doowan Lee


Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9

Part Two

landing gear, cockpit, painting, markings and weathering

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Part Two - Construction Continues


Landing Gears and Wheel Well

Inspired by Robert Stephenson and E. Brown Ryle’s article on Fw 190 landing gear in HyperScale at http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/fw190landinggear_2.htm and http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/fw190landinggear_1.htm , I decided to build a correct wheel well and landing gears.

After looking at the schematics in the Mechanics of BF-109 and Fw 190, I realized that both Tamiya and Italeri had not only inaccurate, but also simplified wheel well parts. For instance, the inner walls of the well have several circular holes, which are completely absent in both of the kits. My solution was to use MDC’s update set for the middle part of the wheel well and scratch-built the rest. After many hours of drawing, planning, cutting and dry fitting, the result was quite satisfying.



Landing gears are inserted vertically (well almost vertically) in both Tamiya’s and Italeri’s kits. Although this is perhaps the right way to engineer the landing gears to give them enough structural stability, it is not accurate. I decided to look at the schematics and correct this inaccuracy. That entailed lengthening the landing gears, adding connector rods, reducing the size of the square blocks, adding break wires etc.

Getting the right angle of the connector rods (the bend) was a bit tricky. But the effort paid off when the landing gears were finally attached to the wheel well.

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I also added springs and wires to the retraction arms. I had to lengthen the retraction arms both for the appearance and structural reasons. Since my corrected main landing gears are now inserted horizontally, I needed the precise length of the retraction struts to get the right angle and to give the landing gears enough structural rigidity. Having done all these corrections and modifications, it’s sort of disappointing since the results are not that visible. I take comfort in that at least they are mechanically correct. I also added 6 gear door attachment struts to each main landing gear. The tail landing gear is from the DML/Italeri FW 190D-9. Frankly, Tamiya’s counterpart is over simplified. I added towing tubes to the sides of the tail landing gear. I used MDC’s beautifully cast tires. What can I say? These are not only beautiful, but also designed to look absolutely correct and to help the modeler paint them. Just beautiful stuff no matter how many times I have used them.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


I compared the morane antennas that came with the kit and the FM detail set.

I was not satisfied with either since Tamiya’s antenna was too tick especially at the bottom tip, and FM’s one was too thin at the top. My solution was to combine the two. I slightly thinned the upper part from the kit and cut the bottom part. The same part was cut off from the FM PE set and added to the slightly thinned Tamiya part.




For the cockpit, I compared several kit parts and aftermarket update sets. Having tried several permutations of all the cockpit parts I gathered, I concluded that the best combination is to use MDC’s tub, control stick, seat, and instrument panels, and instrument decals from the Tamiya Fw 190D-9 JV-44. Using the combination of MDC”s panel, Tamiya’s decals, and Future drops on the dials looked much better and more three-dimensional than using
films and PE instrument panels from FM details or Aires.


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I thought about using Eduardo Accessories’ painted Luftwaffe PE seatbelts, but the seat from MDC had such beautifully cast seatbelts. FM Detail’s and Aires’ PE seatbelts are also adequate, but that they are quite oversized. I also scribed canopy rails on the fuselage around the cockpit area.



Painting and Markings


I had to think about how to paint the Dora for a few days since I wanted to find a way to make the rivets just visible yet subtle. I tried several permutations of washing, preshading, postshading, and painting. After several tests, I concluded the best solution was to prewash the whole airplane to darken all rivet marks, preshade, paint, and postshade. I was tempted to wash it again to make the rivet marks a bit darker and visible, but I managed to refrain. The whole logic was to make the rivets just visible enough and subtle, but never exaggerated. In overall, I am pretty happy with the results, although I really had to fight the temptation to wash the rivets over and over again.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The camouflage pattern was pretty difficult. After a great deal of research and speculation, I decided to go with Mark Tucker’s interpretation on HyperScale at . I frankly believe nobody can be absolutely correct on the camouflage patterns and colors of Brown 4. I think Tucker’s interpretation is logical and intuitive. Why waste time when someone has done all the research already?

Like his article, my interpretation is a combination of several sources, including Exterpen’s decal sheet, Eagle Cal’s decal sheet, and Green Hearts: First in Combat with the Dora 9.

I followed Mark Tucker’s interpretation except the tail. I agree with Mark Tucker that it is quite difficult to see visible mottling pattern from the pictures in Green Hearts: First in Combat with the Dora 9. However, I did think there were some overpainted patterns on the tail and definitely some mottling around the joint of fuselage and the tail. This led me to apply subtle mottling to the tail.

The underside is painted to represent natural metal, Green-Blue, and RLM 76.

The natural metal finish was simulated by painting the whole area with a mix of silver and flat aluminum followed a heavy coat of flat base and heavily thinned rust. After this process, I followed the regular steps.

After a coat of Future, I applied the decals supplied by EagleCal. As usual, I used the Gunze softener for tricky surfaces and the micro set solution for flatter areas. After a couple of days, I applied another coat of Future to the Dora. When it was completely dried, I did more post shading with individual colors thinned a little with flat white to given the entire aircraft a worn-out and faded look. After another coat of Future, I weathered the Dora with various shades of burned umber oil paint.

Reflecting this Doras’ field conditions, I applied heavy weathering. If it is too clean, it just doesn’t look like a fighting machine to me.

Everything was sealed with a couple of thin coats of Testors’ flat finish. Then, I used a silver pencil to steadily simulate scratches and chipped paints. The rationale of the whole painting process is to achieve a ‘subtle, subtle and subtle’ mix of wear and detail.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:






I didn't really log my hours for this project, but it seems to have taken forever to finish.

As usual, disasters always accompanied the entire process of building and painting the aircraft. There were a couple of times when I thought I got myself into something impossible to finish, especially when the left fuselage got ripped because it was thinned so much.

Of course, I dropped the model a few times breaking the landing gears and flaps. I don’t know, they just happen before I finish any model.

The last minute disaster was to realize that some of the decals got chipped off while I was taking pictures for this article. Reluctantly, I had to pick up my airbrush, paint, silver pencil, and flat finish again…



The completed model is my only consolation.

Would I superdetail another Dora after such agony and pain? Well, a couple of more ripped Doras in the pipeline already…


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

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