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Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9

by Jeffery S. Harrison


Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9


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"Sherman, is the wayback machine ready?"

"Sure thing Mr. Peabody. Where are we going today?"

"We're going into the deepest, darkest recesses of antiquity. Set the wayback machine for November 1992 - we're going to Philadelphia."

November, 1992. I still live in civilization, still build satellites for a living, George Bush is about to lose his bid for re-election, Eagle Editions is 6 years away from releasing their first decal sheet, I won't own a computer for another a year, sites like Hyper Scale are unheard of, THE reference for painting Luftwaffe aircraft is The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935--1945 and I still actually complete models.

At this time I was working on a Trimaster FW 190A-8 for a club contest and was less than thrilled with the progress I was making. I wasn't really into the notion of repairing whatever it was that was wrong (probably the nose) so I decided that I'd start a new project instead. I had a little under three weeks to the contest and chose the Trimaster FW 190D-9 as the replacement.

At some point I had been looking through the Broken Eagles 1 book, written by Carl Hildebrandt and published by Fighter Pictorials, and had come across a photograph of what appeared to be Ta 152 tail section with a GI standing on the right horizontal stabilizer. The author identified the tail as belonging to a FW 190D-9 and claimed that the RVD band was yellow-white-yellow even though the color appeared darker (he claimed the dark bands were a result of using orthochromatic film). This became the basis for my project.

Knowing what I wanted to do the next step was to figure out how to accomplish it. I turned again to Trimaster. A year or so before I had built the Trimaster FW 190D-12 (kit #MA-2) by 'accident'. Really, it was an accident. I had been playing around with the kit seeing how everything fit and before too long I had most of the major parts of the airframe complete. At which point I decided to finish it and did so. There were no fit problems at all and this is what led to my choice of the D-9 kit for the contest. Trimaster also had model of a FW 190D-12 Torpedoflugzeug which happens to have the enlarged tail section of the Ta 152. I knew I could switch the fuselage halves of this kit with those of the 190D-9 for the project I had in mind.

With my project decided, a game plan in place and the deadline fast approaching it was time for me to get started.




Construction Chronology


Monday, November 9th, 19:00 local

Work begins. Over the next 3.5 hours I assembled the fuselage, painted and installed the gun cowl, inserted the cockpit and began working on the wheel wells. I was helped by the fact that the cockpit had already been completed when I started this project. It is the Verlinden cockpit for the FW 190A-8 and had originally been intended for the project I had been working on prior to this one. Yes, that is the wrong cockpit but it was available and the differences are small enough that nobody would call me on it. Aside from the new cockpit and the wing tip navigation lights the rest of the project was done using the parts found in the kit.

Tuesday, November 10th, 16:30 local

Day 2 finds me working on the wings. By the end of day 2 I had built and attached the wings, cleaned up all the seams, re-scribed any panel lines that had been damaged and painted the bottom color. With two days of work completed I've managed to put in 7 hours plus an estimated 3 spent earlier on the cockpit.

Wednesday, November 11th, 17:45 local

Day 3 was largely spent on painting the camouflage and cleaning some seams. The first hour saw the photo-etched reinforcing plates (?) attached to the wing roots and some minor seams were touched up. Hour two saw the horizontal stabilizers get cleaned up, the bottom got a little touch up and most of the RLM 81 upper camouflage color was applied. The last Hour had the gun sight painted and installed, some detail painting was completed in the cockpit, the canopy was tacked on and the bulk of the RLM 83 camouflage was applied. Not too bad -- three days into the project, approximately 13 hours of work and I have a mostly complete airframe with the bulk of the camouflage applied.

I'd like to make a brief comment at this point. The color designations I'm using in this article are what were 'correct' at the time of the build. At the time RLM 83 was the lighter of the colors 82, and 83 while the greenish bottom color was tentatively identified as RLM 84 though nobody had found proof of that yet.

Thursday, November 12th, 17:45 local

Day 4 and I've permanently attached the canopy, attached the horizontal stabilizers, assembled/painted the cowl and then did some touch up of the camouflage.

Friday, November 13th, 16:15 local

Day 5 was pretty light, guess I needed a break. I only worked for 1.25 hours and spent that time cleaning up the camouflage.

Saturday, November 14th, 08:45 local

Day 6 started bright and early. I was actually working on the model by 8:45 in the morning (those who know me can tell you that this is practically bedtime for me most of the time -- I'm definitely what you'd call a night owl). The first part of the day (8:45-10:30) was spent attaching the cowl, doing some final touch up of the camouflage and painting the RVD bands. Later on (3:15-4:30) I touched up the RVD bands, gloss coated the model and started decaling. I finished up with one final session (5:30-6:00) where I added some more decals.

Sunday, November 15th, 20:15 local

Day 7 saw the decaling finished. I then chased any silvering and started working on the landing gear.

To summarize the events so far. I'm 7 days into the project with 5 remaining until our club meeting/contest. I have put about 17.75 hours work into it (plus approximately 3 for the cockpit) and now have a complete airframe that has been camouflaged and has most of its decals in place. Things are looking good but I'm not done yet...

Monday, November 16th, 18:00 local

Day 8 dawned a blustery gray day that was threatening the region with its first snowfall of the season...OK, I don't remember what the weather was like, it was 10 years ago but it sounded good. Anyway the first part of the night (6:00-8:00) was spent chasing the last of the silver, prepping the landing gear for painting, painting the gear doors and applying the final gloss coat over the decals. Later that night (10:45-12:15) I highlighted the panel lines (a technique I've since decided I don't care for) and then applied the flat coat.

Tuesday, November 17th, 21:00 local

Day 9 was used to paint the wheels and landing gear and then to paint and install the exhaust stacks. After that I sprayed the exhaust stains as a kick-off for the weathering process.

Wednesday, November 18th, 19:15 local

Day 10 and I'm into the slow stuff now. No more major changes during a modeling session. Over the next 3 hours I built/attached the pitot tube, landing gear, boarding step and IFF antenna. I also unmasked the canopy, added the main gear doors and did any clean up to the paint/weathering that was required. Things are definitely slowing down.

Thursday, November 19th, 15:00 local

Day 11 and I'm running out of time, the contest is tomorrow -- fortunately I'm also running out of things to do. This is my last big push and I worked for a total of 6.5 hours in 3 different sessions.



In that time I attacked what seemed to be a never-ending list of details. I attached and/or painted the bomb rack, morane mast, tail wheel, flap indicators, tail light, prop, wing cannons, gear down indicators, exhaust deflector, antennas, seat belts and finally I made and attached the wing tip lights, applied the spiral decal to the spinner and did some more weathering.

Friday, November 20th, 16:15 local

Day 12. It's the day of the contest and I'm doing the final touches. I attached the shoulder harness, did a little more clean up and broke off the radio antenna (never did manage to re-attach that).

Grand total for the project was 12 days and 36.75 hours. I even managed to pull off a first place in the contest.



Construction Notes


For this project I used two Trimaster kits. The FW190D-9 Langnasen-Dora (MA-1) and the FW190D-12 Torpedoflugzeug (MA-15). Additionally I used a MSAP decal sheep for the Blue 9 and third group bars in the RVD band. Decals for the serial number on the tail came from a source I can't identify. As I mentioned earlier the cockpit came from a Verlinden detail set for the FW190A-8.



Actual construction was simplicity itself. The conversion consisted of swapping out the two fuselage halves from the D-9 kit and replacing them with the fuselage halves from the D-12. The only problems arose from using the Verlinden cockpit. The parts are supposed to be a drop-in replacement and for the most part it is. The problem is that the instrument panels sit too deep in the cockpit making them almost invisible. Correcting this is a little more complex than it would seem so I didn't fix it on this project due to time constraints. I will be using this cockpit one more time to see what I can do with it but will probably not use it again after that. For the most part it isn't that much of an improvement over the kit pieces.

Construction techniques were pretty standard for me. Pieces were removed from the sprue with diagonal cutters. Most part clean up was done with the ever-popular Xacto #1 handle mounting a #11 blade. Plastic was glued together using IPS Weld On 3 which I applied using an insulin syringe (best glue gun ever made for plastic modeling) while PE, white metal and resin were attached with CA (probably gap filling Zap). No putty was used in construction. Seams were either filled with plastic ooze that came out of the joints or possibly CA for the "really bad" seams (and there were no really bad seams with this kit).

The only places during construction that require special mention are the navigation lights on the wing tips and the photo-etched pieces.

For reasons know only unto themselves Trimaster uses stainless steel for the PE parts instead of the much more user-friendly brass that most companies use. To remove these pieces without a] losing them and b] destroying them I use a pair of needle-nose pliers and my Dremel tool mounting a cutoff wheel. The navigation lights that came in the kit were somewhat anemic so I chose to make my own. I did this using styrene rod, super glue, accelerator and Tamiya clear paints (blue and red). All you do is take an appropriately size piece of styrene rod and touch on end of it to a puddle of supper glue. Pull it away, hit it with accelerator and repeat until you have a clear ball about the right size. Once you have the right sized "light" just dip it into the appropriate color of clear paint and let it dry. Insert it into the wing tip and you're done. Variations of this technique can be used to create streamlined lights using airfoil shaped stock for the base and some sandpaper for final shaping. Clear lights are created the same way but dip them in Future or similar. You can also create colored lights in a wing tip covered by clear Plexiglas (like on a Bf109) by building the colored bulb as described here, mounting it into a cut out in the wing tip then filling the cutout with super glue and filing/sanding to shape.



Painting and Decals


This model was painted using Floquil, Humbrol and Model Master paints. The only water based paint used was the final flat coat which is Polly S Flat Finish. I airbrush everything I can get away with resorting to a paintbrush only when there is no way to make the airbrush work. All camouflage colors were lightened with about 15% (my usual for 1/48th scale) white for scale effect. For the main camouflage I used the following colors;

  • Humbrol Matte 90 = bottom color

  • New Floquil RLM 83 = RLM "83"

  • New Floquil RLM 71 = RLM 81 (this is a better match for 81 than it is for the 71 it claims to be)

  • Model Master FS34079 = RLM 71 propeller blades

  • Floquil RLM 02 = RLM 02

I want to say I used Floquil Reefer Yellow for the RVD band but my paint chips show that to be more orange than the yellow on the model and I don't think scale effect can explain the difference. So I'll have to leave that as a mystery lost to time. Reefer Yellow is a very good match for RLM 04 though.


All camouflage painting was done using a Badger 150-IL double action airbrush. Paint was thinned to a milk consistency using Xylene or Xylol and I typically spray at a pressure of 12-13 PSI. Actual camouflage painting was done freehand with the only masking being done for the canopy, RVD bands and to protect the wheel wells. I mask mainly with Scotch Magic Tape and that was what I used throughout this project.

Finally, weathering consisted of a black-wash to highlight the panel lines, dark gray/scale black airbrushed for exhaust staining and a light dry brushing to dirty it up a bit. I purposely kept the weathering light as this plane would not have been operational very long before the war ended.





I submitted this article for two reasons. First, this model had originally been seen here as part of a mini-gallery that no longer exists. Second, I recently got a new toy for use in my studio and this was as good a way to play with it as any.

The new toy in question is a Nikon D1x digital SLR. This is my first digital camera and I went this route primarily so that I would be able to use my existing lenses with it. It is way overkill for this purpose but in photography more is always better.

Anyway, I'm including a picture to show the basic setup I used for these pictures. The only thing changed between this picture and the actual setup was that I chose to use gold poster board for the opening shot and light blue most of the rest of them.

The shots without blue or gold in them were shot with the set up in the picture.

To the right of the camera you can see the main light source which is one of my flash heads mounted in a 24" x 30" soft box.

Just outside of the frame to the left is another flash head aimed at the ceiling as fill light. All exposures were taken using a Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Micro lens set to between F:16 and F:22.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2003 by Jeffery S. Harrison
Page Created 16 January, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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