I started this build the minute I found I had a stashed Academy Fw 190 D9 and Eduard’s 72367 PE set. This PE set is actually designed for the Hasegawa kit but I decided to challenge myself and fit it to the Academy kit.
Model and photos by Fabian Vera from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Construction began on the cockpit for which I used Bilek’s PB024 pre-painted PE. Just like with the Eduard set I had this product is not manufactured to fit the Academy kit, and its quality is far from what you would get on an Eduard set, but they were really inexpensive and a positive improvement over the kits parts, so I decided to use it.
The Bilek parts ended up fitting easily and not preventing the fuselage halves to close at all.
I am over-stressing the fact of using these parts because in my experience, some PE sets can greatly improve an otherwise basic model, and can made to be work even if they are not made specifically for the kit you have. This is especially rewarding when on top of that you can use left over parts from a PE for another build, or like in this case, get the sets on sale for a fraction of the price!
After painting the rest of the cockpit and applying the side panels PE parts the fuselage was shut perfectly without any fitting issues or major gaps. The fit on this kit is actually remarkably good all around.
The Revi 12 sight was made using Eduard’s PE plus two transparent parts cut from acetate film, and in the process I discovered my coffee addiction is finally taking its toll! Once the cockpit was painted and the fuselage closed, I detailed the landing gear legs with copper wire hydraulic lines.
Cowl flaps were next in the list. I replaced the kit parts with the PE items and scratch-built the actuators and their supports behind every one of these using plasticard and stretched-sprue. This was complicated by the fact that Academy’s cowl contour seems to be smaller than Hasegawa’s, so every part was longer and needed trimming to fit. By far the most complicated feat of this build, and as the PE set wasn’t marketed for this kit I can’t really hold it against Eduard.
Even after this small drawback the result was looking convincing and motivating enough to continue with the build.
Next was the canopy work. Anybody who has seen this kit probably know there is a “tab” molded on the inside of the rear canopy part and oh it is very noticeable. Even after masking and painting you can still see the top portion of the tab on the inside, so it had to be fixed… somehow. The easiest solution would be replacing this part for a vacuformed version, but the issue is I really don’t like working with vacuum formed parts. The solution was good old sanding and polishing on the interior of the clear part. The rest of the build was uneventful, the major parts fitting real tight.
Painting a dirty Dora
I began the process with a pre-shading on all the panel lines with flat black. When cured I painted the top of the cowl, where the guns bulges are, in aluminium. I then proceeded to mask parts of it with the salt method, so I could later achieve the chipping effect visible in the photos.
For the camouflage scheme I followed the instructions from the EagleCal EC-60 sheet to the letter. These instructions were amazingly clear in that sense, and even brings color photos of the real “Blue 12”! The paints used were Model Master enamels, except for the red oxide marks that were done using Vallejo Acrylics. I tried to airbrush thin layers leaving the pre-shading to barely show through the final colors.
After paint and the clear coat dried the decals went on. As said most of them came from the EagleCal EC-60 sheet, but I ended up using the swastikas from the Condor Decals Fighter Swastikas set, in both cases the decals conformed extremelly well to the various surfaces and details of the model.
Before the weathering would start I sealed the decals with a thin layer of clear.
Weathering past your comfort zone
I used AK productions sepia and black wash to accent the panel lines. The shading and smoke effects were then applied using the enamels from the same brand airbrushed on the model.
There is an invisible or psychological line that divides what is aesthetically pleasant Vs. what’s accurate according to a photograph Vs. what a model is expected to look like, and trespassing any of those lines can be terrifying even for the most seasoned airplane modellers.
However, the pictures showed the airplane to be heavily weathered and that helped me overcome my fears of going overboard with the weathering and that was when I really began to enjoy this process and these products that were specifically designed for this specific use.
I also did some post shading using inks, thinly airbrushing them over panel lines, always double checking the photos as it is really easy to add too much.
The build finished with the addition of the landing gear, antennas and the seatbelt that was left over the cockpit side. At this time also the remaining masks were removing, including the salt masking on the gun cowls, leaving a convincing chipping effect on these parts.
Well there you go, a project that became a bit challenging at times, and a bit unnatural on the weathering process, but that proved really fun and rewarding in the end. It really makes for an interesting model that would stand out on a collection of more conservative finished models.
More photos of the finished model at the end of this gallery:
References used: Squadron Signal Walk Around Nº 10 FW190D de Squadron and AJ Press Nº6 del 190 D9 & Ta 152.