Hasegawa | Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8
Reviewed by Kevin Williams
This Luftwaffe ground attack/close air support aircraft has long been a vavorite of mine. I'll start out here by saying that in my opinion, this is the definitive Fw 190F-8 available in this scale. While the newer Revell kit, by comparison, has some nice features, the Revell kit also comes up short in a few areas, though does offer up an advantage or two as well.
Not a new kit, by any stretch (first released in 2005), I just recently came into possession of the kit through a deal with our own LSP_Ray, so thought I'd take a stab at reviewing it for the site.
Hasegawa continues with the rather unpleasant habit of dumping all sprues (save for the clear parts), into one or two bags, leading, in this case, to scratched/abraded pieces, though not as bad in this kit as I've seen in some others. I think it's also worth mentioning that some photos are indeed duplicated here, as they better help to illustrate separate areas of the air-frame.
(Since this is more of an in-box, look-see review than a build review, I have no photos of assembled sub structures, so my inputs should be considered more of a cursory overview of the various areas I thought might be of interest, rather than an analysis of any accuracy issues, if indeed any are inherent.)
Note: No photo-etch is provided in this kit, so for things like lap belts and whatnot, those will need to be sourced elsewhere.
Instructions are depicted in the typical Hasegawa pictographic way, making assembly a fairly straightforward process. Much to my happiness, a complete parts chart is provided within the provided instruction booklet. The usual disclaimers/warnings are also included; don't stick sharp objects in your eye, don't sniff the glue, don't feed the parts to your child, etc.
Markings are provided here for two F-8 air-frames, those being:
- Fw 190F-8, Black "E", SG 4, no pilot listed
- Fw 190F-8, Red "9", SG 2, no pilot listed
Decals appear to be in register, quite opaque, and well detailed, with plenty of stenciling and great color density, but not thin, not by a long shot. I'm assuming most folks will choose AM decals anyway, so this is probably no real big deal. Personally, I will undoubtedly chase down AM decals for mine, so this is certainly not a deal breaker for me. No mention is made of where these decals were printed, but aside from the aforementioned "thick and chunky" issue, may work out well for some, and will probably prove more than adequate for those wishing to build either one of the out-of-box versions offered.
Kit, as offered by so many European companies, does include Swastika decals for the tail (two different styles) but as typical, are not illustrated on the box.
Major Kit Sprues
Offered up here, are a selection of major sprue components, with more detailed photos in the categories to follow. (Clearly visible, is the scratching/abrading, resultant from all of the sprues being dumped into one or two bags, a practice that I certainly don't understand or approve of.) While the surface damage that's been done using this method is certainly not insurmountable (a few swipes with some Scotch-Brite pads will surely smooth things out just fine), it mars the otherwise gorgeous moldings.
Fuselage Major Components
Most major fuselage components are represented above. Proportions and detailing are done to a very high level indeed. One note: it would seem that Hasegawa used a slightly deeper tooling for panel lines and rivet/fastener detailing here, and I highly approve of this approach. Even after several coats of paint, one should still be able to easily get a wash to snuggle down into these recessed areas. Without a direct comparison to other Hasegawa tooling, this may just be my imagination run amok, but I don't believe so. Either way, the tooling is some of the best yet that I've seen from this company, and that's really saying quite a lot.
Wings & Wing Armament
Again, wings are very well detailed, and to a high standard. The included under-wing 20mm (R6) gun packs, really look good to me (neither included scheme, is depicted as having carried them). Barrels for the 20mm, while acceptable, are not hollowed out on the muzzle end, so might be better off being replaced with small diameter tubing of some sort. Note: the wing root gun bay doors in these later kits, are infinitely superior to the kidney bean shaped, comical attempts on the early series of Fw 190 kits from this same manufacturer.
Oddly enough, outer wing cannons are illustrated , but no cannons are provided. The lower cannon bay inserts also have no provisions for shell and/or link ejection, so I suspect this is just a missed carry over from a previous version, one that was so equipped.
I'd personally recommend extreme caution regarding the under-wing inserts. Past experience tells me that the insert might be a tad too shallow, sinking into the nice but very snug depressed opening, leaving one with a panel that's slightly below the surrounding surface; a real bear to fix. I'll probably grind out the wing opening, then insert these panels from below, allowing much more flexibility in accurately positioning them.
Also worthy of note, is that there are two sets of outboard cannon fairings (for the upper wings), and while these appear to be near identical to each other, are probably not, so attention should be paid to grabbing the right pair, assuming they're actually required at all.
No self-respecting F-8 would fly without bombs of some sort, so Hasegawa has here offered up five, four small units (SC 50 or SC 100, I'm not really sure which), wing mounted, and one rather nice resin SC 250 for the centerline station. Bomb braces (for the SC 250), are, in my opinion, somewhat overdone, so I'll probably replace mine with aluminum, copper or brass strips.
Flying Surfaces, General
Flying surfaces are again, done to a high degree of quality, with the rudder looking especially good to me. The ribbing on the fabric areas may be a wee bit overdone, but a few swipes with a Scotch-Brite pad, will swiftly take care of that. (The good, the bad, and the ugly. The bad: Flaps have a serious sink mark along the entire length of the units, adjacent to the hinge area, making it quite ugly. The good: this area is completely devoid of any exterior detail anyway, so filling/sanding smooth, should be a piece o' cake for Joe average.)
All in, the cockpit would appear to build up into quite an acceptable representation of the real McCoy, as-is, based upon the somewhat confusing and conflicting data that I've seen thus far. No P.E. belts are included, so those will need to be sourced elsewhere, as pointed out previously in this review.
The kit includes one seated pilot figure, that, all things considered, looks like a very acceptable representation, should one choose to use it (I will not).
Canopy & Clear Parts
The clear parts are exactly that, crystal clear. Clarity is astounding, as the photos readily attest.
Two main canopy sections are offered, one standard and one blown. As far as I am aware, either one may be appropriate. There are also two gun sight glasses offered. I'm not aware of which Revi sight was used on the F-8 specifically, possibly more than one type, so I'll need to look into that. (As a point of interest, while I have gobs of references on gobs of individual aircraft types, I seem to have more on the Fw 190 than on other aircraft, and that's saying quite a lot.)
Two centerline fuel tank types are provided, and both look quite acceptable to my eye, though neither is intended for use on the F-8, so to the spares bin they will go.
Landing Gear, Wheels/Tires & Bays
Landing gear is actually reasonably well detailed, with the main wheels themselves looking exceptionally good. Main tires are of the smooth variety, so if others are desired, they'll need to be sourced elsewhere. The main landing gear doors (interior), have some small ejector pin marks that will need to be dealt with, but are actually not that bad at all. The one piece tail wheel assembly (wheel/tire assembly molded integrally with the tail wheel fork, two styles), are a bit of a pain, but do not pose an insurmountable problem either, and once painted properly, should look quite spiffy.
Engine, Prop & Spinner
Nothing really special here at all, save to say that proportions (diameter, chord, twist, etc.) look good, as does spinner, at least to my eye, and are therefore more than good enough to use, "as is". Multiple exhaust stubs are provided, but do not have hollow ends, so some AM items may be desirable here. Armored cowl ring and cooling fan also look great.
As is somewhat typical for me, I ended up with a few photos for which I have no convenient category, so I've just dumped them all here, as they are undoubtedly relevant to the finished kit (I assume). Note: while wing root guns are simple rods, that would be best replaced by hollow tubing of an appropriate 20mm scale I.D., cowl mounted MG's actually look quite nice. Unless one intends to have the upper cowl opened, revealing the guns (and there is very little provision for this arrangement), replacing them with the gorgeous Master machined brass gun barrels, or equivelant, would, as I see it, be rather pointless.
All in all, I think this is a very commendable effort from Hasegawa, and I am very pleased with what I've found so far. I anxiously await the opportunity to begin working on my example. I also expect that the AM folks will jump on when and where needed (and in fact already have to a large degree, with 'pit sets, guns, photo-etched sets, wheels/tires, exhausts, bombs, etc., not to mention the myriad selection of decals/schemes), to provide us with additional enhancements for this cool kit. I'd also like to make the point that the contents within, constitute the great kit quality that one might tend to expect from Hasegawa, a handsome kit indeed, and is quite desirable as a consequence, as well as unquestionably being the best Fw 190F-8 on the market, at least in this particular scale, and in my personal view.
This kit is highly recommended by this reviewer, for overall aesthetic appeal, and for giving us another choice by which to display the brute force, and yet elegant appearance of this truly iconic aircraft.
Kit provided compliments of my own poor, beleaguered wallet.
© Kevin Williams 2020
This review was published on Saturday, September 26 2020; Last modified on Monday, September 28 2020