Kasserine Pass GB: 1/48 scale Tamiya FW-190A , Oblt. E. Rudorffer, CO 6 / JG2 Tunisia
This article is part of a series:
Better late than never they say……..who ever “they” are. Here it is finally.
This is the Tamiya FW-190 A-3 kit, that I updated to make it look like a later A-4 version with a few simple modifications. These are all covered in the construction journal.
The model was built using the parts supplied in the kit. Nothing was added, other than some minor scratch building. The scratch building consisted of modifying the exhaust louvers on the sides of the fuselage, and adding a small antennae on the tip of the rudder.
The FW-190 was painted using Model Master enamels. Most parts were air brushed. The exhaust stains and desert dust were done using several of the Tamiya weathering decks. This was a very enjoyable build, and I can highly recommend this kit for it’s ease of assembly. The fit is typical Tamiya even though this is one of their older kits. I didn’t have to use putty anywhere on the build. A few swipes with a razor and some slight sanding work was all that was needed to rid the model of any visible seams.
There are some that state the landing gear legs are too short. This is probably true. I don’t have any other 190 A “Anton’s” built by another manufacturer or technical / scale drawings to compare it to. Once completed, I can assure you it looks like a Focke Wulf 190.
All of my built examples in the display cases are from Tamiya, except for a long nosed Dora I built from Hobby Boss. Eventually, once I get some more 190’s built from other manufacturers, I may end up doing an article comparing the various offerings available.
The decals used were a combination of the kit supplied items, plus a few others from the decal stash, like the “Yellow 1” and the Yellow Staffel Bar.
If you have one of these in your unbuilt collection, do yourself a big favor and break out the glue, then get busy. You will be glad you did. 🙂 I had fun building this kit, and that’s what it’s all about after all.
I built this model as part of the excellent Group Build that was organized and coached by my good friend, David A. Thomas.
The good Professor took a lot of time, out of his ever busy schedule to comment on, and encourage all of us along the way. Thanks David for everything you did to help make this GB turn out the way it did.
In typical “Iron Werks” fashion, I decided to thin down the collection of unbuilt kits by building four Tamiya radial engine Focke Wulf kits. Three were the earlier A3 version, while one was the F-8 ground attack plane that I converted into a JG 54 A-8 plane as “possibly” could have been flown by Otto Kittel.
Here is a link to the build:
and a few photos showing the end results of the build……………. 4 happy Wurgers, with no two alike.
Since the Eduard company recently released an excellent A4 version, which has these markings of “Yellow 1”, I knew at the very moment I saw it, I was going to have to build a plane like it………. or one that was very similar.
That’s when I started doing some research on found an artists rendition of another Focke Wulf from Tunisia that was painted very similar. This drawing was supposedly of a plane flown by another “Experten” Adolph Dickfeld, and had the markings of “Double Black Chevron” on the fuselage sides.
Having chased this version down, and doing a lot of research with some help from my friends, I could never find an actual photo of the plane……….and I doubted the plane was painted like this as most 190’s that arrived from Europe retained the typical RLM 74 / 75 / 76 colors while operating in North Africa.
So I went back to the original plan and built “Yellow 1” using the Tamiya kit with a few small modifications.
Here are a few photos that were shared with me that show 190’s operating out of North Africa.
The first reportedly shows Rudorferr sitting in the cockpit of his 190. This picture may have been taken a little later after the plane was painted with the top sides in overall RLM 79. It was reported that his plane eventually received some darker green splotches on top of the overall RLM 79 tan. The nose appears quite dark, and “could” show some of the dark green……
I was able to find another picture of Rudorrfer which may verify the man in the cockpit of the above picture is indeed who it was claimed to be……….
This is another photo, and this plane may be one flown by Kurt Buhligen, another “Experten” flying over North Africa. If you look closely, you will see this is an early A3 version, and it has white identification stripes visible under the outer wing tips.
During the build journal, Paul Barber posted a link, that shows some of the home movies that were taken by Oblt. Rudorffer himself. I was able to freeze it on a frame and enlarge it. Luckily for us it was in color. Here you can see the yellow under the nose and various other neat details……….. such as the under wing stripes in white. It also looks as if camouflage tarps were used to help conceal the planes when on the ground.
Erich Rudorffer was the 7th most successful fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe. Ironically he started out as an automotive sheet metal mechanic right after he graduated from High School. Rudorrfer joined the Luftwaffe in April of 1936, and was assigned as a Bomber Crew member serving with KG 253 from 2 September to 15 October 1936.
After this he went to an aircraft engine school. He was in school from mid October to the end of February 1937. Upon completion of school, he was reassigned to another bomber group, this time KG 153. This time he was a mechanic or “black man” as they were referred to due to the color of their work uniforms.
On October 1st, 1938, he was transferred to a “Flyer Replacement Unit” where he began training as a bomber pilot. Upon completion of his bomber pilot training, he was trained as a “Zerstorer” or heavy twin engine fighter pilot.
One year later in October 1939, (one month after the War was started in Poland), he was transferred to a Fighter pilot school. He went through several advanced fighter pilot schools following this assignment. It was at these advanced fighter pilot schools, that he was instructed by fighter pilots who had actual combat experience.
Rudorferr was then assigned to his first Fighter Unit, 2nd Staffel / JG 2″Richtofen” , on January 7th, 1940.
His first credited victory was a French Curtiss built Hawk 75, which is the export version of the P-36, similar to the one in this photo shown below. He scored 8 times over France.
Erich flew throughout the Battle of Britain. It was “claimed” that he was chased by a Hurricane down Croyden High Street, at an altitude below the roof tops !!!!
On May 1st, 1941, he achieved his 19th victory, and was presented the “Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross”.
Upon receiving this award, he was promoted as the “Staffelkapitain” of 6 / JG 2 the following month. He and his wingman attacked a diving submarine off the coast of the Isle of Portland. His bombs were reported as landing very close to the submarine. So close that the sub was observed as going down vertically.
By the end of December 1941, he had claimed 40 kills. He participated in the “Channel Dash”, and flew over the Allied landings at Dieppe in August 1942. In November 1942, his unit was transferred to Sicily, and shortly afterwards, his Unit moved to Tunisia. This is where “Yellow 1” comes into town………….
The planes arrived in Tunisia, some of them were painted with the top sides covered in overall RLM 79. This was painted right over the typical European camouflage colors of RLM 74 / 75 /76. The original RLM 76 underside color of light blue was retained.
On the “early” 190 A-3’s, the planes were painted at the Focke Wulf factory using the earlier RLM 71 / 02 / 65 colors that you would normally associate with on Battle of Britain era 109’s. (I learned this little bit of information while doing research for building my Hahn 190 A3 …………).
Once Erich Rudorferr arrived in Tunisia, his scores began to climb even higher. The 190 was an unwelcomed guest for the Allies when the “Wurger’s” arrived. Here they held up to their name of “Butcher Bird”.
In February 9th, 1943, he defeated 8 British pilots in a matter of 32 minutes. Several days later on February 15th, he claimed 7 more kills. While flying in North Africa he shot down 10 Allied bombers.
After the Germans evacuated Tunisia, (when Rommel defied Hitler’s order to stand to the last man), he assumed command of II / JG 54, and was transferred to the Eastern Front in July of 1943.
While flying at the Eastern Front, Rudorferr’s score climbed even higher…….. Here he achieved results that seem unbelievable had they occurred today. During his first combat mission on August 24, 1943, he managed to shoot down 5 Russian planes in only 4 minutes.
By the 11th of October, he hit the “Century” mark and scored his 100th victory by claiming a Yak 7. In doing so, he became the 55th German pilot to achieve this number. The Yak 7 was shot down at 12:22 hours, followed by a LaGG-3 a few seconds later. Within 5 more minutes, he managed to shoot down 3 more Yak-7’s, one at 12:24, one at 12:25 and the last one at 12:27 hours. He scored at least 5 planes in 5 minutes…………………
Less than a month later, on November 6th, he was credited with shooting down 13 more Russian fighters………..in 17 minutes, from 13:00 to 13:17 hours. Eight planes were Yak -7’s, while 5 were Yak-9’s. This information was obtained online at Wikipedia.
While flying fighters on the Eastern Front, Rudorferr was credited with shooting down 134 Soviet planes.
Many of these were the heavily armored Russian Il-2 Sturmovik, of which he managed to down 58 while flying on the Eastern Front !!! These Sturmovik’s were often referred to as “Flying Tanks” like the one in this picture below…………
During the winter of 1944, Rudorferr trained on flying the new Me-262 jet fighter and was destined to become a member of JG 7 “Nowotony”. By February of 1945, he was recalled and became the Commander of I / JG 7.
While flying the new Me 262 Fighter, he scored another 12 victories ………………
His score is broken down as follows after searching the German Federal Archives. It varies a little from other published accounts:
219 confirmed, 2 further “unconfirmed” kills for a total of 221
85 victories on the Western Front ………. this included 11 Heavy Bombers, and 12 while flying 262’s.
26 of these victories were in North Africa, but are included in the Western Front total.
136 victories on the Eastern Front.
He was reported to have been shot down 16 times. This was a combined total between Flak and enemy fighters.
Bailed out taking to his parachute 9 times. He was a member of the “Caterpillar Club” because of this.
Engaged in Aerial Combat over 300 times……….. scoring 221 victories (some say 222).
Flew over 1,000 combat missions. To quote Gunther Rall, another surviving German Fighter Ace, they flew until you “Got the “Iron Cross” or the “Wooden Cross” when you were killed”. Unlike the Allied pilot’s who flew a set number of missions and rotated home, The Germans flew until the end, in one way or another.
He survived the War and later flew DC-2’s and DC-3’s in Australia. After this, he worked for Pan Am in Germany.
He died at the age of 98 in April of 2016.
As per my usual sign off,
” Comments are encouraged”