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James Kelley
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iModeler Review: Zvezda 1/72 Fw 190A-4

November 5, 2013 · in Reviews · · 3 · 5K

Fw 190A-4

Focke Wulf Fw 190A-4
Catalogue number: ZVE 7304
Scale: 1/72

Introduced in July 1942, the A-4 was equipped with the same engine and basic armament as the A-3. Updated radio gear, the FuG 16Z, was installed replacing the earlier FuG VIIa. A new, short "stub" vertical aerial mount was fitted to the top of the tailfin, a configuration which was kept through the rest of the production Fw 190s. In some instances, pilot-controllable engine cooling vents were fitted to the fuselage sides in place of the plain slots. Some A-4s were outfitted with a special Rüstsatz field conversion kit, comprising the fitting of a pair of under-wing Werfer-Granate 21 (BR 21) rocket mortars, and were designated Fw 190 A-4/R6. However, the A-4's main improvement was the number of Umrüst-Bausätze factory-refit package enhanced versions.

Zveda continues their “snap-fit” series of releases with the ubiquitous Focke-Wulf FW-190A-4. A nice choice, in my opinion, as this variant is one that has not already been available in wide release, and will allow for interesting marking choices without any extra work. This release represents a late model A-4 with louvered engine cooling vents and covered dish-type wheel hubs.

.The cockpit is very basic, and really doesn't hold much in the way of details. The three-piece pilot, however, is very detailed, and is an interesting option for a kit in this scale. I don't generally include pilots in my models, but would seriously consider doing so for this project. A plain, separate seat is available for use without the figure (he has a seat molded to his back). Two instrument panels are provided – one devoid of any detail, and one with raised gauges and details. A decal is provided with instrument markings.
Overall, the molding is crisp and panel lines are finely recessed. A tiny bit of flash was present on the engine cooling fan blades.

The canopy/windscreen can only be posed in the “closed” position, largely due to the location pin. The canopy frames strike me as a bit soft.

The main wheel well has a good amount of depth to it, however, there is an incorrect, thick partition wall dividing port from starboard. Main gear and their retraction struts are sufficiently detailed. A one-piece landing gear door is provided for an “in-flight” display.

The kit comes with markings for two aircraft, an Fw-190A-4 of IV/JG 2, based in Tunisia in 1942, and an Fw-190A-4 of IV/JG 1. Multi-part swastikas are included. However, the decals all seem to have a very matte finish to them. In my experience, that can be problematic. The register is off on the underwing and fuselage balkenkreuze. The whites are all off-white.

The instructions are basic, with easy-to-follow drawings. All writing is in Cyrillic. Color callouts are for Humbrol line paints, but no RLM colors are noted. The camouflage scheme for the IV/JG.2 aircraft is questionable. It shows a typical 74/75/76 scheme, with gray spots all over the upper surfaces. I have no reference to this scheme in any of my texts, nor could I find anything online. It could have existed, but it's nothing like anything I have seen.

• Finely recessed panel lines.
• Ease of assembly
• Price point.
• Not oft-produced variant of the FW-190.
• Very detailed pilot figure.
• Two instrument panel options.

• Problematic decals.
• Vague color callouts.
• Spurious camouflage scheme for one marking variant.

My thanks to iModeler for the review sample.

Roger Fabrocini's brilliant build of this kit can be seen here:

Reader reactions:
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14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

3 responses

  1. Interesting division of the lower wing (not to mention the pilot!), where is the lower wing leading edge? As a snap-together kit, it looks infinitely more sophisticated than HobbyBoss offerings. But according to your opinion, how does it compare with the Airfix kit?

    • Martin, the lower wing fits into the bottom of the top half like an insert. That will eliminate any leading edge seams.

      With regards to comparisons...

      Both kits have their pros and cons. The Airfix offering is a little cheaper, but requires more cleanup. The Zvezda kit looks like less work, overall, but has decals that concern me with regards to quality.

      They both have options for landing gear up or down.

      Airfix has some detail in the cockpit, but a blank instrument panel.
      Zvezda offers two different IPs, one with detail, but the rest of the cockpit tub is devoid of any details.

      They both look like their intended subjects, with Airfix maybe edging Zvezda out for overall accuracy. The Zvezda kit is still quite affordable, by todays standards, so...I say, buy both!

  2. Mr. Kelly,

    You mentioned being unsure about the marking option for "weisse 14" of the 4./JG 2. There is indeed a photo of this machine in Tunisia, with the unusual dappling applied to the uppersurfaces (although it may be a brown color, perhaps RLM 79).

    The photo first appeared in Rodeike's excellent FW 190 title, on page 131, although if I recall correctly, it may also be in Arthy & Jessen's book about the Focke Wulf in North Africa.

    Keep up the good work,

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