Focke Wulf Fw 190 A/F

Designed by Prof. Kurt Tank, one of wartime Germany's foremost aircraft designers, the Focke Wulf Fw190 single seat fighter first flew on Ist June 1939. Following exhaustive evaluation and development the first Fwl 90A-1 s and 2s were assigned to Luftwaffe units based in France in 1941. The new fighter enjoyed a marked ascendancy in speed over the British Spitfire Vs and its pilots could break oft combat at will with this advantage.

Design and performance improvements led to the A-3 version, followed by the A-4 with fuel injection. In 1943 the A-5 appeared with a redesigned and strengthened engine mounting which moved the engine forward and lengthened the fuselage by 5.9in. (15cm).

The A-5 version in this kit represents a highly colourful machine flown by one of the Luftwaffe's top scoring aces, Major Hermann Graf, when commanding Jagdergänzungsgruppe Ost in France in April 1943; this machine was later modified, and Graf ended the war with 212 victories.

A change of armament led to the A-6 model, fitted with four MG151 cannons and two MG17 machine guns, and this version in the kit carries the night fighter camouflage and markings of a machine flown by another famous Luftwaffe pilot, Major (later Lt. Col.) Hajo Herrmann.

Although most of his operational career was spent flying bombers, he helped to pioneer the 'Wilde Sau' (Wild Boar) night fighting tactics using single engined fighters, and during this period he scored nine victories against RAF bombers.

A fighter bomber development of the A series was the F model, which could carry a single bomb beneath the fuselage, and markings are provided for an F-2 on the Russian Front in 1943.

An improved 'blown' (bulged) cockpit canopy was supposed to have been fitted to the F models retaining their original canopies, and the kit item will be especially useful if you wish to model a later version.

The 2,100hp BMW 801 D-2 radial engine gave the Fw190A-5 a maximum speed of 644km/h (400mph) at sea level and a range of 805km (500 miles) with the auxiliary fuel tank. Wing span: 10.5m (34ft 51 /2in). Length: 8.83m (29ft). Height:3.96m (13ft).