Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8


Model review

The Dragon's Focke-Wulf 190A-8 is a good choise when making a model in 1/48 scale of that plane. The Dragon's kit is well detailed and it has also metal parts, allthough I had some troubles assembling them. The nose is devided in many parts and I met some difficulties fitting them together well.

The painting guide and the decals are good, offering scemes for three different planes. You can choose between Maj. Heinz Bär, Oberst. Josef Priller or one unknown pilot's plane. And of course the swasticas are missing ! I took them from AMD's sheet. Alltogether it was a pretty good job.

History

Kurt Tank submitted two proposals under a contract placed by the RLM in the autumn of 1937. The powerplants of the new designs were Daimler-Benz DB 601 liquid-cooled and then-new air-cooled BMW 139 radial. The radial was selected and detail design work begun in the summer of 1938. The prototype Fw 190 V1 first flight took place in June 1939 at Bremen. The second prototype flew in October 1939 and was armed with 2 x 13 mm and 2 x 7,92 mm mg. Both machines were fitted with large ducted spinners to reduce drag, but overheating broblems were experienced and an NACA cowling was substituted.

Before the first prototype had flown a decision had taken to replace the BMW 139 by the more powerful but longer and heavier BMW 801. This necessitated many major changes, including structural strengthening and relocation of the cocpit farther aft, the latter change solved also a centre of gravity problem. The third and fourth prototypes were abondoned and the Fw 190 V5 with the new engine was completed in early 1940. Later in the year the aircraft was fitted with a wing with increased span, 1,00 m greater than the original, and although some 10 km/h slower, this Fw 190 V5g was more manoeuvrable and superior in climb performance to the short-span version. Of a pre-production patch of 30 Fw 190A-0 aircraft, the first nine had the original wing, the reminder being of a greater span. During February 1941 the first of these aircraft were delivered to Erprobungskommando 190 for service evaluation and in March of 1941 JG 26 began to prepare for the new fighter's introduction into Luftwaffe service.

The first mass production version was Fw 190A-1, which had the longer span wing, 1660 hp BMW 801C-1 radial engine and an armament of 4 x 7,92 mm MG 17. The armament was insufficient and the ensuing Fw 190A-2 had 2 x 7,92 mm MG over the engines, 2 x 20 mm FF guns in the wings and often also 2 x 7,92 mm MG 17 in the outer wings. It had also the improved BMW 801 C-2 engine. The following Fw 190A-3 had BMW 801D engine which generated full 1800 hp. 2 x 20 mm MG FF guns were moved to the outer wings and they were replaced by the rapidly firing 2 x 20 mm MG 151. The delivery of the Fw 190A-4 begun in the summer of 1942. The water-metanol (WM-50) injection was added, it raised the power of the engine to 2100 hp for a short time and gave the maximum speed of 670 km/h in 6400 meters.

The overheating problems of the engine were settled down with the Fw 190A-5, when the engine was moved 15 cm forward. Fw 190A-5 come in service in the beginning of 1943 with many different versions. In June 1943 the next main version, Fw 190A-6 was ready. It had totally new redesigned lighterweight wing with the armament of 4 x 20 mm MG 151/20 guns. Alternative armament could be used in the gondoles under the wigs. In the December of 1943 Fw 190A-7 was introduced, only a small number was produced. The 2 x 7,92 mm MGs were replaced by the 13 mm MG 131 guns. The next Fw 190A-8 was the most produced version of them all. The internal fuel capacity was increased 115 litres. Many different versions with different armament was built. One of the best known is the "Sturm" version of Fw 190A-8, which was heavily armoured bomber killer.

When appearing in combat in 1941 the Fw 190A was undoubtly the most impressive and the most superior fighter, which any participant of the war could introduce. Focke-Wulf Fw 190A was very effective when the fighting took place underneath 7000 meters, but above that altitude the engine become ineffective. The armament compared to the enemy fighters was more effective and the durability of the plane was also good. The rate of roll was the best compared to the other WW 2 fighters. Fw 190A-8 wasn't as agile dogfighter as Fw 190A-4 has been. With it's increased weight the Fw 190A-8 doesn't have the agility and the climb rate of it's predecessors, but it was a formidable bomber destroyer being the most heavily armed single-engined fighter / fighterbomber in the WW 2. The fixed armament of the Fw 190A-8 comprised 4 x 20 mm guns and 2 x 13 mm mg. Many differend variations varyed, eg. 4 x 20 mm guns in gondols under the wings (that makes 8 x 20 mm guns and 2 x 13 mm mg !!) or 2 x 30 mm guns in gondoles. Fw 190A-8 was used as the interceptor of the heavily armed US bombers, often under the fighter cover of the Me 109's, because the BMW 801 D engine of the Fw 190A lost its power over the altitude of 7000 meters were the B-17's and B-24's often flew. Fw 190A was used in many different dutys eg. interception, fighter-bomber, fighter, night-fighter, ground-attacker, torpedo-bomber and so on. Oberleutnant Otto Kittel was the fourth of the Luftwaffe accounts with 267 kills of wich 220 was achieved in Fw 190A-4 and -5.

The red 13 was the II /JG 1 commander's Major Heinz Bär 's plane in April 1944. The total of 221 kills he had, over 100 were gained in Fw190. The II /JG1 was one of the units intercepting the Allied's day raids over Germany during the Spring and the Summer of 1944 (The Reich Defence).

Technical data of Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8

Engine 1800 hv (2100 hv emergency power) BMW 801D-2 14-cylinder twin-radial engine
Dimensions Span 10,50 m; lenght 8,84 m; height 3,96 m; wing area 18,3 m2
Weights Empty 3170 kg; max. take off 4900 kg
Performance Max. speed 654 km/h; ceiling 11400 m; normal range 805 km
Armament Fixed armament 4 x 20 mm MG 151/20 guns, 2 x 13 mm MG 131 mg
Production 19500 (all Fw-190 versions)

Sources

The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of Word War II by David Mondey, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces: Focke-Wulf 190 Aces of the Western Front by John Weal; Warplanes of The Luftwaffe by David Donald

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