MPM/HML 1/48 FW-187A-0 'Falke'
|KIT #:||HML 002|
|PRICE:||$74.95 SRP - $58.45 at GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vac canopy and metal landing gear|
The Focke-Wulf Fw 187 Falke ("falcon") was a German aircraft developed in the late 1930s. It was created by Kurt Tank as a twin-engine, high-performance fighter, but the Luftwaffe never saw a need for the design, which fitted "between" the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Bf 110. Later prototypes were adapted as two-seat versions as a competitor to the Bf 110 in the Zerstörer (bomber destroyer) role, but only nine aircraft were built in total; six prototypes and three preproduction FW-187A-0 aircraft.
An Industrie-Schutzstaffel comprising the three Fw 187 A-0s was manned by Focke-Wulf test-pilots in defense of the factory in Bremen. Although there are claims that they scored several kills, it is likely that these were propaganda claims. The three A-0s were even sent to Norway and promoted as evidence that the aircraft was entering service to replace the Bf 110, but by this time any such plan was long dead. The pilots reportedly found the Fw 187 generally superior to the Bf 110 in almost all respects, but the RLM quickly withdrew them from service. They returned to Focke-Wulf, where they were again used for plant defense. One Fw 187 was sent to the aerial shooting school in Vaerlose, Denmark in 1942.
I'm sure this is not a new kit, as there have been a number of HML kits produced since #2 (this one). It is quite typical of what one would come to expect in a short run resin kit. In fact, it reminds me very much of many of the earlier Planet Model kits I've built. The kit parts are segregated into sectional plastic bags to prevent damage. The sprue attachment gates are quite large on some pieces; the fuselage rear gate encompasses the entire rear edge of the rudder, for instance. I did not see any immediate evidence of molding glitches such as voids and air bubbles that are common on some short run brands, even today. I did notice some grey detritus in a few of the pieces, but these should disappear under paint. The smaller parts are in resin wafers so will need to be removed and cleaned up before use.
The molding itself is very nicely done. Inside the fuselage halves is a considerable amount of detail. Not so the wheel wells which are pretty much just boxes with some small rib detailing and attachment points for the landing gear. The wing is comprised of three sections with the center section overlapping into the upper wings. This eliminates the need for a spar and should help to keep the dihedral properly set.
The cockpit is rther basic with seats, interior bulkheads, control stick for the pilot as well as rudder pedals and consoles. The rear facing gunner has no weapon, but it seems he is in charge of replacing spent gun ammo cases and there are some that jut from the fuselage side. He also has a radio set mounted on a small shelf in front of him.
Props and spinner are the usual five piece affair with a hub, backing plate and three separate blades. No keyway is provided for blade angle. All the guns and the landing gear components save the tail wheel, are in cast metal. This will provide additional strength for the model. Metal landing gear should be mandatory for all larger resin kits and even some smaller ones will benefit from having gear that won't deform over time. The kit also includes two sets of well molded vac canopies.
Instructions are more than adequate with Humbrol paint references. These aircraft were RLM 02 on inner surfaces and wells with the exterior in RLM 70/71/65. The upper surface in a splinter pattern. Markings are provided for two of the planes of the factory protection flight and one with radio call letters for the fuselage and under the wings. They are very nicely printed and quite thin. As usual, the swastika is in pieces, but at least one is provided.
I grabbed this one as I've always liked the FW-187, despite its lack of official enthusiasm at the time. It is one of those where one wonders howe well it would have performed if allowed into production, but we'll never know. Because it is a resin kit, it is not for beginners, but it also is not a complex looking kit and should be something that one wanting to get involved in the genre could build without too much trouble. I guess I got the last one as it is no longer listed on the Great Models web site. For those wondering, the only other kit I know about is a very short run kit by Karo-As in 1/72. Availability is suspect.
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