Thursday, 14 December 2017

Eduard Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5 'heavy fighter' in 72nd scale - new Dual combo for January, Jagdgeschwader 54 Grünherz.

"....anticpation, achievement, art and creative..

Starting a new model kit is a great thing. Not only does it mean that you have completed another build to get here, it means that a whole new adventure is beginning. A new world that you control to the very end. How do you want your paint? Camouflage please. It's all about what you want your kit to become. It's a platform for the precious imagination to be employed. Freedom in a cardboard box....."

Great sentiments expressed by the author of the 'Amateur Airplanes' blog. I've been looking forward to building an Eduard Fw 190 in 72nd scale..and have just completed my first  - the A-5 'heavy fighter' boxing above. I have found one or two tricky, the cockpit etch in the Profi-Pack edition doesn't fit too well and the gear bay is a little difficult although some have made it easily.

But - first of all, the model looks wonderfully accurate - I'm not the sort of person that measures model kits or checks them against drawings etc, suffice to say that it looks and sits just how you'd like a model Fw 190 to do, so that will do for me.

 Next point is the detailing, it's easily the best 1/72 Fw 190 in terms of detailing. It's the only Fw 190 A out there with the front of the engine modelled (not that you can really see it!) and the exhausts are separately molded too and insert prior to the fuselage halves/gear bay going together (so easy to forget them!) It's also got the best molded wheel bay of any Fw 190 A kit too.

  A very nice and lovely looking kit, but not easy to build- the lack of a positive location for the gear legs in the well may be a deal-breaker for some too!

A word too about the quality of the decals - they are exceptionally good. They settled down over the engine louvres with no problems at all, probably the best I've ever encountered in a model kit. Now to try the new 48th Eduard Fw 190 A-4..

...the Brassin cockpit set for the Eduard 72nd build - I used some of the contents on an old Airfix A-8 being converted to an A-6 with some Aeroclub parts - also recently finished as a 2./JG 2 night fighter in overall RLM 76. Of course with the various Eduard Boxes available there is no longer any need to do this to get an early Fw 190 variant.

More on III./JG 2 Fw 190s on this blog;

III./JG 2 convert onto the Fw 190

Due in January 2018 from Eduard is a limited edition Fw 190 boxing in 1/72 scale (Dual combo) containing decals for 6 colour schemes, three of which can be seen below. The kit is focused on aircraft flown by Jagdgeschwader 54 Grünherz. The Fw 190A-5 and A-8 versions can be built. Each version is offered with two optional wings. Thanks to Adam as ever at the unmissable  72nd scale blog for the heads-up!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Fw 190 JG 1 sharksmouth - ebay photo find #228

FW 190 A flown by the Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 1 Oblt. Harry Koch with 'sharksmouth' (Haifischmaul) in Aalborg-Ost im Mai 1942.


Dornier Do 18 mit Wappen der 2. / Küstenfliegergruppe 106 und Heckwaffenstand


Monday, 4 December 2017

Fw 190 A-6 night fighters of 2./JG 2 -July 1943

" ...The spring of 1943 was extremely difficult for I./JG 2 at its airfield in Triqueville, about twenty km from the Normandy coast. The Gruppe was constantly on high alert and faced powerful daily incursions of allied aircraft. The Gruppe’s losses were so heavy that on 23 April the Stab I., 3 and 11./JG 2 abandoned their all-too exposed airfield at Triqueville, to move to Bernay, near Beaumont-le-Roger, home to the Geschwaderstab...

Remaining alone in Triqueville, 2. Staffel became almost the first line of defence. The Staffel had slightly higher numbers of aircraft compared to other units: fourteen Fw 190s instead of the standard dozen. However, the Staffel’s position in the first line of defence would cost it dearly. Almost as if trying to bolster fighting spirit in the face of dangerous, perhaps even desperate oppponents - the waves of RAF and the USAAF squadrons - 2./JG 2 adopted a new emblem; a fierce eagle’s head. This was not enough to avoid the inevitable: in May and June, the Staffel lost 7 pilots (6 killed and seriously injured) for "only" two victories.

The two leaders and friends (Gebhart and Hannig) were killed in the same battle over Caen on the afternoon of 15 May 1943. They were attacked by a group of forty Spitfires assigned to cover bombers returning from attacking the airfield at Carpiquet. Shortly after calling out a claim for his 98th victory, Staffelführer Hannig's aircraft was hit and the pilot had to bail out. According to the recollection of his friend, Georg-Peter Eder he was machine-gunned while hanging under his parachute. In a kind of tragic synchronicity, the other leader of 2. Staffel, Oblt. Harald Gebhart, was also shot down. He managed to get out of the cockpit, but his chute failed to deploy...

In early July, I./JG 2 again had to withdraw: 11./JG 2 and 3. left Bernay for Conches-en-Ouche where they joined 1. Staffel, who took up residence for several days. 2./JG 2 finally evacuated the untenable airfield at Triqueville and moved to Saint-André-de-l'Eure, not far from Conches and Evreux. The Staffel also received a new Kapitän, the one-legged Oblt. Karl Haberland, returning to the front after a serious injury received with JG 3 on 17 May 1940.

Shortly after their relocation, 2./JG 2 members received an astonishing order; the Staffel was to be re-equipped and trained as a night fighter unit. On July 22, the squadron’s pilots and part of the technical staff were sent to Tours for ‘blind’ flying instruction on the Arado 96, with landings and take-offs going on past midnight. This training ended on August 7 with certification for the Schein III blind flying course.

A member of this training "Kommando", Uffz. Jürgen van Beuningen, wrote to his mother:

"..Dear Mother,

Currently, I am training to fly on instruments without visibility. At first it did not go well because when you are used to flying a fighter, you lose the habit of piloting with your senses. However, with some gray hair inflicted on the instructor and a lot of patience, I finally got there. Flying blind can be compared to an attempt to walk on a narrow plank blindfolded with someone guiding you: "More left, more right, take a step above a hole, go down a bit or over etc." Apart from the fact that, in practice, there is nobody to give such indications. So you have to judge everything based on the indications of your instruments. It is a real achievement when you get there. [...]

In addition, the stress of perhaps having to bail out is ever present - to evacuate the cockpit by day is already scary but it becomes a matter of luck during the night because you cannot know where you will come down [...] "

On 9 August 2./JG 2 took off following an alert at 23:35, probably to intercept a Mosquito of No. 418 Sq. on a mission to Evreux....

Ofw. Josef Bigge recalled the sortie;

"..following completion of our training as night fighters, we returned to our airfield at St. André during the afternoon of 7 August. That same evening, we were airborne to fly our first sorties on instruments in the Focke-Wulf 190. In the meantime our control centre and our aircraft were fitted out with the necessary communications equipment for blind flying. In addition, our planes had been painted in a dark finish. This quickly turned out to be a mistake. After several tests, we had opted for a uniform sky blue on the lower surfaces and a light blue/grey finish on the upper surfaces. Our first night sortie quickly followed on 9 August at 23:35. The mission was directed from our operations centre in the presence of the fighter commander for the area (Jagdfliegerführer Jafü). The radio and navigation communication worked perfectly but, although I was airborne for around an hour and 45 minutes, I could not locate the enemy. I landed at 01:20..."

Before the year was out, 2./JG 2 would claim 19 night victories (11 Halifax bombers, 5 Lancasters, 1 Stirling, 1 B-17 and 1 unidentified four-engined aircraft). Seven of these apparently fell to the guns of Lt. Detlef Grossfuss.

Text reproduced from Luftwaffe Gallery 5 by Erik Mombeek - still available at Erik's article on 2./JG 2 features some excellent clear photos of Grossfuss' 'Black 13' and Bigge's 'Black 2' of the Fw 190 nightfighter Staffel 2./JG 2 and OWL have produced some decals for these machines.

My Fw 190 A-6 model below - from the elderly Airfix kit in 72nd scale, reworked with a few spares from the Eduard and Zvezda kits- shows 'black 14' from 2./JG 2. The overall hell-blau-grau 76 finish is roughly oversprayed over the standard grau scheme and even the exhaust staining  - it extends to the spinner and the cooler fan blades which are also in RLM 76. Balkenkreuze are the simple black outline type. Rudder and lower engine cowl in yellow.

More on 2./JG 2 during the spring of 1943 under the one-legged Oblt. Karl Haberland on this blog at the link below

Saturday, 2 December 2017

First look - new JG 54 Luftwaffe Gallery book from Erik Mombeek and new-tool ICM Heinkel He 111 H-3 in 48th scale

Just arrived from Erik Mombeek is the latest book in his pictorial series 'Luftwaffe Gallery' - this edition is an issue devoted to JG 54. A few shots to give you an overview of the contents. Order via

Courtesy of John F, some box shots of the new-tool ICM He 111 H-3 in 48th scale

Note two complete engines and their mounts

Cockpit assembly

Markings options include KG 27, KG 53 and KG 26 machines