Trumpeter 1/48 Focke-Wulf Fw200 C-4 Condor
Reviewed by Mike Horchler
The Fw200 was developed in the late 1930's as a commercial transport for the German airline Lufthansa. The aircraft set a number of long distance flight records, and based on a Japanese request in 1938, Focke-Wulf modified the aircraft to create a maritime reconnaissance bomber. The first production model, the C-1 version, entered service with the Luftwaffe in June 1940 at Bordeaux-Merignac.
The Fw200 earned its reputation as the "Scourge of the Atlantic" with the sinking of significant numbers of Allied ships as well as coordinating attacks with the German U-Boats.
As the owner of a Koster 1/48 Vac kit of the Fw200, I was pretty excited when Trumpeter announced their kit. While I am not afraid of Vac kits, given the choice, I will take an injection molded kit any day. My excitement did not fade when I received this kit from Roll Models a couple of days ago. It's huge, looks beautiful, and made its way straight up to the top of my to-build pile.
The Kit is packaged in a large sturdy cardboard box. Unfortunately, the box for my kit was apparently not sturdy enough as all four of the large clear parts had separated from the clear sprue, and two of those parts were broken. A call to Stevens Intl (the Importer) the next morning got me a replacement sprue in the mail. I was told to expect that replacement sometime in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Oh well I was a little disappointed, but at the rate that I build, I won't need the replacement parts for at least a couple of months and I didn't get any hassles.
The box contains 7 sprues of parts, all individually sealed. A decals sheet with markings options for 2 specific aircraft and an aircraft panel film piece, also sealed. Two fuselage halves packed in an unusual cardboard tube for extra protection. And finally, an instruction booklet and painting guide.
The instruction guide is 16 pages long and includes some general assembly guidelines, a sprue layout and guide, and a 26 step assembly sequence. The instructions are well illustrated and the parts breakdown is logical and clear. For some strange reason, the instructions do not contain a paint chart. While all the steps are labeled for painting, (I believe with Gunze colors) there is no table listing the paint numbers and actual paint colors.
Included is a beautiful high-gloss, full color sheet of 11x17 paper that serves as a painting guide for the exterior. Strangely enough, this sheet does contain a paint chart that translates the color numbers into color names. The main colors on this painting guide are odd though, in that they include mixing instruction for RLM70+White for one color, and RLM70+Red+Blue for the other surface color!!! The underside calls for Light Blue. For the non-Luftwaffe crowd, paint this bird with RLM65 on the undersides, RLM72 and RLM73 in a splinter pattern on the upper surfaces.
The level of detail and finesse on the plastic parts is just right. The instrument panels are delicate and detailed, the panel lines recessed in the right places and raised when appropriate. Trumpeter has made a habit of representing rivet holes, and I'm happy to report that for the most part these are very restrained and delicate, particularly on the wings.
There are a couple of areas where I feel the surfacing is somewhat overdone. It looks like Trumpeter copied the Trojca Plans exactly on the Ailerons and Tailplanes, and really overemphasized the ribbing and valleys between the ribbing. I don't consider myself a rivet counter, but after seeing those parts, I did pull out some references and noticed that on most pictures I had of those areas, the surface on the real thing looked completely smooth! The Trojca plans however showed the surface detail exactly as Trumpeter has implemented it.
Since I'm not a rivet counter, I did not enlarge the Trojca plans and put the parts on the plan, however, Steve Palfy over on Hyperscale did, and the kit measured very well to the published plans. I did put the major parts up against the Koster kit, since I have a lot of respect for Mr. Koster's work, and the Trumpeter kit measured very well against the Koster kit. The wing plan was spot on and the fuselage was only 0.25 inches different. The angle of the tail fin was noticeably different, but eyeballing the Trumpeter kit against the Trojca plans again, it appeared to me that Trumpeter got it right.
The clear parts are very nice. Exceptionally clear and thin. As I mentioned above, two of the clear pieces in my kit were broken, including the main canopy. I can only guess that some of the other sprues moved around in the box in shipment and broke the canopy.
Doing some preliminary test fitting revealed no major problems, but there is a minute amount of flash on some of the parts, and there was a half-inch section on the center seam line between the two fuselage halves that looked like the plastic was chipped.
Overall, I am very very happy with this kit. The wait was definitely worth it. I can't wait to build this monster. It's the same size as a 1/48 B-17, which makes it significantly larger than the Monogram He-111 and even a touch larger than the Revell Ju-52. Time to order another shelf for my display case!
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