Saturday, 4 June 2011

IV./JG 3 Fw 190 D-9 ‘Blue 2’, Prenzlau, Germany, 1945 - Hasegawa’s 1/32 Fw 190 Dora built by Rowan Gough

IV/JG 3 Fw 190D-9 ‘Blue 2’, Prenzlau, Germany, 1945

By Rowan Gough

This is my model of Hasegawa’s 1/32 Fw 190 Dora kit with Aeromaster decals to depict the ‘well-known’ ‘Blue 2’ of IV./JG 3 photographed during early 1945 at Prenzlau. Using the single photograph of this machine I started a discussion on to determine the colour scheme and it became apparent that two interpretations exist; one with RLM 75/83 top surfaces and the other tending towards RLM 82/83. For this example I chose to follow JaPo’s interpretation of RLM 82/83 over RLM 76 undersides, with RLM 75 and bare metal sections of the lower wing. The other interpretation also has merit however.

The next stage was to study the photograph for details, the most obvious being the previous set of unit markings that had been crudely over sprayed. Certainly a stab chevron was present, but the markings aft of the number two and Balkenkreuz look too high on the airframe to be horizontal bars. It also appears that a ‘Defense of the Reich’ Rumpfband had been over-painted. Other details can also be noticed such as the different shade of RLM 76 on the ‘power egg’ and the bare metal wing root panel, gun cover latch and the partial use of dark paint on the undercarriage doors, which is likely RLM 75. This machine has a patchwork appearance typical of late-war Luftwaffe machinery that was built in subsections at different locations.

Painting of the internal parts was fairly straightforward. Xtracrylix RLM 66 was used for the cockpit, with Citadel Codex Grey drybrushed over to pick out the detail. The internal engine plug and landing gear bays are painted using Lifecolor RLM 02 with a liberally thinned MIG productions oil and grease mixture. This gives a nice grimy appearance to the engine and wheel bays.

For painting the outside, a thin undercoat of white was applied to the entire airframe and then Zero Paints Mica Silver was sprayed on. Parts that were bare metal were masked off and then panel lines were pre-shaded with some thinned flat black paint. Lifecolor’s RLM 76 Lichtblau was used for the under surface colour, except for the power egg which received Xtracrylix’s version of 76, this being slightly darker. The wings were tackled first with the wing root masked off to prevent overspray on the fuselage side. Lifecolor’s RLM 82 was used unchanged from the pot but for the RLM 83 I mixed Xtracrylix’s RLM 83 with the same brand’s RLM 80 in a rough 3:1 ratio. The demarcation between colours was done by hand except between the engine power egg and main fuselage as on the real aircraft this would have been split sharply between the panel lines. At this stage the fuselage uppersurfaces and tail mottle was applied. The over-sprayed Stab markings are a mixture of RLM 75 with rough RLM 83 patches.

At this stage a gloss varnish coat was applied so the decals could be placed on. This varnish also allows the use of modelling wash (in this case Flory models dark dirt) which sinks into the panel lines to accentuate them. To enhance this effect, heavily thinned Tamiya X-19 Smoke was sprayed onto the panel lines as part of the post-shading. Less is more during this stage as heavy post-shading can result in too much emphasis on the panel lines.

The exhaust stain was built up in two layers. Firstly a thin layer of the thinned X-19 smoke was done at the same time as the other panel lines. Then Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black and XF-64 Red Brown were mixed at roughly 3:1 and again thinned down heavily (all this is done with above 90% thinners, yes that thin!). A low psi setting (10-15) and keeping the airbrush quite close to the airframe helped reduce unnatural overspray, but care needed to be taken not to flood the area with too much paint which would result in unsightly ‘spider’s legs’. It is best to wait for the initial coat to dry, before going over the same area. Luftwaffe aircraft had relatively dark sooty exhaust stains in comparison to allied aircraft, due to a number of factors such as the chemical mixture of the fuel used.

The aircraft was quite glossy still so to finish the model off the entire airframe received a flat varnish that brought uniformity to the paint scheme. Some final details were added such as using Promodeller’s Weathering Pigments to add a dusty look to the wheels, or a small use of burnt sienna oil paint to create small stains on the underside. Placing a tiny dot of this on the model and sweeping it back with a clean, wide brush can look quite effective. One thing to note is that tires are rarely flat black and almost always look better if painted dark grey.

I am quite happy with the finished model but as ever there is always room for improvement. This certainly won’t be my only 1/32 Dora and hopefully my next attempt will improve upon ‘Blue 2’