by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
HistoryScourge of the Atlantic, said Britainís Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Focke-Wulfís FW-200 Condor. Hitlerís Luftwaffe used these lovely aircraft, designed as airliners, as maritime reconnaissance bombers. They ranged far over the Atlantic, spotting, reporting and attacking convoys, although their main role was beaconing U Boats to the kill. The airliner lineage vexed the bombers with airframe weakness in the turbulent low altitudes of their anti-shipping attacks, and structural failures bedeviled them. Yet they were well armed for the time and dangerous to attack. As the war progressed they were versatile enough to carry new weapons, like the Henschel Hs 293 A-1, a German air-launched missile for use against ships or ground targets. Beginning in mid-1943, Hs 293s sank a number of Allied ships, mostly in the Mediterranean theater*. Later FW 200s were equipped with Type FuG 200
Packed in tape sealed plastic bags are your 240 parts on eight sprues. Ten percent are thick but clear canopy parts! As usual with new Revell kits you have crisp molding without flash in light gray styrene. The part sprues seem thoughtfully engineered, the main landing gear strut with drag struts and side stays are single pieces that jut above the other parts, yet Revell seems to have put them on the sprues where they are packed under, and thus protected by, other deep parts on another sprue. The sprue attachments to each part are rather thick, often thrice as long as some parts are thick. I would caution against cutting by knife, suggesting you invest in a sprue cutter. The busy instruction sheet has a new feature for me, clock faces that I assume indicate how long it should take to complete a step. It appears the only paints referenced are Revellís own line.
Revell is perhaps preparing to release other versions of the Condor as no dumb bombs are included, despite being on sprues in factory photos. The modular fuselage inserts for the top gun positions suggest this, too.
Shallow recessed panel lines detail the exterior. They are not broad, nor do I consider them razor-fine. They seem slightly rounded. Subtle. The instrument panel bezels are raised--I am intrigued as to how well the sharply printed instrument decals will settle upon the instrument panel. Small parts are neither bulky, nor lithe like Italeri is often criticized for. Some parts do suffer from the recessed circular mold release (ejector?) marks. Most seem to be where you can not see them. Unfortunately many can be seen, such as the interior of the fuselage door and the bomb bay doors. Mold lines are almost nonexistent. The line demarcating the control surfaces and the airframe seem shallow along the rudder. I did not realize that Focke-Wulf built the outboard wings with segments covered by fabric! This is replicated with slightly escalloped areas like we are used to on control surfaces. If Revell attempted to suggest fabric texture it is too fine for my eyes.
The interior offers to satisfy. However, I foresee many offerings by after-market companies for resin and photo-etch detail sets! The fuselage crew areas have stringers, spars and ribs molded on, as well a sample of control panels. Six and a half bulkheads divide the crew compartments. Two sport curtain detail, one is detailed on both sides--perhaps three as a pair are open with two structural beams molded across them. The half bulkhead is a partition to the radio compartment with radios molded onto it.
Two large floor pieces make up the cockpit and rear crew area. The flight crew side consoles mainly is detailed with recessed detail that does not seem pronounced. Five seats are provided for the crew, detailed with molded cushions, arm rests and belts. Their sides are thick. Sanding may be useful to create more in-scale proportions, if one thinks these will be noticed when the fuselage is together. Tables and a few other items busy-up the interior. The clear ventral gondola assembly is built with about a dozen pieces including the bomb boy roof, the doors, and fore and aft gunner/observer stations. It appears that corrugated decking and spar and rib detail is molded into the interior.
The powered gun turret is nothing fancy but the gun looks nice. All the MGs capture the look of the weapons without attempting to reproduce all the parts of the gun.
The engines are molded on their firewalls. The cowls are cast that you may partially display the engines.
Many small parts finish this aircraft, including the Hohentwiel anti-shipping radar antennas. These are obviously too thick and do not look good at all. Finally each Hs 293 A-1 is built of 7 parts.
The decal sheet looks very busy. Dozens of data markings are ready for you to apply, as well as codes for three aircraft. Registration appears to be ever so slightly off for the yellow border fuselage codes. I am curious as to how they will settle, my previous Revell decals have been thick and the clear film did not disappear easily.
All of those clear parts are a bonanza for those who enjoy painting canopies. I think I can predict where half the build time will be spent!
*Smithsonian, National Air and Space Museum