While a set of aircraft tools and toolboxes might not leap to mind as everyone's first thought for a detail set, Eduard's set of Fw 190 tools is really quite extraordinary. It's based on the sets of bespoke tools illustrated in the HT Model Special book on the '190 and the level of detail and intricacy is amazing.
The set basically produces 2 separate toolsets - a leather fold-up pack containing 9 tools and a 4-draw box packed with a multitude of different items. Some idea of the complexity comes from the parts count - 80 steel parts on a single fret. The production is faultless and all the parts in the review sample were perfectly formed and arrived safely on the card backing. Included in the parts count are a few spares in case of accidents, but it's safest to assume that you need every part provided so that you don't get careless.
Before outlining the construction in detail, I should warn that this set is really aimed at modellers with some experience of working with etched parts. A lot of the parts are really tiny and many require multiple folds. I worked with a Hold 'n Fold and found it a huge help both in forming accurate boxes and also holding some of the smaller parts securely. I was also lucky enough to have received a set of jewellers' magnifiers (very kindly sent by our own Grumpy! Many thanks Dave - you saved both my eyes and my sanity!). It was the first time I'd tried working with such magnifiers and these really came into their own when removing the tiny burrs left after removing the frets.
The set is accompanied by a single sheet of well illustrated instructions. The drawings are clear and the sequence logical enough, but I'd still recommend studying the diagrams very carefully before making a start. Despite being metal, etched parts can only bear a very limited amount of refolding before they snap, so it's best to have a clear "plan of attack" for each stage.
The leather tool pack.
This fold-out wallet of tools makes a nice way to ease yourself the kit. The basic wallet is made of just two parts with a separate flap. When folding the parts, I was careful to try to avoid the metal looking too stiff and rigid. Most of the tools themselves are lovely - the spanners and pliers really show just how great photetching is for tiny items like this. The hammer and screwdrivers aren't quite so convncing - the former (in particular) looks a bit flat and 2-dimensional, so a simple scratchbuilt replacement might be in order, using the etched original as a pattern. The only part that that I'm really doubtful about is the centre retaining strap which is intended to secure the tools in the wallet. It's delicately patterned, but I think it could well be rather rigid even after heating over a flame, so it might be easier to simply make a strap out of masking tape (the kabuki tape in Eduard's own painting masks would be ideal) and press it down to conform to the shape of tools' handles.
The tool box
If the wallet makes a nice warm-up, tackling the tool box should provide a real challenge for most of us. It consists of 2 trays of tools, 1 half-size drawer and 1 main drawer. The trays are really easy, but I'd recommend leaving the tools out until after painting (this is also true for a couple of the items in the drawers). Eduard don't give any painting instructions, so I assumed the basic colour was plain RLM 02 but, looking at the photos in the HT book, it appears the original sets had darker strengthened corners like a modern-day flightcase, so I'll repaint mine before adding the tools.
The drawers and case must be folded to form boxes and the fittings to hold each individual tool require multiple folds to make them. These parts are really tiny and accurate folding is vital, as there is very little room to spare in the drawers and just the thickness of the metal itself becomes an issue in squeezing everything in. I stuck to the instructions in every case bar one... the three brackets that fit along one end of the main drawer. No matter how I folded these, the parts were simple too big to fit and threw everything else out of alignment. In the end, I resorted to a bit of lateral thinking and sliced off one tongue from the two inner brackets to allow them to fit.
The centre brackets must be folded concertina-fashion (the originals were solid blocks, so a tiny piece of plastic might look more realistic) and they actually include tabs to hold each tool in place, which means you can add the tools after the drawer is painted. You need to roll several tiny tubes for three of the tools and add a couple of lengths of plastic rod or sprue.
What a great little set! - if you've got a bit of experience and the patience to tackle it. I think Eduard's Fw 190 toolset contains the greatest number of really small compents I've yet attempted in an etched set and I found it best to tackle the toolbox in a couple of sessions, but thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. To give you some idea of the complexity, the main drawer of the toolbox comprises 28 parts and the finished item is smaller than the nail of my littlefinger! I've found toolboxes included with both plastic and resin sets, but this really is in a different league from most of them. As part of a diorama it will add a final touch of detail to bring things to life and, although it's based on a set designed for the '190, it's probably a fair bet that most of the tools were standard aviation equipment and will be suitable for a multitude of Luftwaffe scenes.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A/F/G/S - HT Model Special
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Highs: Extremely detailed. Great potential for dioramas.Lows: Very complex. Etched metal is not the best medium for a few of the items included.Verdict: A great little set for experienced modellers.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...