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FMS FW-190 Review Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:21

History

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (Shrike) was a German Second World War single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Powered by a radial engine, the 190 had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The 190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter.

When the Fw 190 started flying operationally over France in August 1941, it quickly proved itself to be superior in all but turn radius to the Royal Air Force's main front-line fighter, the Spitfire Mk. V. The 190 wrested air superiority away from the RAF until the introduction of the vastly improved Spitfire Mk. IX in July 1942 restored qualitative parity. The Fw 190 made its air combat debut on the Eastern Front in November/December 1942. Though Soviet pilots considered the Bf 109 the greater threat, the Fw 190 made a significant impact. The fighter and its pilots proved just as capable as the Bf 109 in aerial combat, and in the opinion of German pilots who flew both, provided increased firepower and maneuverability at low to medium altitude.

The Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force), along with the Bf 109. On the Eastern Front, the Fw 190 was versatile enough to use in Schlachtgeschwader (Battle Wings or Strike Wings), specialised ground attack units which achieved much success against Soviet ground forces. As an interceptor, the Fw 190 underwent improvements to make it effective at high altitude, enabling it to maintain relative parity with its Allied opponents. The Fw 190A series' performance decreased at high altitudes (usually 6,000 m (20,000 ft) and above), which reduced its effectiveness as a high-altitude interceptor, but this problem was mostly rectified in later models, particularly in the Junkers Jumo 213 inline-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 190D series, which was introduced in September 1944.

The FW-190 was powered by a BMW 801 D-2 radial engine that was capable of propelling the plane to a max speed of 408 mph and a service ceiling of 37,430ft.


Intro

After a year + wait, the FW-190 has finally arrived. I remember seeing the prototypes of the FW-190, BF-109 and P-38 last spring and we were thinking that the planes were going to be released sometime in the fall. Now, over a year later the FW-190 is in my hands…so was it worth the wait?

   

Kit Contents

The airplane arrived only 4 days after ordering it and thankfully the box was in good condition when it was delivered. I cracked the box open to find all sorts of airplane goodness. Each part was protected in plastic or foam and it took a while to unwrap everything. All of the pieces of the plane were in excellent condition and there was no damage.

   

The kit contains nearly everything needed to assemble and get the FW-190 in the air. This is includes the wings with the aileron and flap servos already installed, the rudder and elevator. The fuselage comes nearly complete with the servos for the rudder and elevator installed as well as the 65amp ESC, electric retracts and the brushless motor. The kit also includes a detailed manual, glue and a screwdriver for assembly.

   

Assembly

Despite the directions of the manual, I began assembly of the FMS FW-190 by attaching all of the control horns to the various parts of the airplane. Everything fit together very well with the large, pliable plastic horns. It’s not a bad idea to pre-drill the screws into the horns before trying to attach them to the body of the plane; this makes the final attachment go much smoother. After working my way around the flaps, ailerons, rudder and elevator I moved toward the tail of the plane and completely the assembly. The design of the tail is excellent but beware there is a misprint in the manual that says to use 25mm screws to attach the rudder. This should actually be a 50mm screw (that is provided), I was squishing and pushing and the rudder as hard as I could on the body to get the screw to bite in, but it was all for naught. I pulled the rudder assembly apart, stuck my finger into the hole and realized the screw wasn’t even close to where it needed to be, that’s when I discovered the mistake. 

   

After completing the tail I moved onto the wings. The wings require a little bit of gluing, but be sure to sand the painted areas where the gluing will be done; otherwise they may not make a strong fit. The wing design is a bit unique but feels strong. The wings slide onto carbon spars and then drop onto the fuselage. The bomb skid then lays in the groove made by the two wings. On top of that goes two clips that screw down deep through the wings and into the fuselage. The design is funky but strong. The screws holding the wings together are very large and I had to use an electric screw gun to get them 100% secured.

   

   

With the wings in I pulled the rat’s nest of wires through the fuselage and hooked everything up to my receiver before proceeding. I verified that all systems were a go and moved towards the nose of the plane to assemble the prop. The individual props screw into a back plate and they are a really tight fit. They need to be screwed all the way down to the back plate and several times I thought I was done before discovering a small gap. If they props are not secured all the way down then the cover and spinner will not fit properly. Once the props were attached I slid the assembly onto the motor shaft and screwed on the spinner until it was tight.

    


The final steps of the assembly were attaching the main bomb and guns; with those complete the plane was done!

 Features

The FMS FW-190 features a 55.1” wingspan and a length of 48.4”. The plane is powered by a 500kv brushless motor with a 65 amp ESC (and a 5amp SBEC) running the show. The plane has five 9g servos and one 17g servo for the rudder. In addition the FW-190 comes with servoless, electric retracts and runs off of a 4S 2600mah battery. It looks great with a realistic paint scheme, flaps, lights, guns and bomb. I love the swirly spinner and the thickness off the foam. The plane feels very sturdy and the cowl is made of hard plastic.

    

First Flight

The weather conditions were gloomy and calm (a perfect NW day! Haha) for the first flight. Even though I have a “no bombs/tanks on the first flight” policy, I decided to leave the FW-190’s bomb on the belly since it was already secured by 4 screws. I stuffed in a 4S 2650mah battery in the nose and gave everything a final walkthrough.

The German model passed all the checks, so I taxied the 190 towards the runway. I spun the large 3-bladed prop to nearly full spin and the ol’ warbird rumbled down the tarmac. I pulled up a tad too soon and for a few seconds the Focke-Wulf struggled to get into the air. After a few more feet the plane began a strong ascension towards the clouds. I was surprised at how much juice was needed to get the plane in the air. The beautiful 3-bladed prop produced a swishing ‘whoosh’ sound as the plane took to the sky.

   

At about 30 feet up, I pulled in the retracts and the FW-190 definitely felt more ‘streamlined’ flying. The warbird wanted to climb like an F-16 Fighter jet and it took all of my down trim to keep the airplane level.  With the plane trimmed out I was able to get a good feel of the beast…and it felt like a beast!

The plane surprised me as it felt a bit ‘heavy’ in the air and I needed to keep the throttle up to avoid smashing into the ground like a pig with no wings. Fortunately there is a whopping bit of power beneath the cowl of the plane and it pulled the FW-190 along quite nicely. The FW-190 has a great design and feel to it and in little time I was skimming the ground on imaginary strafing runs. I felt there was ample control on all of the surfaces and given the weight of the model didn’t feel like it was being pushed around by the wind or any other model airplanes.

After 5 minutes of mixed flying (aerobatics, slow flight, strafing runs) I brought the plane in for her first landing. The first landing was less than stellar as I came in too high, too hot and too bouncy, but fortunately there was no damage to the plane. After 5 minutes of flight the cells on the battery read 3.55-3.6! So there was not a lot of usable juice left in the lipo.

Flight Characteristics

The FMS FW-190 is a big plane with a large 500kv motor under the hood. The plane pulls about 860 watts of pure power at 55 amps. I thought the ol’ warbird was going to be an outright speed demon but it needs much of that power to stay in the area. Don’t get me wrong, the 190 is no slouch and can tear up the sky quite well. Out of the box the plane balances perfectly at the 90mm point, but I think this is too far back as the warbird felt quite ‘touchy’ on the elevator and a bit tail heavy. 

Besides the heavy feeling the airplane flies quite nice! The rolls are snappy and the loops look beautiful. The airframe can handle sharper turns and off camera I had a blast pulling tight figure 8’s. They were so tight they were almost figure 7’s! Inverted flight felt a bit messy with the touchy elevator but it was stable nonetheless.

Despite all my talk of ‘heavy feeling’ the plane stalled very smoothly. Without flaps the nose dips down and the wings rock a bit before gathering speed. With flaps deployed, the nose dips down but not as dramatically and while stalling with the flaps, the entire craft has a softer/mushy feel as it glides towards the ground. Very surprising!

With the bomb removed from the body, the FW-190 was noticeably more maneuverable and airworthy. I felt more confident flying the plane with less drag and didn’t mind bumping up the throttle to see what she could do. This plane sounds amazing as it zooms by, love it.

Takeoffs and Landings

In the air the plane performed like a champ, but I had a hell of a time landing the FW-190 softly! I could never seem to get the right combination of speed/flare for touchdown. The landing gear are deceptively longer than anticipated so several times the plane touched down earlier than I thought it should. Secondly I experimented in landing with flaps, no flaps and half flaps. By far the clear winner was landing with half flaps. With full flaps the plane wanted to float too long and was tough to get down without feeling like a stall was coming on. With no flaps the plane could be landed, but it would definitely come in much hotter and so a longer approach is necessary. Half flaps slowed the FMS warbird down just enough without creating an excessive amount of lift.

   

When landing make sure you have a long enough runway and make the approach very shallow. The wheels are plenty large enough that the plane can be taxied and landed in short grass.

Taking off is easy since the airplane is not too crazy on the ground. I was surprised at the length of runway needed for leaving the ground so again; make sure to have at least 30 feet of good runway to get the plane in the air, let it gather speed before pulling back on the elevator.  I noticed during takeoff was when the plane felt the ‘heaviest’ so be gentle and enter the air at a smooth, shallow angle.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

No, it is a big warbird with lots of power that needs lots of room. The retracts handled my bouncy landings with ease, but I don’t know if they would be up to the task of handling ‘beginner landings’.

Conclusion

The FMS FW-190 has been a long wait and now that it is finally here I can safely say it was worth the wait. The level of detail within the warbird is amazing, from the retracts, lights, decals and pilot it all looks good. A few of the still photos my lovely assistant took had me scratching my head as to whether or not the plane was real! The warbird flies quite well and does not have any glaringly obvious bad habits beside what is considered ‘normal’ for a warbird. Out of the box the CG is too far back and should be corrected with either a heavier battery or added weight. A heavier and bigger battery might be a good idea since the average flight time was a meager 5 minutes. At the bare minimum I would recommend a 4S 2650mah battery. These are small issues and although the flight times are a bit short, this is the type of plane that would motivate me to buy more batteries. All in all I am very impressed with the FMS FW-190 and I think it makes an excellent addition to any enthusiast’s hangar.

GRADE: B+

Pros

  • Extremely detailed
  • Great power – pushed lots of air
  • Packaged Well
  • Solidly built, came with extra parts
  • Flies very smoothly
  • Stuffed with features

Neutrals

  • All that power comes at a price, battery life is a bit short ~ 5 minutes

Cons

  • Wish the bomb was removable or easier to detach

 
Media and FLIGHT Time!

   

   

   

   

   

 


 
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