When Jay Smith and I discussed doing an ARF refinish, my thoughts immediately went to the Alfa Model Fw 190A that I had tucked away on a shelf. This one is actually my second Alfa 190 – the first one is still with us, but it flies so well that I just had to have one in another scheme.
If you’re looking for a good flying, nicely detailed and accurate ARF scale model, check out the Alfa’s and note further that prices on these have just recently come down.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, between the time this article was commissioned and printed in the magazine, Alfa Models lost their U.S. distributor. Alfa Model’s aircraft are still available directly from the company at http://www.alfamodel.cz/index_eng.htm.
I refinished my first model in the scheme found on the F8 variant “White 7” restored by the Smithsonian Institute and which now resides at the Udvar-Hazy museum in Washington D.C. I was thinking that, for this one, I might do a late WWII “parts bin” aircraft as many late war Luftwaffe aircraft were remanufactured using both new and useable parts from other out of service aircraft.
Wartime pressures required corner cutting, so there were aircraft having mismatched schemes and parts with no paint on them. This gave me the opportunity to do an interesting scheme and one not often found at the field.
In conjunction with this article, I recorded a series of videos showing how I modified, painted and weathered the model and these may be found on the AMA’s website, along with drawings of the parts needed for the above modifications and drawings of the masks I used for the markings.
The videos are broken down into the various areas that I covered and detail the procedures and techniques that I consistently use to transform an ARF. You will see that most of the techniques that I use are really not that difficult.
I also go into the equipment that is needed, how to use it and how to get a realistic finish. Note that many of the techniques I employed with the Alfa may be applied to other ARF’s and perhaps even wooden built up models, especially those videos pertaining to painting and weathering. While the videos are sequential, they are also compartmentalized into the various areas that I covered, so you can simply pick the videos that you want to see.
I started with the structural and functional modifications I made to the model and so it all starts with getting the model to work. I show how I installed all the radio and propulsion equipment and how I made a number of functional changes including a ply battery box for the model and fabricating a new firewall so that the spinner is located properly on the nose.
Next, I show how to install a functional rudder and supports for the elevator and rudder pushrods. After this, it was on to painting a new camouflage scheme and markings and then panel lining and weathering. While time consuming, much of this is not that difficult and I feel that the results are worth the effort.
If you haven’t yet changed around a scale ARF to your liking, but have always wanted to do so, these videos are for you!
Supplemental PDFs for download
Propulsion and Firewall
Installing the Three Servos
Modifying the Hatch
Paint and Panel Lines
Pilot and Battery
How-To Instructional Videos