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Videos and Text by Rob Caso
As featured on page 29 of the January 2014 issue of
Model Aviation
Also featured in the January 2013 Model Aviation tablet app.

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

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!

Rob Caso

Supplemental PDFs for download

Alfa 190 Firewall
Alfa 190 Trays
Alfa 190 Markings 1 of 2
Alfa 190 Markings 2 of 2


Propulsion and Firewall

Installing the Three Servos

Rudder Modifications

Pushrod Supports

Modifying the Hatch

Paint Schemes

Paint Mottling

Paint Markings

Paint and Panel Lines

Weathering Techniques

Adding Detail

Pilot and Battery

How-To Instructional Videos

Alfa Models

Hobby Lobby

Hacker Brushless

Castle Creations

APC Propellers


Loved the series on this FW-190A scale tips. I was very interested in the rotating stand you had made. Is there any way to publish plans for this stand through AMA or post on a website? Thanks

Phil - the stand is very easy to make, but I neglected to tell everyone what the primary component is: a used "Rubbermaid" plastic turntable on ball bearings. For the turntable itself, I simply pressed in and glued (2) blind nuts to a disc of 3/4" ply the same dia as the plastic turntable. Then I screwed the disc to the turntable from the underside, first cutting small access holes in the base. Then screw the base to a large square of 3/4" ply - the heavier the better. For the rotating lock, all I did was take a cut down dowel through which went a long 4-40 screw - glued in - that in turn gets screwed into a post glued to the base next to the turntable that has a 4-40 blind nut. Turning this screw binds the turntable....


I wonder how long a build like this takes? I'm sure after years of practice it gets easier.

Excellent article Rob! Love the videos... Thanks for sharing your incredible tutorials!

Hey guys, thank you for the comments. Yes, alot of what I did with the 190 can be done very quickly - almost easier "done" than "said". The firewall mod can be adapted to the other Alfas as most of their models were designed for brushed/geared motors. Same for the rudder and pushrod mods. I have used the A20-26M in most of my 1 lb Alfas (I have 8 or so of these) and this is really the hot set up. Hope you have as much fun with these models as I do...

Rob, enjoyed your Alfa FW-190 video series. Unfortunately, several have no sound after the Model Aviation credits (which have sound on every video). The one on motor installation and one on mottling are just two of several.

I'm in a big Alfa phase right now -- flying 4, and have two more in boxes awaiting... They are hard to beat and the exchange rate with the Czech currency is beyond belief right now.

Thanks, Nick

Love your essay and love your model plane.

I am not really into the field of aerodynamics. Actually this is the first time I am reading about the concept of Scale Modeling. It was fascinating to go through the videos that you have shared and also to know how these heavy machinery are built.

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