by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The set arrives in an attractive cardboard packet with bi-lingual Hungarian/English generic safety warnings on the back. The package had protected the parts perfectly in transit, the contents comprising:
11 x grey resin parts
25 x etched brass parts
Printed film for the instrument faces
I'd always thought Hasegawa's kit was reasonably well detailed until this set arrived on my desk. Looking at the level of detail incorporated on new items like the sidewalls and floor proved just how wrong I was! I'm in the process of moving home at the moment and fortuitously came across Hasegawa's kit as I packed everything up. Apart from the fact that the plastic kit has a generic C. 202/205 "office", the cockpit detail bears no comparison. In fact, the only part that survives to be used with S.B.S. Model's set is the rudder bar - everything else is new.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. For some of you, S.B.S. Model's set may look familiar. Looks aren't deceiving in this case - this is apparently the old FM Models set, upgraded and corrected for a new release following FM's demise. Sadly, I never had a chance to see the original sets, but great news for modellers who are missing them is that S.B.S. Model have plans to similarly update more ex-FM sets.
In terms of casting, the parts in the sample set are basically perfect. I couldn't find a bubble or other flaw anywhere. As you'd expect, some of the parts are pretty delicate, so a degree of caution is needed in handling them and removing them from their casting blocks. The seat, for instance, is cast as close as possible to scale thinness (it makes the Hasegawa version look as if it was carved from stone) and it's supporting frame is cast as an open framework - quite amazing.
The new cockpit is built up from a mixture of "basic" resin parts, with etched details added. The terms are relative, because the resin parts are as finely detailed as any I've seen. Anyway, the etched fret adds levers and trim wheels, heel plates etc., plus part of the seat harness (the rest is cast in place, with the characteristic Italian belts draped convincingly), head armour and, last but not least, the main instrument panel. This is a multi layer affair over resin foundations, with printed acetate instrument faces.
Backing everything up is an excellent sheet of English instructions. The drawings are clear and self-explanatory, but what really raises this above most similar sets is the comprehensive painting instructions for the instrument panel and sidewalls.
ConclusionAs you can probably tell, I'm very enthusiastic about this set! It's a good many years since I built a Veltro and S.B.S. Model's cockpit upgrade has got me itching to tackle another! The level of detail and very reasonable price make this an ideal companion to Hasegawa's kit. Unreservedly recommended.
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