Reviewed by Mike O'Hare
Aires new A-10 Thunderbolt cockpit is another great addition to their 1/72 jet detailing range. This cockpit set was released before the Tornado set and, while it's not as good, it's still a great asset to the Italeri kit.
It is a bit hard to review this cockpit. On it's own, the cockpit is great. It features nice, crisp detail, and will look great in the Italeri kit. Even though their Warthog is without doubt one of Italeri's finest efforts, this cockpit add significantly. However, compared to AiRes' Tornado set, one almost questions whether this is manufactured by the same company. It is certainly not "bad", but it's nowhere near as nice as the Tornado set.
Like the Tornado, the bulk of the set's detail is taken care of by resin parts, with a similar breakdown: tub, seat, glare shield, stick, but with the addition of some canopy retraction parts, and a throttle. Again, instruments, belts and finer details are dealt with in the form of an etch fret, and all of it is top-notch.
The cockpit tub is moulded as one solid piece, incorporating the sidewalls. It's a personal bias, but I hate it when manufacturers do that. It makes things a hassle to paint, and I tend to mess it up somehow. Of course, I'm not a huge fan of having to sand down excess resin on separate sidewalls either, but I do prefer it to the "uni-tub" approach. Looking beyond this annoyance, however, it's clear that the detail is impressive.
The "fuselage walls" are suitably padded, the various buttons, levers and switches are nicely executed, and the details are all fairly accurate. Detail behind the seat is similarly well done, with a nice actuating strut and the recessed bay detail. Moving back into the tub, there's even the appropriate cut-outs and detail for the rudder area on the sides of the tub, which will never be seen once in the kit. But it is the side instrument panels which are the big let-down. While the ones in the Tornado looked etched, it's pretty clear these were etched. They're pretty generic looking, and not very accurate. Even worse, all the buttons and switches are recessed, making them a pain to paint. It would have been a vast improvement if AiRes had gone to the trouble of going to the same level of detail here as with the Tornado.
The ejection seat is quite nice. Again, not as good as the Tornado, and the sloping shoulder sections look a tad high, and the head box too low, to my eye, but that's being nit-picky. Again, belts are separate etched pieces, which I'm not fond of, but they're nicely detailed and should be reasonably fool proof.
Assembly is very simple and straightforward. The instructions are clear and let you know exactly what goes where. There are no paint references, though there are some good Walkaround books on the Warthog, so again, it's not much of a problem.
Review Copyright © 2000 by Mike