Previewed by Brett Green
The hole for the cockpit in Tamiya's 1/48 scale Beaufighter is big. The canopy is large and clear. Unfortunately, in this model, Tamiya's effort at cockpit detail is half-hearted at best. Here is a good case for an after-market replacement item!
I was surprised to receive this new item from True Details. The item is not yet in their catalogue and hasn't been announced on the Squadron.com "New Items" section. To add to the mystery, the catalogue number was in an unfamiliar range.
Something else was familiar however.
Closer examination of Squadron's packaging revealed that this is the ex-KMC Beaufighter cockpit. It is good to know that we can expect to see some of KMC's out-of-production items released under the True Details label.
This detail set focuses on the forward cockpit (pilot's position). Sixteen parts in pale cream-coloured resin make up the front office. The casting quality is good except for some soft detail on the starboard side console on my sample. Small parts are cast onto three resin strips, while the main cockpit structure (not really a tub) is cast onto a big block. Some careful sawing will be required to remove this part.
Click the thumbnails below to view the images full size:
Detail on the cockpit floor, side consoles and seat are much better than the sparse kit cockpit. The pilot's seat is depicted with Sutton Harness and backrest in place. This set also adds the sidewall detail and panel/switch details on the canopy sill totally missing from Tamiya's Beaufighter. All of these details are easily visible through the large canopy.
The instrument panel looks remarkably similar to the kit part (which is not too bad anyway) including the large locating rectangle on the back. A control column is not supplied, but the kit-supplied item is actaully quite good. A much improved gunsight rounds out this set.
Instructions are in the KMC style. I was very pleased to see detailed colour callouts with FS number equivalents at each step of assembly, although I would have liked to have seen a slightly bigger drawing of the Port side console however.
Modelers wanting to see some Beaufighter cockpit reference need go no further than my Photo Feature here on HyperScale .
True Details' Beaufighter cockpit addresses the most obvious shortcoming of Tamiya's 1/48 scale kit. Some further attention to the solid elevator actuators, rockets and the navigator's position will render a beautiful Beaufighter.
If the price is set at the same level as earlier True Details releases (say, USD$5 to $7), this will be a good value accessory that will make a big difference to your finished model.
Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.
Review Copyright © 2001 by Brett