Released by Platz simultaneously with their new 1:72 Lockheed T-33
comes a neat little colour photo-etched detail set.
The set arrives on a single fret, custom-produced for Platz by market-leaders Eduard. The fret contains 51 parts, approximately half of them pre-painted. The set upgrades three areas of the kit: the cockpit, airbrakes and undercarriage.
When it comes to the pre-painted details, Eduard are pretty much in a class of their own, and it's demonstrated to good effect on the T-33 details. The cockpit parts are really quite superb, with exquisite pin-sharp detail in 5 colours on the main instrument panels and side consoles that is far finer than I think almost any of us could hope to paint by hand if we're honest. The main panels are built up as two layers, so you can "glaze" the instrument bezels if you wish.
The cockpit is furnished with new instruments, consoles, rudder pedals, document cases and details for the sills. The canopy receives interior mirrors and placards, while replacement firing handles are provided for the seats instead of the solid plastic versions on the kit parts. Eduard's way of applying the colours seems to have changed compared with their earlier sets, because yellow was traditionally a bit of a "problem" colour for them, sometimes looking rather translucent and hence greenish. However there's certainly no such trouble evident here - the yellow on the firing handles is vivid and opaque.
What is really quite disappointing is that there are no seat harnesses included. With so much other detail provided for the cockpit (and a nice crystal clear canopy in the kit to show it all off), it's rather bewildering that no seatbelts are provided, especially as they are almost taken for granted as being among the most basic "essentials" for a well fitted-out kit cockpit these days.
Looking beyond the cockpit, there are new airbrakes, comprising a main panel and quite a complex and delicate 3-part interior structure to fold to shape. (The kit's actuating ram for each brake isn't shown in the instructions, but I'll still try to fit it.)
Both the main undercarriage and nosegear benefit from new oleo scissors and actuating arms and, lastly, there is a new 3-part door mechanism for the nosegear that will look a lot more delicate than the styrene item.
The set is accompanied by an A-4 sheet of clear instructions. The text is almost all in Japanese, but the style is unmistakably Eduard's - the only difference being that these are printed in colour (whereas Eduard only provide colour versions online for their own sets). Construction is broken down into 5 main sections, none of which appear overly complicated for anyone with a little experience of working with etched parts.
If Platz's etched detail set included seat belts, I'd say it was almost a "must have" accessory for their kit. What's there is superb, and will definitely add some eye-popping details, but I'm afraid I can't help thinking many modellers will feel disappointed that they still have to either make harnesses from scratch or source them elsewhere.
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