As usual, our story begins with the cockpit, and in particular the SBS resin upgrade kit. Using plenty of water, as well as wearing a proper mask, I began separating the parts from their plugs.
The water kept the dust under control. This is the instrument panel. Oddly, the cut face is the face the dials will be attached to. As it happened, I ended up not using the resin panel, opting instead for the p.e. one.
The floor had an enormous plug to remove, necessitating cutting in from all four sides to remove it. Even then there was still a part right in the middle that had to be nibbled off with the snips.
Here I had a bit of a quandary. Because I had purchased both an SBS resin kit and an Eduard coloured p.e. set, quite a few parts were duplicated. On the right is the resin pilot’s seat, a beautifully cast piece, but all the harnesses are cast integral with the seat. Nice, but not, what’s the term, dimensional?
The p.e. set, on the other hand, was accurately coloured, and would give a more 3D effect, though it would mean using the kit’s own seat. In the end I opted for the p.e. set.
The cockpit side panels and floor, removed from their plugs and cleaned up.
Stepping aside for a moment, here’s a useful tip for anyone who hasn’t come across them before. Scalpel blade removers. Made by Swann & Morten, the same people who make the blades themselves, they do away with the risk of slicing open delicate pinkies when trying to remove a dull blade. Simply snap the plastic case over the blade and pull the handle away. The blade will come off cleanly and remain in the plastic case. I think the idea is that you then dispose of the two together, but if you’re careful, you can pop it open again and re-use it. I bought a packet of ten way back last year when I got back into modelling, and I’m still using the first one.
I then place the worn blade in the proper container. When I eventually fill it, I’ll take it along to my local G.P. surgery for proper disposal.
Anyway, back to the plot. I thought I’d try a little experiment with shading. I started by laying on a coat of Vallejo black on all the cockpit components.
Then, holding the airbrush at an angle of 45*, I sprayed them with the chosen interior colour. Research showed the nearest colour for Italian fighters is RLM.02, so that’s what I used. The effect was very pleasing, though it doesn’t show too well in the pictures. It had the effect of creating natural looking shadows on all the ribbing and raised detail.
Next, I began on the Eduard p.e. instrument panel. This was built up in several layers.
For flat sections of p.e. where there’s no weight concerns, I prefer to use Pritt glue. This gives plenty of time to position and adjust.
After placing them all together I used some drops of Micro Krystal-clear to give a glassy effect.
Using various different colours from the Vallejo, Citadel and Tamiya range I picked out all the little details on the cockpit parts.
Yes, some of the seat harness appears to be a chain!
All the SBS resin parts fit together in the fuselage halves absolutely beautifully. Better than any of the Aries sets I’ve used before, in fact.
The p.e. instrument panel was a bit more fiddley, as there wasn’t much to get hold of, and I kept dropping it before the c.a. glue went off!
Fuselage halves went together with no problems at all. Nice to work with a kit that doesn’t have fit issues all along the way.
And, as usual, most of that work can’t be seen, but hey, I know it’s there!