Lion Roar is a company that had somehow slipped under my "personal radar" when it came to aircraft accessories. For some reason I associated them with just armour items, so it was more out of idle curiosity than anything else that I browsed the list of their products on The Airbrush Company Ltd.
. To my surprise I found a small (at the moment), but very useful range of WW2 aircraft etched sets, but what really caught my eye was the low prices. These definitely had to be worth checking out.
Each one is generic in nature, so you won't find, say, Bf 109E super-details, but what Lion Roar do offer is a selection of seats and harnesses, plus Luftwaffe rudder pedals and aerials. The sets are produced in etched brass and are accompanied by neatly drawn instructions with bi-lingual Chinese-English notes.
LE48001 - US Seats & Buckles 1 - £1.99
44 x parts provide three different styles of seat and buckles to make up harnesses with paper or foil straps. The instructions list various aircraft that the seats are designed for use with, including the P-38, P-39, P-47, P-51, F4U and SDB. The seats fold to shape and some involve a little rolling to curve the backs or pans slightly, before attaching smaller fittings.
The buckles are neatly done, but it's a pity that the instructions don't give templates to cut the straps from - you're on you're own there, although the diagrams give a good idea how the various parts of the harness interlock.
LE48002 - US Seats & Buckles 2 - £1.99
Very much as above, but this time 46 x parts provide 3 seats and buckles for the following types: F6F, TBF/TBM, F4F/FM/Martlet, F7F and P-40.
LE48003 - RAF Seats & Buckles - £1.99
. 34 x parts make another trio of seats with two different styles of harnesses. The aircraft listed are: Typhoon, Spitfire and Hurricane.
LE48004 - RAF Seat Belts - £1.99
. A change of style now, with complete etched seat harnesses. 34 x parts make up 4 x harnesses in two different styles. Each multi-part harness is provided as individual straps and pads with the buckles already in place. Interestingly, some of the straps are designed with a slight curve, presumably to give them some "life". I'm not sure how necessary (or even advisable) this is, because you will be curling them anyway to drape them over the seats, but they should look very effective when painted and weathered a little.
LE48005 - US Seat Belts - £1.99
. 32 x parts provide enough for two sets of four styles of harnesses - two types of full harnesses and lap belts for 1930s aircraft and gunners.
LE48007 - Luftwaffe Rudder Pedals - £2.48
. 24 x parts give a selection of aerials, along with 6 x types of rudder pedals.
LE48008 - Luftwaffe Seat Belts - £2.48
. A bumper set of 135 x parts provide six styles of harnesses (with a list of aircraft types each is suitable for), plus a little "bonus" set of gunsights for hand-held weapons like MG17s and grab handles to fit in a Bf 109's windscreen.
The quality of the etching is perfect throughout and each fret is taped to a cardboard liner to protect it. No colour notes are given, so you will have to find suitable references.
Lion Roar have the start of a very useful range with a style all of their own and the accuracy looks good. I really hope they continue to add more sets, and I'll certainly be happy to give them a try in upcoming builds. The seats should look dramatically better than the thick styrene items usually supplied with kits, and while the full harnesses may not have all the sophistication of those from some other manufacturers, they should look very acceptable indeed.
In terms of complexity, they fall into two categories; the separate buckles supplied with the seats are obviously more fiddly to use than the seat belt sets, but the low prices would make them ideal for anyone new to working with etched accessories who is worried about splashing out a lot of money on items they might find difficult to work with. Recommended.
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