The Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd (MBA) Mk. H-7 seat is one of the most manufactured ejection seats in the world with some 11000 manufactured or modified to the Mk. H-7 standard from the earlier Mk. H-5 seat. The H-7 is one of the most interesting seats in the MBA family due not only to its large number, but also due to its length of service, and the evolution which it displays.
Due to the McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II entering service in the early 1960s, the seats originally fit to the production aircraft were Martin-Baker Mk. H-5 seats. These seats were rated at about 115kt on the runway. Their configuration varied significantly from the Mk. H-7 in that the main parachute container was a soft pack, and was held in a hooded backrest similarly to the Mk. F-5 and Mk. F-7 seat used in the F-8 Crusader. The seat bucket was similar to the later Mk. H-7 versions. Over the years, the parachute container was changed to the hard fiberglass container, and the hood was deleted. The rocket pack was added to the seat, bringing it up to the Mk 7 family specifications which lowered the speed required on the runway to zero knots. The original Mk. 51 under seat rocket utilized a mechanical initiator with a lanyard attached directly to the rocket. Later on the rocket was changed to the Mk 92 gas initiated rocket, which enabled the lanyard to be moved to the under seat Rocket Initiator as seen below. These changes, and some other smaller ones, made the Mk. H-7 a very good example of seat evolution.
One unique feature of the Mk. H-7 family (which includes four main variants; USAF Pilot, USAF WSO, USN Pilot, USN RIO) is that the seat buckets are designed to be removed in the aircraft for maintenance. Then, the main beam assembly is unlatched from the catapult and raised a short distance to a point where it can be tilted forward via slots in the catapult rails and removed without removing the canopy of the aircraft.
Source Martin Baker.
The content of this Brassin release are really well protected in a heavy guage vac-formed plastic blister pack that should survive most postal journeys. The resin bits are within the main blister and are cushioned by 10mm thick foam sheet. The two etched sheets are sandwiched between two small pieces of black card. No sign of any damage or scratches despite a journey from the Czech Republic to England and then onto France.
2 x resin seats.
2 x resin shoulder/head cushion.
3 x resin detail parts cast on blocks.
2 x coloured PE sheets.
These Brassin seats are designed to fit the Hasegawa 1/48 US Navy F-4's. Seats are cast with a small block that needs to be removed by cutting. There is a choice between the early and late versions. There are a few parts that you omit from the seat if you are fitting the seat into the aircraft cockpit, which indicates that Eduard also possibly intended for the seats to be displayed by themselves. Instructions are concise in black and white. Where the parts fit is indicted by the parts being outlined in blue. Easy enough to follow. Some components need to be fabricated by the modeller, for example a small piece of plasti-card needs to be cut for underneath the seat. Eduard give guidance on the wiring on the seat although you have to supply your own 0.2mm wire.
Lumbar pad and seat cushion are cast with the main seat. The shoulder/head cushion are cast separately and has a small cast block that needs removing. There are smaller cast pieces on blocks R3, R4 and R5. Eduard have thoughtfully provided a spare in case of losses or breakages.
Some of the PE parts need to be folded over and this helps to give a bit of depth to these components. Folding the PE components also solves the problem of having colour on one side and not the other. Having said that some of the folding is going to be very intricate. Some of the PE straps need to be gently twisted to achieve the correct sit. There is a optional etched warning plaque to place on the seat if there is no pilot sitting on it. There are some nice little touches such as the slight cut away to the lower left side of the lumbar cushion, where the oxygen bottle is located and is cast.
Unfortunately there are no guides to any colours for the seats, so references need to be consulted depending on what Phantom II you are doing. The one thing that I can see missing are the ankle restraint straps, but these would be pretty much out of sight anyway. Also there seems to be no oxygen hose or survival kit release handle on the top of the seat. Minor problems and nothing that cannot be rectified by the modeller.
Well this looks like a superb piece of work by Eduard, it's almost a shame to bury it into the cockpit. Because of the many small components, some of which will need very, very careful folding, it is not something to rush and certainly not for someone new to using PE parts.
Highs: Superb looking seats.Lows: Lack of painting instructions.Verdict: This is highly recommended, but not for anyone new to using photo etched parts.