The kit's contents
The kits are both packed in a simple zip bag (picture 1).
The Airfield dispersal set (ref. 4801A) is composed of two photoetched sheets (in fact one that was cut in two pieces to fit in the bag) and various detail parts such as metal rods, small pieces of tissue, wire, etc... placed in a smaller bag. Four A4 instructions sheets are also included.
The Airfield Cycles set (ref. 4801B) is composed of one photoetched fret, a small bag with metal tires and a single A4 instruction sheet.
The Cycles Set
I will start with a closer look at the smaller Cycles set. The main components of the kit are placed on a small but very busy photoetched fret (picture 2) and the tires are additional white metal castings (picture 3). With one set, it will be possible to model four bicycles: three men's cycles and one woman's cycle, the design of the latter being of course different (frame and saddle). The overall detail level the photoetch technique allows is put perfectly at use here (picture 4). Small rods will be necessary to put the wheels and pedals in place but are not included.
It is obvious that it is possible to model very detailed cycles with this set but the flatness of photoetched parts may annoy some. Even with the manufacturer's solution of gluing two frames together to add more volume (see instructions on picture 5), the cycles will appear too flat. There are two possibilities to add more realistic thickness to the parts. The first one would be to replace the frames of the cycles with small plastic rods using the original parts as templates. This would be very easy for the Men's cycles but more complicated for the woman's one as the design is more complex. The second solution (the one I will probably use) is to carefully "paint" the parts with white glue to add the missing volume. The advantage of the latter is that it will work on the woman's cycle as well!
The white metal tires are a nice addition, as they will give the final model a more realistic touch.
The Airfield Dispersal Set
As said before, this kit's parts are mainly provided on a single photoetched sheet that was cut in two to fit in the zip bag (picture 6). To reassure everybody, the cutting process didn't harm any parts! The overall quality is very good and there are recessed details all over the parts (picture 7). A small bag with additional items of various origins supplements the kit (picture 8).
With a single set you can model the following items:
- A RAF "Tower" Ladder
- An USAAF Work Platform
- A Step Ladder
- A warning Sign
- 8 Bomber Wheel Chocks (2 pairs for Heavy and 2 pairs for medium bombers)
- One Wind Sock
- 3 Drainage Covers
To have a better idea of the design of the objects, you can take a look at the instruction sheets on picture 9. These are very well done, precise, with construction notes and in color.
In this set, the manufacturer also "solved" the flatness problem with layers (up to three sometimes!). But it is less important here as the real objects are constituted of flat metal frames and not tubing like the bicycles. The Wind Sock model is composed of PE parts, metal rods and tissue! It will surely look very realistic on a diorama.
I must admit I don't have references for RAF or USAAF airfield accessories so I can't give any guarantees on accuracy. I can't tell you if the cycles are early or late war types either... but they look like bicycles!
Flightpath Aircraft Diorama sets are very nice and affordable. They will add that little something in your Battle of Britain or 8th Air Force scene, along a nice Spitfire or a Huge Flying Fortress. I recommend these sets to every aircraft diorama specialist who has some basic experience with photoetched material.
Flightpath's range of 1/48 scale WW2 airfield accessories (and more) can be seen and ordered at www.djparkins.com