Among the first of Eduard's new range of self-adhesive etched sets is a comprehensive upgrade for Tamiya's highly popular new Swordfish Mk II. Of course, the original Swordfish releases were both criticised and applauded in almost equal measure for their high price (in the UK at least) and superb out-of-the-box detail - so it's hardly surprising that the new version, released at a lower price, has sold out almost immediately!
So what can Eduard offer for a kit that's already noted for its level of detail? Well, quite a lot, actually. Set #49384 comprises 3 x steel frets, the first of which is pre-painted and self-adhesive. Between them, the frets contain a daunting 272 new parts, divided in 3 main sections - the cockpit, the engine and the armament.
Starting with the self adhesive fret, this is dedicated to the cockpit and it's worth taking a moment to look at what Eduard have done with their latest innovation in etching technology. The fret is supplied with a non-stick paper backing sheet and this must be kept in place while the parts are removed and cleaned up. This obviously makes life a bit more complicated than usual, but the reason soon becomes clear; the instrument panels have a thin film of contact adhesive pre-applied to their rear faces. According to Eduard's instructions, the adhesive allows a small amount of re-positioning before the parts are pressed into position, but after that... once they're on, they're on. So be careful...
The extra complication of cleaning up the gummed parts aside, this seems quite a neat solution compared with attaching panels with cyano or PVA. Not all the parts are self adhesive; the instrument panels offer a suitable flat contact area, but other items such as the seat harness are standard Eduard pre-painted parts. So, in a set like the Swordfish, any benefit from pre-gummed parts is rather limited, because the bulk of the parts must be attached as normal. The real proof of how useful the contact adhesive could be would come with easily-damaged parts like some of the bomb-bay structures we've seen from Eduard in the past, or the tiny separate bezels on their large-scale instrument panels.
Tamiya's already well-appointed cockpit gets quite a few new extras - obviously, the instrument panels and seat harnesses - but also a lot of smaller details; new rudder pedals, wiring, brackets and levers. The gunner's Vickers K receives new sights and a dressed-up ammunition drum, while the forward-firing machine gun is treated to a new perforated cooling jacket.
The engine is fitted with a wiring harness and cowling supports, plus new details for the oil cooler. Turning to the exterior, there are new wing-fold locks and a mass of details such as torpedo sights before attention turns to the underwing stores, which take up the bulk of the parts, with new individual attachment points and fins and tails for every bomb. A few of the items, such as the starting handle, would really be better used as patterns for scratchbuilt replacements made from wire or sprue to avoid the 2-D flat look.
As usual, Eduard's instructions are clearly illustrated in colour, showing where kit parts need to be modified or replaced. The main instructions are basically textless, but there's a new bilingual Czech/English supplement explaining how to use the self-adhesive parts.
Eduard's Swordfish detail set makes a worthy complement for Tamiya's beautiful kit. None of the sub-assemblies looks particularly complicated, but the very high parts count, coupled with the tiny size of some of the items means this set is really aimed fair at square at experienced modellers looking to add an exhibition-quality Swordfish to their collection. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Extremely well detailed. Some excellent pre-painted parts. The self-adhesive panels should be a lot less fuss to attach than using traditional glue.Lows: Cleaning up the self-adhesive parts is going to be a bit more fiddly than usual.Verdict: Overall, an excellent upgrade for Tamiya's Swordfish. The results should be stunning in the hands of experienced modellers.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...