Along with the Avionix cockpit set
, Squadron have also released further resin upgrades for their 1:32 Shooting Star under the True Details banner. I don't know what the significance of the change of brand is, because the sets clearly come from the same source with the excellent master parts once again created by Jef Verswyvel, the same flawless casting, and identical style instructions.
Squadron have kindly provided two of the sets for Aeroscale's forthcoming F-80/T-33 Dual Build.
TD32458 - Wheel wells - MSRP: $19.98
Although the kit's wheel wells are crisply moulded, they are essentially empty. One look at the walkaround shots available on-line reveals just how much pipework and other components were crammed into the real aircraft. I was resigned to a major scratchbuilding session to replicate some of this detail, but Jef's upgrade parts make that a totally redundant exercise!
14 x beige resin pieces provide complete new nose- and mainwheel wells, plus speed brakes and their housings. The amount of detail he's added is quite superb and it's perfectly reproduced due to the fine casting.
The nosewheel well is a straight replacement for the standard kit parts, so fitting it will be a cinch, but the combined mainwheel well / speedbrake section will require some quite major surgery. There'll be no turning back once you've started, so work carefully, cut small, thinning the inside of the kit wing as necessary, and check the fit repeatedly. It looks as though the well is designed with a small lip that fits flush with the surface of the wing; I've never seen this done before, but I like the idea because it will avoid a joint inside the well that's usually almost impossible to fill neatly.
Completing the set are actuators for the gear and nicely detailed new speedbrakes with a different style inner face to the kit items.
TD32459 - Gun Bay - MSRP: $18.98
If the previous set and the Avionix cockpit upgrade existing kit parts, the True Details nose bay offers a whole new vista in terms of eye candy! Some simple surgery is required to open up the closed gun covers and install a beautifully detailed set of .50 cal machine guns and equipment racks.
The casting is once again spot on and the detail on the 23 beige resin parts is quite superb. There's the option to open both nose covers and replace them with new resin versions that have correctly "dimpled" inner faces, but I'll probably only open one side to keep the nose-art intact on the other.
Having open up one cover on my kit, a quick test fit shows the main resin cradle fits nicely, lining up with the base of the bay and the panel line at the rear. However, it's going to be a very tight fit with the cockpit and I'm pretty sure that, no matter how much you thin down the rear bulkhead, you are still going to need to slice off some of the front of the cockpit tub to squeeze everything in (but fear not - this will be effectively hidden by the instrument panel).
Both sets come with single A-4 sheets of instructions illustrated with photos of the actual parts in use. I have to say the photos aren't all reproduced as clearly as one might wish. There's a parts list in each case, but this isn't matched to a picture of the components, so some careful study may be needed to make sure you know what goes where.
Unfortunately no colour guide is included so you will need to look at some walkaround-style pictures to really make the most of the moulded details. The following set on ARC will be a big help with the wheel wells: http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/AWA1/201-300/walk280_F-80/walk280.htm
Czech Models' F-80C is a fine kit straight form the box, but still with masses of potential for superdetailing. The replacement wheel wells by True Details really are in a different league to the basic kit parts, while the open nose gun bays will add considerable interest in an easy to view part of the kit. Neither set is overly complex, but the mainwheel well in particular will need some very careful cutting to the kit to install it neatly, so a fair amount of experience is required. Highly recommended to anyone looking to superdetail their Shooting Star.
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