My modeling experience detailing aircraft cockpits includes:
- Laboring over kit-supplied embossed instrument panels that need to be painted by hand and/or dry brushed;
- Giving in to using instrument decals, either the kit-supplied panels or individual gauge decals; or
- Using photo-etched panels backed by film pieces with gauge faces that need to be back painted white and sandwiched behind the metal fronts.
While the latter is the most realistic of the aforementioned methods, none provide the realism of the 3D printed panels that are now coming to market.
Being unfamiliar with these aftermarket products, I was anxious to get a close look at one. The one I was fortunate enough to evaluate is produced by Red Fox Studios, a company in Hungary, for the new Hasegawa 1/48-scale F-22 Raptor kit. (See Photo 1).
The panels are composed of acrylic plastic with both raised and recessed details and are printed in color.