(No preamble this time; only building reports. )
The remaining item I tackled here was the seat itself. The Eduard set 32 920 included in the big Ed set has a very well-done P-51 seat, complete with the aft stiffener, and some other little details. It is pretty well self-explanatory how to fold it all into place. The seat requires some gap-filling superglue to properly assemble, as there is little surface on which to have the glue “Grab” the other parts, and hold together while under handling. Once these are complete, the armor plate is cemented into place.
I had painted all these parts in Tamiya Gray primer, so there was no issue about missing some of the areas for painting. I shot Tamiya’s Olive Drab 2 over the primer, to give it all “tooth”. The seat structure is added by bent PE parts; I decided to use some lead wire to replace the flat seat frame bits, as it looked too “2-dimensional” to my eye. Once complete I painted the parts interior Green (which is VERY close to Olive drab in most cases) to make them fit with the rest of the interior.
From my sources, frequently the armor plating was painted flat black, so this is a moderate chance for individuality. The Eduard set also has you remove the headrest from the plastic parts, and is explicit in how to do this. It’s also a chance to individualize again, by scraping (with a #11 blade base) a few leather-like dips and valleys to show wrinkling of the headrest. One other note here: If I do this again, I will make the armor plating a bit thicker with card, as the PE metal looks too fragile for Armor for me.
One note here is both the later seat (with the full metal bucket frame) and the earlier seat with a bucket, side braces, and a seatback can be modeled either out of the box or with Eduards’ set.
Another nice touch is the use of PE to upgrade the rudder pedals with PE facings. The instructions show removal; I opted to insert the PE pedals with their NAA (North American Aviation) Logo on them. Paint Green or aluminum, your choice.
This was my first use of Eduards’ new STEEL PE seat harness. There are seven parts total on the fret; it is a LOT easier to use and I found the steel to be easier than brass to drape, attach, and generally use. The seat lock has two copies for the occasional “click/lost” moment, and the left and right harness, along with the separate brown leather pads fit the seat pan very nicely. I had the harness installed in about 10 minutes; usually threading belts and tensioners, along with buckles, takes me about two hours (or it never gets done and the set is “binned”. GREAT IMPROVEMENT!
Moving on to the exterior set, the radiators receive grilles and facings; I opted to paint the kit parts flat black, sprayed the Eduard Grilles Bare metal, and carefully attached the grilles with superglue on the periphery of each part. These then dropped right into place, and added a very welcome clean radiator appearance, as you can see in the Pictures.
At this point the wing needs to be installed, with all the radiators in place. I know for a fact I had to do a lot of little irritating and not so little (more irritating) gap filling but this is part of the price of admission.
Once all the underside areas where the radiators fit were cleaned up and smoothed up, the oil cooler radiator exit was a simple one-part bent to shape item. Next up was a more complex radiator door, complete with actuator fitting, external stiffener straps, and a cross-door brace. These all fitted into place nicely and looked less chunky than the kit item.
Main gear inner follow-up doors received a nice, easy to lose but find again lock fairing. Also included are main gear door standoffs in PE, along with Oleo strut links in PE. These looked a bit thin to me, and also I intend to use the SAC gear, so these were set aside.