Modern Jet Components

Published on
February 3, 2020
Review Author(s)
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If you build modern aircraft in 1/48 scale and are frustrated with some of the details that seem to be lacking on the instrument panels, this product will help you add more details to those instrument panels.

The package consists of one photo-etched (PE) brass sheet with a large number of instrument bezels, ejection seat handles, mirrors, switch panels, warning/caution light panels, and multi-function CRT interface bezels. Put these bezels over instrument decals, and a very realistic instrument results.

Besides just adding details to an aircraft instrument panel or modern fighter cockpit, these bezels and other components can be used to scratchbuild a completely new panel or panels. The ejection seat handles can be used to enhance either a kit ejection seat, or an aftermarket ejection seat.

The first thing I did was to enhance a Testor’s 1/48 T-33. The kit instrument panels come as just decals, so I considered the kit a good start to see how these bezels would look. I glued the painted bezels to the panel with clear paper glue, and when the glue was dry, I applied a drop of Pledge Floor Care (PFC) to represent the glass in the instrument.

One word of caution – these parts are small, and I highly recommend either keeping a finger on the part as you cut it from the fret, or use some other way of holding the part in place while you cut it off of the fret. The first bezel I cut went flying away because I did not hold onto the part. (I was very lucky in that later on, after I didn’t need it, the carpet monster gave it back!)

I tried the same trick that I used with the T-33 on Testor’s O-2 kit, but the results were disappointing. The instrument decal provided with the kit has odd sized instruments that I couldn’t match up to any of the bezels provided.

Painting the parts is not hard, and you can use either an airbrush or just paint it with a brush. Another trick that I did not try with these bezels is to use a black Sharpie pen to color them black. Every bezel and panel that I have seen over my career in the U.S. Air Force as a C-130 Crew Chief was black, and sometimes the switches were black or grey. Test aircraft often have a control panel for whatever they are testing – and these control panels are painted orange. Prototype and pre-production test aircraft often have these orange panels that replace the normal instrument or display. An excellent example is the Full Scale Development F-16s – they had an orange control panel in place of the production aircraft’s weapons load display. One problem that I had with painting the bezels was that the paint scratched off easily as I cut them from the fret (using a #11 blade).

Enhancing unpainted instrument panels can really make the model’s cockpit “pop” out if the bezels are both installed in the correct spot and painted at the same time as the instrument panel. I added these PE details by scraping and filing off some of the kit molded instrument panel’s details, and then I used a slow setting super glue to attach the PE bezels and panels in their correct positions.

I used the various parts on the fret to enhance instrument panels, all in 1/48 scale, for the following kits: F-106A, F-4C, F-105D, F-105G, and a F-117, all of which were Monogram kits.

There are other bezels and parts that can also be used outside of the cockpit or flight deck of an aircraft. These are small circular and square frames normally used for dials and display panel edges, but these would make for additional interesting details on the outside of the aircraft.

Using a combination of both instrument decals and these PE bezels really adds to the realism of a jet fighter’s cockpit or the flight deck of a bomber.

A special thanks goes out to Airscale for providing this product for review.

If you have never used PE, but want to give it a try, this PE product is a perfect beginning to adding details through using PE. I highly recommend this product!


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