WWII Luftwaffe Fighter Fabric Seatbelts
This is the second product in Eduard’s FABRIC line of seatbelts I have had the pleasure of reviewing. Earlier. I reviewed the 1/32 WWII USAAF fabric seatbelts at http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/wwii-usaaf-fabric-seatbelts
This set is very similar to the USAAF one, with additional detail to reflect the higher complexity of Luftwaffe belts. As with the USAAF set, the belts themselves are made out of some sort of fine gauze-type material, and have only small attachment points keeping them on their fret. The material is pre-colored, with the belts in a light tan, pads for under the buckles in a slightly darker color, and one leather tab in a brown color. Very faint stitching lines and fabric weave details are evident as well. There is even stenciling and data plate info printed onto the fabric.
After cutting the belts free, one must remove the stiff backing paper – this is easily done with a knife tip. The back of the material is not adhesive, and I imagine this backing material is there only to keep everything stiff while the machines cut and color things during the production run. Eduard’s instructions recommend crumpling up the fabric after removing the backing and rolling it between one’s fingertips in an effort to make the material able to drape more easily. I did this, and to some extent the material began to curl up a bit on itself. More crumpling, followed by some pushing and prodding with tweezers, and the material did settle down.
The belt hardware comes on the familiar small photo etch fret we are used to from Eduard. Again, as with the USAAF set, I found it pretty easy and straightforward to thread the various buckles and other items onto the belts. Being 1/32nd scale made this fairly simple – I would imagine in 1/48 (these sets are also available in that scale) this would be more hassle than it might be worth. The instructions were all very clear. Eduard even provides two versions of attachment hardware on the PE fret (although no mention is made of which a/c would use the different types).
Assembling the entire set took me about an hour, similar to the time spent on the USAAF set. Eduard suggests applying some light oil washes after installing the belts into your project, and I imagine that would enhance what is already a good-looking item. One point I overlooked in the review of the USAAF set – there is NO detail on the undersides of the belts. So, if you were to install these belts in such a manner that shows the underside – be aware. This can be easily overcome with some judicious use of washes or pastels, but some extra work will be required.
I would highly recommend this product. It’s a bit pricey for one set of belts, but the effect is impressive and in this larger scale it is worth the effort.
My thanks to Eduard for providing the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it!