About ten years ago, Hasegawa released a series of new-tool 1:48 kits of classic Japanese WW2 fighters that still, in my opinion, rate among the finest mainstream models available in this scale. Among them was the Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden-kai (George), crisply detailed inside and out, with a very decent cockpit straight from the box. Some reviews of the time suggested that there was little more you could wish to add, but one look at the SBS Model replacement cockpit for the kit makes the original parts pale by comparison.
Arriving in one of the company's attractive and sturdy little cardboard cartons, the set comprises:
16 x grey resin parts
36 x etched brass parts, plus a printed film for the instrument faces.
The casting in the sample set is simply superb, with not a bubble or other flaw in sight. The parts completely replace the kit's cockpit and are beautifully detailed - wherever you look, the resin items add masses of extra detail over their styrene counterparts. So, the sidewalls feature extra (and finer) stringers, consoles and wiring, while the kit's rather empty floor is now festooned with pipework and other details. The solid rear "bulkhead" is now revealed to be an open framework through which project separate oxygen bottles, and the heavily moulded kit seat is replaced by a delicate perforated item with an etched harness.
The resin "foundations" are augmented with a plethora of tiny etched knobs and levers, along with a trim wheel and rudder pedals. The instrument panel is built up from a sandwich of an etched fascia and printed dials on a resin backing.
The upgrade contains a full set of clear and very well illustrated instructions that break the assembly down into 9 stages. Nothing looks overly complex, and no modification is required to the Hasegawa kit, but I wouldn't recommend the set as suitable for anyone inexperienced with resin and, in particular, etched parts due to the number of small items, some of which need folding. The seat mount stands out as likely to be quite fiddly, with 8 parts including little pulleys to fold to shape for the original aircraft's bungee-cord height adjustment.
SBS Model's Shiden-kai cockpit should look simply superb when carefully painted, taking an already excellent kit to the next level in terms of detailing. I'd recommend this without hesitation to anyone with a little experience looking to super-detail their "George".
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Beautifully detailed resin and etched parts. Clear instructions.Lows:Verdict: SBS Model's replacement cockpit totally eclipses the original Hasegawa kit's "office", and promises to look an absolute gem if carefully painted and highlighted to maximize the extra details.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...