With P-40's once again capturing the imagination, this is a good opportunity to take a look at the True Details cockpit detail set, designed for the old Mauve kit (now available from Eduard). The set is extremely well cast in traditional beige resin. The detail throughout is excellent and I only found one minor blemish on the review sample, as I'll describe below.
The set directly replaces some of the original kit pieces and comprises 7 resin parts:
Front and rear bulkheads
The floor is a vast improvement over the kit item. To be honest, this isn't difficult as the original has no detail on it at all. True Detail's part has some nice engraved detail, plus delicate piping and control rods and gauges for the wing fuel tanks.
Mauve's kit doesn't include a front bulkhead, so the resin part is completely new. It carries a centre console, plus moulded-on rudder pedals - again, the detail is very neat. The rear bulkhead has a moulded-on seat-frame. The headrest looks much more convincing than on the one on the kit part, but it was here that I found the only problems in the set; on my sample there's a couple of bumps and small blemishes to clean off. Only a minute or two's work to sort out, but it'll certainly improve the appearance.
Moving on to the seat itself, this is superb and completely outclasses the horrid plastic "lump" in the original kit. The seat is the later "square" type which was introduced from the P-40N-5-CU onward and features a beautiful moulded-on harness.
The sidewalls in the kit aren't at all bad, but the resin replacements still put them in the shade, with masses of extra detail. Items such as throttles, control boxes, cables and oxygen hose are all there - and the excellent casting means all the detail really pops out without a bubble in sight.
Some people may be surprised that the set doesn't include an instrument panel, but the original kit item is actually rather good, so it would be fairly pointless to replace it in resin. However, True Details do supply a very nice gunsight which just needs a reflector-glass added to look really effective.
The set includes a small sheet of instructions with a simple exploded diagram showing the combination of resin and kit parts, plus an alignment diagram of how the completed cockpit slots into the fuselage. The parts are mostly direct replacements for the kit items, so there shouldn't be fit problems, but a test-fit is usually a good idea with any resin parts.
True Details supply a very helpful painting guide with FS colours for every item. It's worth tracking down some colour reference pics as well because, with the level of detail offered in this set, some careful painting will make for a real show-stopper.
This is an excellent set and great value for money. With just 7 parts, it's simple enough to recommend to intermediate modellers trying resin for the first time, while the level of detail should satisfy the experts too. With a little modification it could, no doubt, be modified to fit other manufacturers' kits. But beware - while the basic layout remained largely the same, P-40 cockpits did differ between versions, so check your references. Highly recommended.
Addendum - Resin Wheels
Backing up the cockpit set, True Details also have two neat pairs of "weighted" wheels for the P-40. Both sets include diamond-tread tyres and the "weighting" is very nicely done. Set 48015 includes wheel covers, while set 48055 features open-spoked wheels as carried by many late-mark P-40s in an effort to save weight. The spokes are quite nicely done, but look like separate "inserts", so a touch of filler between each spoke and the rim will improve the appearance.
Both sets will improve the appearance of any P-40 model and, at $1.96 per set, you certainly can't moan about the price. But try to find references for the particular aircraft you're building, because P-40s sported a range of tyre-treads. Recommended.
Thank you to MMD-Squadron for kindly supplying the review sample.
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