With its semi-open cockpit, ICM's Hs 126 is the perfect target for superdetailing and is justifiably proving popular with aftermarket producers. Eduard have released a pair of upgrade sets -
49 509 - full etched detail set
, soon to be reviewed by Jean-Luc Formery, and
- its cut-down Zoom counterpart reviewed here.
The Zoom set focuses on the cockpit and, rather than replace everything (as in the case of Vector's resin upgrade set
), Eduard have chosen to keep the best of what ICM include - which is very good - and concentrate on adding beautifully pre-painted instrument panels, fascias and seat harnesses, along with a myriad of smaller items like switches, levers and handles.
Despite being the simpler of Eduard's two sets, the single fret still provides no less than 67 new parts. The reason that Eduard are market leaders in etching-technology for models is immediately clear - the pre-painting is just superb. The level of detail is way beyond what I think most of us could ever hope to paint, and the end result should look fantastic. The main panels and fascias are self-adhesive, which has a benefit over applying with cyanoacrylate because it allows for a little adjustment before pressing down into the final position.
Some earlier pre-painted sets have received criticism for a faintly grainy "pointillist" look to some of the colours. Well, perhaps Eduard have refined their process lately, but the colours seem smoother and more solid. Of course, one concern inevitably remains - namely, matching colour of the parts to your overall chosen model paint. Actually, I think Eduard have got a reasonably convincing RLM 02 here, and you can always put down any small discrepancy to the modular nature of the construction of the full-sized aircraft where pre-painted components were added on the production line.
The set should be fairly straightforward to use and will make a good introductory etched upgrade for anyone trying out the medium for the first time. The instruments and fascias are direct replacements for ICM's parts, and the instructions show clearly where original details must be sanded or chiseled away. There's just one box to fold, and it's not too small, so it's a good one to learn the trick on.
There is one omission in the otherwise helpful instructions; there's a second pair of lap belts provided, but they aren't shown at all. They are intended for the observer and, going by original technical illustrations in Mushroom Model Publications' excellent book on the aircraft, they didn't attach to the seat, but were folded and hung on the sidewalls when not in use.
Eduard's etched details will add plenty of detail to the already very good interior of ICM's Hs 126. Items like the excellent instruments and harnesses are really almost "must-haves" in making the most of the kit's cockpit, and the fun will really start for me in combining the best of them with Vector's resin "office". Highly recommended.
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