R. B. Productions have released a new detail harness which is simply superb. Following a different approach to the photo etched brass varieties, this has etched brass buckles and fittings (including every eyelet ring) and paper straps. This lends itself to a very realistically handling harness that can fold and drape just like the real thing.
The harness takes a lot of assembly but the instructions are very clear. The paper straps are die cut and peel from a protective backing. The eyelets need to be individually cut from the carrier frame and are extremely small and are easily lost but there are more than you need so losing a few is OK! A steady hand, good eyesight and a good magnifying glass are a must. The instructions say to use a damp small brush for the eyelets, I found two cocktail sticks were better. Each eyelet consists of 2 rings, one for each side of the strap so be prepared for a long assembly time. I found UHU ideal for glueing these onto the straps.
Once the eyelets are secure, the buckles and rings need to be fitted and this is again fiddly and time consuming. Again they have to be cut fro the frame which is easy with a sharp knife then the problems start: try holding something this small in your tweezers and then filing the sharp bits off! When ready, the paper straps fit into the metal rings exactly as the real fabric straps did. You can even adjust their length.
Wear and tear can be added, the instructions recommend the use of pastels for this. I'm not sure this is necessary. However, stitching can be added with very careful use of a pencil ( I would recommend a 0.3mm propelling variety).
The paper seems a little stiff at first but the actual handling during assembly softens this and naturally adds wear. If you want, you could varnish the whole harness when complete but I do not think this is at all necessary unless you want to handle it regularly.
The level of detail is very good on all etched parts as you would expect. The paper straps at first seem wrong (because they are paper) but they behave more like the real thing than their brass counterparts. They fold realistically and although I haven't yet fitted them permanently into either my Hawker Hurricane or Spitfire (both in mid build) I know they will drape beautifully and add to the realism of the cockpit.
These really are the Rolls Royce of harnesses and I will be getting more of these as needed as there are many different models and scales available for many different aircraft.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Terrific realism including the way they drape and fold.Adjustable and highly detailed.Lows: over 6 hours to assemble due to the many tiny and easily lost parts.Verdict: A terrific way to add great detail to your 1:24 Allied aircraft.