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  1. 1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2 instrument panel Yahu Catalogue # YML3201 Available from StoryModels for £5.19 This one came just too late for me to be able to use on my own Ar 234 model, which is slated for publication in issue #47 of Military Illustrated Modeller. For my build, I used the new Ar 234B-2/N kit from Fly Model (reviewed here), and this new release from Yahu is for that same kit. Had I been able to use it at the time, it would've been sure to add some real magic to that busy-looking cockpit which is already supplied with the kit. Even though this is classed as an 'instrument panel' set, unlike the Spitfire instrument panel we reviewed yesterday, there is no physical panel here, but instead we have the components to populate the plastic panel and consoles. 1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2/N, from next month's Military Illustrated Modeller, built by author. As with the Spitfire set, this is packaged into a small zip-lock wallet, with a card product label folded and stapled to the top. As the instructions in this one are a little more complex, the extra card in this provides a nice, robust package which won't be readily damaged. As this set contains separate instrument faces and bezels, it first appeared that you might need to eradicate all traces of the moulded plastic detail, but that simply isn't the case. There is one single photo-etch fret supplied in this set, containing SIXTY-TWO pre-painted parts, produced from what looks like a nickel-plated brass sheet. The fret itself is also very unusual in that it is split into three parts, connected at either end by tags. I'll come onto the reason why in a moment. Essentially, half of the parts, save for two, are broken down into instrument faces and their separate bezels. Colourisation is excellent, as it was with the Spitfire instrument panel, with a number of bezels which are split into different coloured quadrants etc. The edge of the bezels also have a very slightly worn appearance which is only really discernible in macro photography. Just take a look at the instrument faces themselves. Pretty much all of the text and graduations are clearly seen. Under normal circumstances, this is as much as you'd expect to see with a product such as this; neatly printed gauges etc. but if you flip the fret over, you'll see a small pip on the underside of each gauge. This is designed to be located into a small hole which you will need to drill into the dead-centre of each moulded instrument. Before you do this though, note that the bezels themselves are recessed. The idea is to orientate the gauge and sit it within the bezel underside recess. You then need to glue the assembly into the holes you drilled in the plastic parts. Drilling that hole is for a twofold reason. Firstly, if helps you to properly centralise the instrument, and secondly, after you finally remove the whole of the moulded plastic instrument, you know exactly where it used to be! Now, why is the fret split the way it is? That's simple. After cutting two of the tags, and bending the fret as shown on the instructions, you can handle the fret easier, or indeed stand it up for the next stage, and that is to airbrush matt or satin varnish over the bezels, lessening the risk of spraying the accompanying instrument gauges. Yahu's instructions are clear to follow, and concise, with a number of clear illustrations explaining what needs to be done to implement this set, and a clear cockpit layout plan which shows you where all the parts are to be fitted. Whilst is will take some time to prepare the plastic for these new parts, the task itself is relatively easy. Patience is the key here. Conclusion The more I see from Yahu, the more I like what they are doing. If this and the Spitfire instrument panel are anything to go by, we'll be in for some quite spectacular upgrade sets from them in the coming months. Production quality is excellent, and the colourisation is first rate. This is another quite inexpensive set, so if you're contemplating the wonderful new Fly Model Ar 234B-2, then you could do a whole lot worse than to try this rather splendid little set. Very highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Maciej Goralczyk and Yahu for these samples. This set is available from StoryModels by clicking THIS link. James H.
  2. 1:32 Spitfire Mk.II instrument panel Yahu Cataloge # YMA3201 Available from StoryModels for £5.19 I remember having real fun when I built the test shot of the Revell 1:32 Spitfire Mk.IIa last year. The kit isn't perfect, by any means, but one quirk I had to deal with at the time was the rebuilding of the instrument panel which was reversed. Revell actually fixed this and made quite a nice job of it, but if painting and super-detailing instrument panels isn't one of your preferred tasks, then Yahu have come up with a solution. This, with some minor plastic surgery, will give you the very ultimate in cockpit focal points. Yahu's new instrument panel replacement is packed into a small zip-lock wallet, with a cardboard product holder stapled to it. My only gripe here is that the inserted card instructions are very thin, and don't provide much protection from the packet being bent. The front of the card is illustrated with a colour image of the parts contained, whilst the rear pf the wallet contains the loose instrument panel, and several small PE parts in another, smaller sleeve. I have to say that this product is nothing short of entirely amazing, and has to be seen to be believed. I don't know the process of how the parts are painted/inked, but the finish is remarkable, with totally solid, sharp colour, and details which are so fine that I have nothing like this before, except for perhaps in decal form from Airscale. The rear of the panel has a couple of small paint parts, showing the colour application doesn't appear to be digitally printed. The panel itself is finished in a colour which I would describe as about 95% black, for extra realism, and the finish is also matt, except for the recessed instrument faces which are glossy, to represent the glass faces. There is actually another glossy area here, and that is the central panel area. This is because a separate panel fits atop this, and of course, adhesive will stick better to a glossy finish. Smart thinking! Scuffs and scratches are entirely intentional! Again, instrument and panel detail is the very best I have seen, with various fasteners, placard etc. been so clearly replicated. Where instruments have a coloured bezel, these are sharply created, and of course, that bezel detail is beautifully raised and defined. There is also an extra part which is attached to the IP via a small tag, and that is to replace the kit's compass face. This is as superbly printed as the remainder of the parts in this release. The 'UP' and 'DOWN' text on the levers is readable, but only in macro view!! Note more intentional weathering on the panel. The small wallet inside this packet, apart from containing the central, raised basic instruments panel, complete with silver fasteners, also holds a tiny mini-fret, holding three further parts which form various toggle switches. Be careful with these, as no spares are included. For attaching the various parts, I would use Klear which of course won't give the fogging that many CA adhesives create. There are also no instructions which show that you need to actually remove the moulded plastic detail from the kit instrument panel, allowing this unit to sit flush to the bare plastic. I think that's so obvious that you really don't need to be told that you have to do this. Conclusion There are a number of upgrade sets for the new Revell Spitfire Mk.IIa, and this is probably one of the very best that you can buy. A good number of large scale guys probably like to make the most of the cockpit area, and this will go a long way to creating that level of attainment that you strive for. Assembly is so simple, and the result is a panel which is nigh on photo-realistic. For a single instrument pane, you might baulk at spending over £5, but please check this out, and you'll see that it's worth every penny. Very highly recommended (just stunning!) My sincere thanks to StoryModels for the review sample seen here. To purchase this directly, click THIS link. James H
  3. For my GB entry, and because my time is seriously limited, I thought I'd throw this one into the pot. I've had this for a while, so looking forward to getting it built. I might even do something this weekend, workload prevailing.
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