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1:32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 cockpit set


Jim H
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1:32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 cockpit set
Aires
Catalogue # 2189
Available from Hannants for £15.50

 

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Revell's recent Bf 109G-6 has certainly spawned a whole new wave of aftermarket items to help push this kit to the next level. While I think it's generally accepted that Revell's kit, although offering plenty in terms of detail and option possibilities, isn't absolutely perfect, this hasn't stopped a whole swathe of complicated and involved detail/correction sets being released by the main protagonists in our hobby. On the slab today, we have an entire cockpit replacement set, sent to us by the fine guys at Aires.

 

This release is packaged into a clear blister packet with a card insert slid into this from behind, and the instructions sheet within this. This is stapled through the plastic in order to seal the package. To open, you need to start extracting heavy gauge staples. I much prefer the approach from Eduard with their pop open packets. All resin parts within are backed by soft grey foam so they don't rattle around too much. Above this, a small blister contains a single PE fret. This is sealed into position securely with black card, taped all the way around.

 

Revell neatly designed their kit so that the cockpit walls fit into recesses within the fuselage. This is manna from heaven for the aftermarket companies who champion the modular approach for their cockpit upgrade sets. This means that this set, as with the Eduard one, are designed to be built as a module as per the actual kit parts, and then simply glued into place with minimal fuss, and what appears to be zero surgery for the host kit.

 

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Aires have cast this set in their usual creamy, light grey resin, with the three main components being the two fully detailed sidewalls, and a single piece cockpit floor, incorporating the rear and forward bulkheads. This part also includes many details which may normally have been cast as separate parts, including the seat, footboard and rudder pedal mounts. There is a space for where the MK108 cannon breech protrudes into the space between the pilot's knees. There are actually THREE breech options for this cockpit, with each cast separately onto their own blocks. Two notches exist in the floor at each side of the module. This is to allow the sidewalls to properly locate and key into this main part.

 

Detail in this area of the office is superb with sharp bulkhead detail, incorporating wiring, connectors and riveting, and various avionics units on the floor. Of course, there is a casting block to remove, and in the case of this part, it's pretty substantial. The whole of the area underneath the rear seat bulkhead, extending to a 3mm depth plate underneath the cockpit floor, is solid resin. I wouldn't think you would need to remove all of this block, looking at the kit itself, but I think you would need to remove the majority of the resin from beneath the floor. The material to the rear of the pit could be left in situ.

 

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Those side walls are simply stunning, and are going to call for a steady hand and a fine brush in order to bring out that detail. You will need to use the kit part for the fuel line with the clear viewing glass though. In all fairness, Revell did a pretty good job of that feature, so it should look just at home here among the superb regulator, switch box and fuse panel detail. Despite most detail being moulded in situ, such as exterior vent and throttle quadrant etc, there are a few areas which will need to be supplemented by the PE parts included in this set. We'll look at those in a moment and see what's included. Casting blocks run along the bottom of the side walls, and be careful you don't cut through the locating tabs at the bottom of these when you saw away those blocks.

 

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There aren't too many other resin parts included in this set, apart from the 3 major components and the three MK108 cannon breech options. That's pretty much a testament to how this set is designed and mastered. Other parts included in resin are the control column complete with leather gaiter and wiring, weapons selector panel (optional), two gun sight options, head rest padding, and a handful of other small detail. Again, you will need to use the kit parts when it comes to the armoured head rest plate itself.

 

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The instrument panel has partial detail cast onto it, with the remainder of the instruments being complemented by a layered PE approach which includes sandwiching a clearly printed film between the resin and metal parts. You will of course need to add the film to a white-painted background for the instruments to stand out. That film piece also contains the plates for the gun sight options.

 

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A full seatbelt set is included on the photo etch fret, which has a bare brass finish. I'm not really a fan of Aires belts, and would much prefer the HGW/Eduard textile belts to these. This fret also includes the rudder trim wheels and chain, rudder pedals, instrument panel sections and bezels, armoured headrest brackets, and a small amount of side wall detail. I can't ever fault the quality of Aires' photo etch parts, apart from those seatbelts, as everything is cleanly manufactured, and are held in place with thin, narrow tags.

 

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Conclusion
As long as you have a steady hand, and some creative flair in order to get the very best out of the detail cast into this set, then this is one upgrade that could be managed by a newcomer to resin sets. Superbly designed, and extremely busy-looking generally, this is most certainly a definite improvement over the kit parts and will give the wow factor to what is always a key focal point of any large scale model. Resin casting is excellent, with no flaws, and all parts are pretty easy to clean up, prior to assembly.

 

As far as accuracy goes, I have to admit I'm no expert on the Bf 109. Having said that, looking at the limited reference I do have, and with Google being my friend, Aires do seem to have pretty much got this looking correct. This is also a fairly cheap set, even in comparison to the low price of the Revell kit, and it is one you should consider if you like an eye-catching office.

 

Highly recommended

 

James H

 

Our sincere thanks to Aires for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

 

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Good review James

 

For the money, AIres look to have bettered Eduard - unless you have to have coloured PE, which I'm not fussed over...

 

Matt

Hey Matt

 

So the Aires one is more accurate, better quality or a bit of both in your opinion?

 

Just trying to work out which one I might get...

 

Thanks

 

N

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Well, this isn't exactly scientific, but the Eduard looks more like they took Revell parts and detailed them (which isn't likely as this was all probably done in CAD and 3D printed) while Aires looks more original and slightly better detailed in the more visible areas.

 

So I think Aires' parts look busier and therefore I suppose, more accurate. Compare the left sidewall, detail above and behind the fresh air vent on Aires that Eduard haven't bothered with... why you would ask..? I personally prefer photo etch and film of Aires approach... colour PE is tricky to properly integrate with rest of pit due to colour diffs...

 

Aires provide 3 types of engine cannon cover - nice touch...  'pit floor has wires leading to the radio boxes beside the pilot, Eduard don't. Does look like Aires mean you to use the Revell oxygen line (not on sidewall and no parts... shown but not mentioned in the instructions...? I also like the look of their gunsights over Eduard's.

 

Eduard probably has a more representative set of electrical boxes on the right sidewall behind the panel, some nice structural detail on the forward bulkhead, and they've provided a complete set of 'bicycle chain' links for the handwheels (Aires seem to have missed the rearmost run).

 

Neither is going to look shabby... let's face it, the kit 'pit isn't too bad... but for my money I'd buy the Aires set.

 

Of course, one killer aspect we don't know is how well either fits.... Aires certainly has the less desirable reputation in that respect.. One sad thing is that neither set has tried to address (as far as I can see) the awful seam line around the cockpit sill that Revell 'built in'. A little clever engineering could have made a really significant difference to how easy it is to get a good finish on an open cockpit - and if you buy either I presume the canopy is going to be open... Finally neither appear to have offered any advice on how to attach the canopy in the absence of the (horribly wrong and clunky) Revell 'door hinges'....

 

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Just note one issue - the Aires rear bulkhead includes a partial back plate (you can see it in the pics above), whereas the vast majority of G & K models (possibly all of them) did not have this.  Instead, they just had a bare rear bulkhead.    This leaves you the choice of going with an incorrect feature or having to carve away the resin to represent a bare bulkhead (which is what I did on my G-6 build).  Very unfortunate because it's definately multiple hours of work. 

 

Otherwise, I can vouch that the Aires set has outstanding detail.

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