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1:32 Seatbelt sets, microfiber


Jim H
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1:32 Seatbelt sets, microfiber
HGW
Catalogue # see article for product info, code and price
Available from HGW

 

 

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Without a doubt, HGW are becoming the company of choice when it comes to fitting out your model with accurate and realistic seatbelts. This prolific Czech company have sent us a number of their latest 1:32 releases, designed to cater to modellers of both WW1 and WW2 subjects. Feast your eyes over these new sets!

  • 132533, Messerschmitt Me262A Schwalbe, 229 Kč
  • 132540, Messerschmitt Me163 Komet, 229 Kč
  • 132543, Roland D.VIb (for Wingnut Wings), 229 Kč
  • 132545, Roland C.II (for Wingnut Wings), 229 Kč
  • 132548, Spitfire Mk.II (for Revell), 229 Kč

As these are standard seatbelt sets, with no extras such as resin parts, all items are packed into the rigid, card-reinforced letterbox style wallet that we're used to seeing with regular HGW sets. That packaging is very attractive, with black satin face, and the belt and PE parts attached to the card with some low-tack glue.

 

How do I use these sets?
If you're used to PE or paper belts, then the techniques you'll use here will be markedly different, but will offer more flexibility to produce a very authentic looking belt. The very first thing you must do is to REMOVE the paper backing from the laser-cut microfibre textile sheet. That might sound blindingly obvious, but I do know modellers who haven't done this, despite still achieving an admirable result, wondered why the belts were a little stiff ;)

 

Ok, now you've removed that backing, when it comes time to remove the parts from the sheet (by nicking across the small connecting tab), you should take each piece in turn and scrunch it up into a little ball. Keep opening it and then re-scrunching until the material is very pliable. Do this with each piece before you then assemble them and add the PE buckles.

 

Once you've added the belts to your model, draping them naturally over the pilot's seat and any other part of the model you choose, such as cockpit sides, you may now apply a little clear gloss varnish to them and apply a wash with either enamels or oils. This then brings to life the laser etched stitching which isn't readily seen without weathering. You can then apply matt varnish and even delicately dry-brush the belts. These really are the very best there is.

 

Colour printing of the textile parts is superb, containing more printed stitching, and also serial numbers and data 'plates' where appropriate. The laser cutting also has the presumably unplanned, but very welcome effect of slightly darkening the ink around the edges. This creates a beautifully warm and 3D-looking seatbelt. You will notice that, despite HGW labelling some sets differently, some sets can actually be identical, because those were simply the type of belt used at that time. Not a criticism, but remember that if the Me 163 set of out of stock, for example, then the Me 262 set will be just fine ;)

 

Photo etch is by Eduard, and I have previously found that there are a few extra parts on the fret, but please take care with assembly, just in case your particular set only has the exact number.

 

Instructions are supplied as another card insert in the rear of the package. Apart from the Roland D.VIb set which depicts this in photo format, all other sets are given as clear line drawings, with numbers which denote whether the part being referred to is textile or photo etch. Simplicity! Now, let's take a look at the contents of each set in turn.

 

 

132533, Messerschmitt Me262A Schwalbe

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This appears to be a standard set of the beige belts seen on many type of fighter aircraft, such as the Me 109, Fw 190, Me 262, Me 163 etc. Belts produced later in the war and fitted to certain aircraft, may have been from the green Orlon material. Please check your references.

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132540, Messerschmitt Me163 Komet

 

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This appears to be a standard set of the beige belts seen on many type of fighter aircraft, such as the Me 109, Fw 190, Me 262, Me 163 etc. Belts produced later in the war and fitted to certain aircraft, may have been from the green Orlon material. Please check your references.

 

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132543, Roland D.VIb (for Wingnut Wings)

 

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A good number of seatbelts used in various German WW1 fighter types, were actually different in terms of whether shoulder straps were used, and what type of lap belt was employed. HGW produce these sets specifically for the machine you are building, so you really can't go wrong!

 

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132545, Roland C.II (for Wingnut Wings)

 

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A good number of seatbelts used in various German WW1 reconnaissance/fighter types, were actually different in terms of whether shoulder straps were used, and what type of lap belt was employed. HGW produce these sets specifically for the machine you are building, so you really can't go wrong!

 

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132548, Spitfire Mk.II (for Revell)

 

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Revell's kit contains no seatbelts at all. Just be thankful they didn't mould them to the seat as they have had a recent history of! This set will perfectly replicate the Sutton Harness which was installed in these early machines. If you go to the trouble of installing seatbelts of this calibre, please consider enhancing the cockpit with the Eduard interior detail set too.

 

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Conclusion
These belts are the product of choice for me every time. They are easy to make, and therefore relatively quick, and they don't have some of the foibles of PE belts. They can also be made to look very natural too, which is more than can be said for colour-printed PE sets. Weathering is also easy, and you'll see detail on these that is simply missing on contemporary sets. They are also well-researched and look incredibly realistic. Price-wise, they are very reasonable, and HGW always ship quickly. If you are UK based, perhaps take a look at the Arrow Wolf Models web shop too, as they carry some of the growing HGW range.

 

Very highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to HGW for the review samples seen here. To purchase directly, click the links in this article.

 

James H

 

 

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