The release by Academy of a re-boxing (reviewed HERE
) of the old AMtech Focke-Wulf Ta 183
breathes new life into the Airies
cockpit detail set that was designed for the original kit and the Tamiya boxing that followed.
The upgrade is a mix of resin and photo-etched parts and arrives in a neat bubble-pack with a cardboard backing and a layer of foam to protect the resin pieces. I think an extra layer of foam would be a good idea, because the parts in my set were still free to rattle around in transit despite the padding - but, that said, everything arrived perfectly intact, so I guess the packaging actually did it's job fine. What I did
like was the way the little pocket for the etched fret and its accompanying printed film had been firmly sealed with tape to stop them working loose. That's a very nice touch.
The set comprises:
8 x grey resin pieces
10 x etched brass pieces
A sheet of printed film for the instrument faces and gunsight's reflector
The casting is excellent in my set, with no sign of bubbles or other flaws. This is "old school" resin casting - probably pre-dating the advent of CAD in this part of the modelling market - so the detail is all down to the skill of the pattern-maker and it's really very nice. Clean-up should be quick and straightforward - especially since the casting block for the cockpit tub doesn't even need removing (just a trim under the rear decking is enough to fit it).
The etched fret provides a new instrument panel as a classic "sandwich" with printed film for the faces, plus multi-part seatbelts and rudder pedals with foot straps.
The set is a definite improvement over the kit's rather basic "office", with much more detail on the side consoles and a far better ejection seat. It also overcomes the rather annoying sink marks that are present on the sidewalls of the cockpit tub in my kits.
The rear of the new instrument panel features neatly depicted wiring, but this is a reminder of the rather curious design of the original kit cockpit. It features an instrument coaming, but it ends short, leaving the back of the instruments exposed. Focke-Wulf practice in aircraft like the Fw 190/Ta 152 and Ta 154 was to site the instrument panel under a coaming to shield it from glare and protect the rear of the instruments, so the kit layout doesn't make a lot of sense. It would be more logical to trim out the partial coaming and make a new one from scratch - or perhaps replace it with a canvas cover. Of course, whatever we do is educated guesswork at best, because the Ta 183 never saw service and we're in the realm of "Luftwaffe '46" - i.e. the world is your proverbial oyster.
I think the Airies
cockpit set is a very worthwhile addition to the AmMtech/Tamiya/Academy kit - particularly if you intend to open up the canopy. It's straightforward enough to be suitable for modellers who are new to working with resin and photo-etched parts. At around £10 it represents good value for quality of parts and the level of detail offered.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE