The second instalment in Pavla Models' series of upgrades for the 1:48 Airfix Sea Vixen focuses on the belly airbrake. The 10 grey resin parts of the sample set arrived perfectly intact sealed in a bubble-pack, and the casting is flawless. Despite its simplicity, the upgrade offers a dramatic improvement over the standard kit parts, and the level of detail is quite outstanding.
The main part provides the basic bay and is a straight replacement for kit part 5B, requiring no surgery to install beyond removing its casting block. Sitting it beside the styrene version, the difference is eye-popping, as it's jam-packed with masses of additional details such as structural formers and a cat's-cradle of pipework and wiring. The airbrake itself is also a great improvement with much deeper detail and, importantly, no awkward ejector pin marks to worry about. The only part used from the original kit is the actuator jack, and I'm slightly surprised Pavla didn't replace this too, as the photos in Roy Sutherland's study of the Sea Vixen
show it the real thing has a hydraulic pipe that Airfix missed.
The set is accompanied by a small sheet of instructions that are more than adequate for the task. The well-drawn diagrams have colours keyed to the details, and I would recommend Roy's book as the best reference available if you want add further touches.
Pavla's Sea Vixen airbrake set is great, piling in masses of extra detail, but still presenting a really simple upgrade. Highly recommended.