Saturday, May 10

Strap yourself in – we are reviewing four new P-40 seats in 48th scale from Ultracast…

How are you seated - Comfortable? Could you have a better seat for your cockpit of your P-40? There is always room for improvement as we all know, and Ultracast from Canada have sent their four new replacement seats and harnesses for us to review. Let’s see how comfortable they make us...
Resin replacement seats of the P-40 in 48th scale
From Ultracast
Cream Resin - 1 part each seat
$5.95 (CDN Funds) + P&P each from Ultracast directly.

Ultracast from Canada have a really good reputation in the modelling world, they makes aircraft additions and accessories and some great figures as well as selling some of the best items from other suppliers in the modelling business. Kind of just up our street because who wants to review stuff that isn’t great? Well we had our hopes high when we saw these four seats to fit any of the48th scale P-40 kits on the market.

Aren't all of these seats the same? 
"err no sir they are not"

So instead of drawing this out we thought we would look at them all together int he one review to better highlight why you might choose one over the other or maybe all of them and how they are best suited. 

These seats are all of the same release time so no doubt mastered by the same artist and cast at the same time. The cream resin is non-smelly and with no real bubbles I can see. The thinnest of the walls of the seats is very well replicated here in resin. Indeed if you hold it up to the eight you can see through them. Although they are thin they are not brittle.

The seats are all connected to a small and thin casting block at the underside. This is a cinch to remove you will only need some snips and a knife to remove and trim them. There is some extra thin resin on the straps on the rear of the seats which again is an easy clean up with your trusty (pointy) hobby knife. I applaud Ultracast for the fine detail they have achieved here and the ease of removal of the seats without a real chance of breaking them. Other manufacturers could do this as well. I always get nervous taking a razor saw to thin resin and most often a large surface area contact on the casting block (like on the underside of a chair) leads to unwanted breaking. Well done on the casting.

I'm not getting in there ill you get a decent seat!
The one part seat comes in four different varieties which sometimes only vary in the inclusion of seatbelts. Though some are completely different to each other there are slight variations on each that would warrant getting all four if you had the kits to match them. The price of $5.95 (Canadian) is noting to cry about either. I like the inclusion of the harnesses to these. Just yesterday I spent 4 hours of my life making a harness that I think would look nothing different to these apart from these needing to be painted. I like aftermarket cloth seatbelts – but I like simplicity for the same result like is offered here even more.

A small note – some of these seats will even do for the P-35 and the P-47 and british fighters like the Beaufighter – so not only suitable for the Tomahawk, Kittyhawk & Warhawk lovers out there.

So we like them so far - Let’s look at all these seats in turn in a little more detail.
1/48th scale
1 part in cream resin
Suitable for all USAAF P-40's prior to mid-1942
$5.95 (CDN Funds)

This is an early pattern seat that was used by quite a few American built fighters but notably here in the P-40. The seat features the stamped horizontal stiffeners on the rear of the seat. There are heaps of pictures of this seat in use and scant little of the others..
The wide belt is laid on the floor of the bare seat and draped rather convincingly (as you do). You can see clearly the buckles and even the cross-stitching on the belts which really just raises the bar on anything from a kit or even a few other aftermarket solutions.
The side vertical stiffeners and attachments of the harness feature on both sides of the seat while the tubular framework looks convincing. The H shaped casting block is easy to remove as are the slight bits of extra resin on the top of the  pipework framing of the seat.

1/48th scale
1 part in cream resin
Suitable for Flying Tigers (A.V.G.) Aircraft
$5.95 (CDN Funds)

Again this seat has a thick but detailed harness around the lap. However this seat is a very different shape to the one we just looked at. With a square back shape and a plain back and pan to sit on this seat is again very different in the framing -  a high square frame sits it in place to the cockpit wall.

The thick wide belt again features nicely detailed buckles and again stitching on the straps to hold these buckles in place. Very nice.
The seat is held to the casting block by a very thin H shaped resin strips that secure it to the casting block. This only takes a minute to remove before preparing the resin to paint. There is a little extra resin that needs to be simply trimmed out from the seat support but with the lap belt and seat ready to go in about two minutes it sure is better than a PE or kit seat with aftermarket belts.

1/48th scale
1 part in cream resin
Suitable for early war RAF, RAAF, SAAF & Flying Tigers (A.V.G.)
$5.95 (CDN Funds)

…Another seat for the P-40 with a square back. This one is actually exactly the same as the 48257 seat but with two exceptions..
The seat does not have a harness – so if you are a glutton for punishment and like to fiddle with fabric/ PE seatbelts you have a choice – the other option here is if you have a pilot of course who needs to be strapped in.
The other difference is that this seat features a stamped out hollow under the “fanny” of the pilot in the bucket. This “cut-out” space is for the chute pack bundle to sit in without interference or creating a lump for the pilot to sit on. There is – like the previous seat a flared part on the lower left side wall of the seat that the rip-chord sits in snugly. Little details but once you see them on the real thing it sure is good to see them here in paper thin 48th scale resin.

1/48th scale
1 part in cream resin
Suitable for early war RAF, RAAF, SAAF Tomahawks
$5.95 (CDN Funds)

This seat features the intricate looking Sutton harness which – when you have to make in in an aftermarket set I think is a nightmare. HOWEVER with this seat here you get one – paper thin and laid out in some impressive detail, draped over the side walls and rear of the seat. It is the square back seat like the two we have looked at most recently but the harness really does add quite a bit to the depth of it.
There is the same flared left hand side part for the bottom of the chair like the others and you cannot see much under the harness of the pan. You can however see a very thin release chord hanging off the harness. The harness passes through the front of the pan and around the back of the seat to correctly sit in place. This I bet was found out after a lot of good research into this harness type.
So – to me this is by now preaching to the converted – I know myself I do not have to think too hard – cheap – easy to prepare and very finely detailed – I cannot think there is a better way to detail up the most visible part of the cockpit of your P-40 in 48th scale. For that matter your P-35, Beaufighter or Thunderbolt which you may e able to include these into.

Great seats that you almost don’t want to cover by sticking a pilot figure in there

Adam Norenberg

These seats and all of Ultracast’s figures and accessories are available online from their website