Monday, February 10

Far from a dull PE review - Gary reviews the Eduard PE set for the Xuntong Tu-2 bomber

OK the Tupolev Tu-2 kit from Xuntong arguably isn’t much of a draw card to a lot of modellers out there - but we think with the new Eduard additives into the mix it can be quite something of a little project – so Gary has put together three reviews of the different Eduard parts for this kit. The reviews are very good so we thought we would give each of them their time in the sun separately. Today we start with the Interior upgrade set….

Eduard Tu-2T Interior S.A. 1/48
Kit No: 49632

Designed for: Xuntong Models Tu-2 kit
1/48 scale
Photo Etch parts: 2 frets
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

This photo etch detail set from Eduard provides an enhancement set for the interior (cockpit, gunner position & tail wheel) of the Tupolev Tu-2T kit by Xuntong (pronounced Shun Ton) Models. The set contains two PE frets. The first fret is a pre-painted color fret with a self-adhesive (SA) coating. The second fret is traditional plain brass with no self-adhesive coating.

You can purchase the color SA fret by itself from Eduard as one of their Zoom sets (FE 632) or this entire set is also included in the Big ED set for the Xutong Tu-2 (BIG4994)
The set focuses on the pilot and gunner positions, providing seatbelts and detailing parts for the weapons including ammo belts and boxes.

Perhaps the best example of an existing Tu-2 cockpit in good condition (which appears to be in original colors) is the one found at the Fantasy of Flight museum in Florida.

When comparing the Eduard parts, including their color choices for the pre-painted parts to the available photos of the Tu-2 cockpit, Eduard seem to have accurately provided just enough in this set to enhance the kit interior without making the work needed overly complex. The Zoom sets are often simple sets that are for the budget conscious or those that are looking for a quick option to lift the kit cockpit.
As with any of the pre-painted PE sets care will be needed when bending the parts to ensure the paint does not crack off the brass.

The main instrument panels (left and right) and side wall panels are all provided on the painted fret. In addition two color sets of belts are provided for the pilot and rear gunner seat. The Tu-2 had a crew of 4 with a second gunner seated on a small seat to the rear and right of the pilot. I would expect that at least lap belts would have been provided for this position but Eduard have not provided any (nor do Xutong).
My first recommendation is that when using an Eduard PE set is that you visit their website and download the PDF version of the instruction sheet. Eduard do provide a printed copy of the assembly instructions with each set you purchase but they are not in color, the downloadable PDF version is.

The color instructions really do make life easier when working with the set as you can immediately see which parts need to modified on the kit parts etc

Assembly starts in the forward cockpit area and comprises of attaching the pre-painted PE parts to the kit parts. You are required to remove any existing kit raised detail that may interfere with the placement of the PE parts but this is normally achieved with nothing more than a couple of scrapes with a sharp blade.

The lever and switches are next and in 1/48 are quite tiny (at least for my aging eyes and fingers) so care will be needed.
Page 2 continues with adding detail parts to the starboard cockpit sidewall. Given that these parts are pre-painted I always like to attach them after I have painted the base cockpit color (otherwise you will have mask or paint around them).
On Page 3 our attention turns to the pilot seat and forward gunner’s area. If you plan to display your model with the canopy doors open this area will be very visible on the finished model. As this photo shows it was very cramped for the crew especially when equipped with cold weather gear.
Rudder pedal replacements are provided and these are attached to supports which hang suspended over the front edge of the cockpit floor proper. All this detail should be worth the effort as it will be visible thru the glass nose fairings.
Page 4 focuses on the rear gunner’s compartment with detailing of the seat, the gun swivel mount and ammunition boxes/belts. A new shelf is also provided in this compartment which sits forward of the gunner’s seat (directly behind the bomb bay)
The last assembly page details the parts to be added to the guns themselves (ring sights) and ammo feed belts. Small bracing parts are also provided for the interior of the canopy clear parts
The level of printed detail that Eduard is able to achieve on these sets is quite amazing. Even under magnification they hold up very well to scrutiny. Instrument dials are no longer provided as clear acetate which need to be painted instead these are now printed directly onto the brass itself and the 3D effect of the instrument bezels is accomplished by building up layers of PE.

My only criticism of these pre-painted sets occurs when the modeler does not agree with the color choice used by Eduard, say for example the grey used on the side panels in this set. Black parts are pretty safe as there are not too many shades of black, but grey, green or blue cockpit interiors are many and varied and sometimes you struggle to match the colors chosen by Eduard (it does not help that Eduard gives no color callouts to help the modeler find a suitable match)

This set provides just enough detailing parts to genuinely lift the kit Xutong interior. The use of pre-painted parts with self-adhesive makes it suitable for modelers who are just getting into photo-etch.

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Eduard for sending these for review..