Monday, March 21

Review: Gloria Model's 1:48th scale 3D Printed Accessory Sets

ET Model, under their sub-brand "Gloria Model", has recently released a raft of new 3D printed detail upgrades & aircraft accessories. These look like they are of great quality, so Gary Wickham was most interested in how these would work out. He gives us his in-depth review of them in today's story...

Review: Gloria Model's 1:48th scale 3D Printed Accessory Sets
3D Printed Exhaust Nozzles
From: Gloria Model
1:48th scale
Available from Hobbylink Japan
It almost feels like every time you refresh your browser, a brand new company has sprung up offering new and exciting 3D printed accessories for our hobby. One of the latest is the interestingly named Gloria Model. They have hit the market with a fairly decent catalogue of jet exhaust nozzles and other accessories designed for 1:48th scale modern jets.

In this first look review, I'll show you what to expect in the box from a small sample of their range.

F-15 Eagle F100 P&W Afterburner & Exhaust Nozzle (Closed) 
Gloria Model 
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48015B
Price: 47.1USD From Hobbyeasy
This set includes a full set of exhaust engine parts for the P&W F100 engine as fitted to the F-15 Eagle. The set I obtained has the nozzle in the closed position but Gloria offers a similar set with the nozzle in the open position if you prefer. The packaging states that these parts are compatible with both the Revell and Great Wall Hobby F-15 kits. Each of the Gloria sets come carefully packed in a clear plastic container with lid. Small segments of packing foam are included in the container to stop the delicate resin parts from sliding around and damaging each other.
The USAF F-15s are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, the same powerplant as the F-16A/B and the F-16C/D Blocks 25, 32, 42, and 52. The P&W F100 has 'turkey feathers' to streamline the exterior of the engine nozzle to avoid airflow drag. While the F-16s retained these turkey feathers on their nozzles, testing revealed that the absence of turkey feathers on the F-15 Eagle did not contribute significantly to drag or turbulence in flight but their removal saved many man-hours of maintenance effort. As a result, during the early 1980s, the turkey feathers were removed from all USAF Eagles.
It seems to be a (sensible) common practice with 3D printed parts to include a protective cage around the most delicate of parts. This is designed to be discarded and from there a very minimal amount of effort is then required to remove the parts from their base. In fact, many of the 3D printed parts I have seen require no clean-up at all, a massive improvement over traditional resin mouldings with pour blocks that must be sawn off and sanded clean.
Once you start to zoom in close on these parts you cannot help but be impressed with the power of today's 3D printing technology. Every conceivable detail from the myriad of actuators to the smallest of bolt-heads has been reproduced in sharp relief. The choice of orange resin is a bit odd but nothing a coat of grey primer can't fix.
Likewise impressive is the afterburner parts and exhaust tubing. Having these printed as single parts makes the modeller's life so much easier with literally zero cleanup or seams to deal with. You can also see that the detail is limited to the surface but extends deep inside each of the printed parts, another distinctive benefit of printing vs resin casting.

F-104 Starfighter J79 Exhaust Nozzle (Closed) (for Kinetic kit)
Gloria Model 
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48005B
Price: $30.23USD  From Hobbyeasy
Designed for use in the Hasegawa 1:48 F-104 kits, this set contains a single afterburner, tube and nozzle (in the closed position) for the GE J79 engine.
The F-104 was designed to use the General Electric J79 turbojet engine, fed by side-mounted intakes with fixed inlet cones optimized for performance at supersonic speeds. The engine consisted of a 17-stage compressor, an accessory drive section, an annular combustion chamber, a three-stage turbine, and an afterburner. Like most modern after-burning engines, the J79 employed a variable thrust nozzle, actuated using engine oil as hydraulic fluid. This allowed the nozzle to change its position (open or closed) based on engine thrust needs.
Printed in a more traditional grey resin, the set consists of 3 parts with alignment keys. Preparation is super easy and can be achieved with a sharp knife blade rather than a razor saw. The protective cage is designed to ensure the delicate nozzle petals are not damaged in transit or when handled.
This closeup shows really well the level of subtle detail possible with hi-resolution 3D printers today. Also notice on the bottom just how small the base connectors are, allowing the part to separated with only a sharp knife.
The afterburner ring and interior tube are all printed as a single part. A major improvement over the use of fiddly photo-etch parts we have used before.
The interior of the exhaust blast tube is quite simply a work of art. The detail provided here is amazing and its a real pity that very little of it will be seem on the finished model.

F-16 Falcon Block 32/42/52 F100 P&W Afterburner & Exhaust Nozzle (Closed)
Gloria Model 
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48016A
Price: $29.54 USD  From Hobbyeasy
Designed for use in the Tamiya 1:48 F-16 kits, this set includes parts to accurately represent a P&W F100 engine with parts for the afterburner, tube and variable geometry nozzle (in the open position). This nozzle is suitable for use on all F-16 Block 32/42 and 52 aircraft.
The initial powerplant selected for the single-engined F-16 was the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 afterburning turbofan, a modified version of the F-15's F100-PW-100, rated at 23,830 lbf thrust. It was the standard F-16 engine through the Block 25 until the Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU) introduced the 23,770 lbf F100-PW-220, later installed on Block 32 and 42 aircraft. The F100-PW-220/220E was the result of the USAF's Alternate Fighter Engine (AFE) program (colloquially known as the "Great Engine War"), which also saw the entry of General Electric as an F-16 engine provider.
As with the other Gloria nozzles, the level of detail in this set is impressive. Notice how the extended ceramic panels are printed so thin as to be translucent. Also, notice how easy the clean up is here with only thin support columns to be cut to prepare the part for use on the model. This is something I'd never really considered as a benefit of 3D printing but when you compare them to cast resin the difference in usability is significant.
The interior detail of the afterburner stage is also first class. The biggest challenge here will doing justice to the parts during painting.

Russian Aircraft Wheel Chocks Type 1 (Set of four)
From Gloria Model
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48203
Price:$16.61 USD  From Hobbylink Japan
In addition to their range of aircraft exhaust nozzles, Gloria has been designing and printing several aircraft related accessories. One such item is wheel chocks, routinely found on flight lines around the world. These safety items are designed to ensure that aircraft wheels do not move (roll) once power is shut down and braking systems become inert.
Russian wheel chocks are designed for large wheels and use on unprepared (rough) terrain. To this end, they have metal spikes on the bottom which are useful on soft terrain such as grass or dirt strips.
Four full sets of wheel chocks are included in the set. To my eye, these printed items look more realistic and far easier to use than alternate photo-etch sets.

US Aircraft Wheel Chocks 20" Models" (Set of Six)
From Gloria Model 
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48202
Price:$16.61 USD  From Hobbylink Japan
To complement and contrast the Russian wheel chocks, Gloria has also provided the standard US (NATO) style of wheel chock in their GR48202 set. The US-style wheel chock is used widely by military and civilian aircraft and works well on hard (tarmac) or soft (grass/dirt) fields. Set GR48202 contains 6 pairs of the 20-inch size wheel chock.
Wheel chocks are small wedges made of rubber, plastic, or wood, which are designed to stop a vehicle (or isolated tire) from rolling or moving accidentally. Rubber is the most common wheel chock material because it's incredibly durable and inexpensive.

US Navy TD-1 Aircraft Tie Down Assembly & Socket Padeye
From Gloria Model
1:48th scale
Kit No #GR48205
Price: $47.21 USD From Hobbylink Japan
Last, but not least, is a very welcome accessory for modellers who like to depict US Navy carrier deck scenes. Included in this set is everything you need to accurately model a chained aircraft on either a US CV/CVN style aircraft carrier or an LHA/LHD assault carrier. The set includes 30 Tiedown Assemblies, 1.8m of scale copper chain, 42 LHA/LHD style padeyes and 42 CV/CVN style padeyes.
A padeye is a device often found on the deck of aircraft carriers that a line/chain runs through to provide an attachment point. It is a kind of fairlead and often is bolted or welded to the deck or hull. Navy aircraft are secured on the deck by running a chain from specific attachment points on the airframe (typically undercarriage legs) to the padeye on the deck.
The included 30 tiedown assemblies are the jewel of this set. These are very tricky and time-consuming to scratch-build in 1:48 so having only to clip them off the base and attach the chain to is very appealing.
Current steel/aluminium TD-1A/B series chain tie-downs have been in the fleet for over 40 years. They incur high attrition due to rough usage, corrosion and high utilization. They are heavy and physically demanding for flight deck personnel to handle as aircraft are moved and respotted. Each tie-down weighs 12 lbs. and one blue shirt will typically lug 6 to 12 tie-downs, depending on sea state, (72 to 144 lbs. total) for the better part of a 12-hour flight day. During high sea states, the blue shirt will carry 18 to 20 tie downs (up to 240 lbs. total).

CONCLUSION - Gloria Model 1:48th scale 3D Printed Accessory Sets
Probably much like you, I had never heard of Gloria Model before these sets came across my desk. Having now looked at each one in some detail I have to say I'm pretty blown away by the quality, accuracy and detail they have achieved.

With the nozzles I looked at, each and every one was a small work of art. I'd go so far as say I have never seen more detailed 1:48 nozzles and exhausts than these. Combine this with how easy it is to prepare them (cut them out) for use and I can see why many mainstream aftermarket companies are ceasing use of traditional poured resin in favour of UV cured 3D printed resin. I think its safe to say that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of the full potential that 3D printing will ultimately have on our hobby.

The only challenge I found with the Gloria products was where to buy them. Despite my best efforts to locate a website or Facebook page, I came up empty-handed. The one retailer I found that had them listed was Hobbylink in Japan.

Gary Wickham

You can see more of Gloria Models products on the ET Model Website...