Chances are, if you model aircraft in any of the major scales you are well familiar with Eduard. Their product range varies from simple photo-etched enhancement frets to multi-media kits, conversion sets, and accessories which are amongst the finest in the hobby. Their products may be purchased online through www.eduard.com. I have built a few of their kits, and have used many of their accessories over the years. I am even a card-carrying member of the Bunny Fighter Club, which provided me a carrot-themed 1/48 Mig-21 and allows me a modest discount when buying direct. Check the website, and it will make sense.
Eduard has produced a set of resin and photo-etch FFAR rockets in 1/72 scale as a part of their “Brassin” line. The resin rockets are beautifully cast, petite representations of the 3” forward-firing rockets so prevalent for use in WWII to Korean War era ground-attack platforms. The supplied items also include a photo-etched fret of launcher rail hangers and fuse wires. I opted to use them as replacements for those in a 1/72 Academy Typhoon I am currently building.
A side by side evaluation (see photos) indicates a cut and fit replacement of the kit’s rail-mounted rockets, providing a much more realistic assembly. To be clear, the Eduard castings are a different type explosive head component than the sausage-looking heads provided on most WWII FFARs. The kit rockets were removed from the kit’s jointly cast underwing rail/rocket parts, which were then painted as per kit instructions. The pictorial Eduard instructions indicate the rockets to be painted olive drab and the launcher rail hangers silver, with the ignition wires in silver and brown. I painted everything on the sprues and frets, and got ready for the assembly phase.
This is the point at which my mediocre photo-etch skills and giant man-hands fingers remind me why I do my better work in 1/48 scale. In assembling these tiny parts, one must utilize the strongest of your preferred Mag-Eyes cheaters. In my case, though, I could have been working under an electron microscope, and it wouldn’t have helped me master the bending operation required for the rocket to rail attachment hangers. They require two right angle bends at the center of the piece that is about .5mm apart, which each transition to a round bend that encircles the rocket body and then closes together on the underside of the rocket. Sounds easy enough, right? Realize that the entire PE part is nearly hair-like in width, and less than .7 cm in length, and you start to get the picture. My only request of Eduard to enhance these sets would be to provide a couple of resin bending “forms” to help obtain the correct shape for these hanger parts. Performing the correct bending sequence of these hangars to match the beautiful renditions in the Eduard product photos requires some specialty tools and frankly, a little more “patience” than is in my current toolbox. But enough of my shortcomings …
With patience and bending skill, the hangers can be fitted to the rockets, set in place with the tiniest drops of CA glue, and then that assembly fixed carefully to the kit’s underwing rails. In hindsight, wait until everything else on your model is completed, set the aircraft upside down in a jig, and affix the rails to the underside of the wings. Only after all of this has set, should you attempt to affix these tiny rockets mounted in their hangers to the launch rails. The line of sight alignment and steady hands will be required to keep everything straight and consistent to fix the hangers to the underside of the rails at two points. Be sure to layout and somehow provide yourself some reference attachment marks with a pencil to keep things consistent. The photos below show three of the Eduard rockets alongside one of the Academy typhoon kit rockets on the outside rail.
Once fitted properly, admire your work for a few minutes, and then place your FFAR armed 1/72 aircraft in its final display place and don’t touch it again. The attachment points are the tiniest of tiny, and will not tolerate much in the way of jiggling or jostling before letting go.
Please don’t let my ham-fisted efforts on these beautiful weapons deter you from buying and using several sets of them. They are certainly an affordable upgrade, particularly for late-war and Korean era subjects. If your photoetch skills and eyesight are up to it, this is an excellent set of rocket replacements that will greatly enhance the realism of your 1/72 ground attack aircraft. Definitely NOT for beginner modelers, but very highly recommended for those with good detailing skills in the one true scale.
Thanks to the IPMS Reviewer Corps and Eduard for the opportunity to review this item.