For those resin aftermarket aficionadoes among us, Aires never fails to satisfy. Set #4454 provides a full resin cockpit for Hasegawa’s F-16D kit. Though the Hasegawa kit is not the latest kit available, it is still a good kit and by some accounts more accurate in shape than other offerings. The kit does suffer from a very basic cockpit, so this is where the Aires set will dress it up nicely.
The set comes in the common blister back and comprises of fourteen resin parts, two of which are extra control sticks. Also included is a small photo-etch fret with a dizzying amount of tiny parts and one printed acetate for instrument dials. As to be expected from Aires, everything is finely cast with no bubbles or imperfections.
Construction is simple enough, mainly removing resin plugs and test fitting the parts. Some modification is needed to the kit part, mainly removing the front and rear instrument combing from the upper fuselage half. Surprisingly very little plastic needs to be removed from inside the fuselage to fit these parts into the cockpit tub, so this is one of the easiest resin cockpits I have ever installed! The most difficult part of the kit is all the tiny photo-etch. Most of this is constrained to the seats, as the belts are multi-part affairs that take time and patience to install.
Once all of the bits are together, I taped the sidewalls to the fuselage sides for painting. I then masked the instrument dials with masking liquid and allowed that to dry. Once dry, painting could begin.
For me, I started by spraying everything with Rustoleum brand automotive primer. This comes in a dark grey and makes for an excellent pre-shade. I thin airbrushed the cockpit with Model Master Enamels, using FS36440 “gull grey”. I then used Vallejo black to pick out the panels and such, followed by white, silver, yellow, and other colors to bring out details. A coat of Future and a very light wash using brown and black oil paint. CRT panels were hit with some dark green, followed by Taymia Clear Green to give them a glass CRT look. White was used to pick out some of the buttons and switches.
As for the end result, It is a huge improvement over the kit parts, especially the ejection seats. The one item I wish Aires would offer is colored acetate or paper to place behind the glass so you could get some of the color details. Eduard now does this standard, and I feel as nice as the Aires resin is done, the instrument photo-etch and dial detail is still from the old generation of aftermarket. However, overall it’s a great set and highly recommended. Thanks to Aires for the review sample, and because of it I’m now inspired to build a F-16D!