Black Box Detail Sets in 1/48 & 1/32
Reviewed by Richard Marmo
Another batch of cockpit interiors in both 1/48 and 1/32 from Black Box have recently been released and, as you've come to expect, they're gorgeous.
The F-14D set gives you a 1-piece cockpit tub and 27 other components that combine to finish out your Hasegawa model. All of the resin parts are very clean and show virtually no bubbles or cavitations. If there are any, they're essentially microscopic. Layout of the castings makes it about as easy as it'll ever get when it comes to separating parts from the pouring stubs.
Kit-specific instructions are very clear and in the case of the F-14D include a sketch of the Hasegawa left fuselage interior. The purpose for this is to identify the footwell boxes and the portion of the ladder box that has to be removed for the resin sidewalls to fit.
Detailing is excellent with just the right amount of relief on the switch panels and instrument bezels. Those of you who want to spend the time to pick out all the tic marks and needles on the gauges are going to wind up with a prizewinning cockpit…and also crossed eyes.
If you're planning on building your F-14D with an open canopy, this detail set is a must. And considering the size of a Tomcat's canopy and how much can be seen even through a closed one, you still may want to give these castings serious consideration if you build your F-14 buttoned up.
Model kits of the F-16, in just about any scale you care to name, are everywhere. Depending on the manufacturer and scale, cockpit detail ranges all the way from mediocre to excellent. But no matter how good a kit-provided interior is, there's always room for improvement. And if you can say that about the single-seat F-16, the same comments go double for the two-seater.
Enter this set from Black Box. The masters are superbly done by Mike Kirchoff and the production set maintains the same standard you expect from Black Box. Instructions leave nothing to doubt, even though they're primarily illustration style. Numbered callouts match a numerical key at the top of the instructions and you'll find recommended references at the bottom.
In the case of the F-16B, there are two cockpit tubs. You'll also find sidewall panels, parts for the HUD, side controller and everything else to make your F-16 office complete. I did run into one problem in that one of the projections at the front of one ejection seat had broken off. This isn't surprising when you consider how thin and delicate some of the detail must be in order to attain a scale appearance. As long as you don't just dump all the parts out of their ziploc bag, there's no problem. Simply find the loose piece (it looks like a piece of flash) and cement it back into place with a microdrop of CA.
One thing that isn't provided in the kit is a piece of clear stock for the hud glass, but the instructions tell you to cut one from scratch. In fact, if you don't have a piece of .005" clear styrene lying around, try using a piece of the clear plastic package the set comes in.
Try one of these sets in your next F-16. I think you'll like the results.
Mike Kirchoff continues to produce superlative master patterns. This particular release really gets my attention for a couple of reasons. The obvious quality is one, but consider that I also have had an F-105G kit ratholed. With the arrival of this set, it may not stay that way much longer.
The 1-piece cockpit tub is the starting point with 32 more parts to follow. Quality is everything you expect from Black Box, including ejection seat headrest mounts that appear so delicate that you're almost afraid to breath on'em.
Instructions are very thorough. Good thing, considering that the inside walls of the styrene fuselage halves will have to be thinned as much as possible in order for everything to fit and maintain a proper relationship. The instructions make you aware of this and also list a recommended reference source. As with other Black Box cockpit sets, you're instructed to make a HUD glass plate from scratch.
Simply put, this set will raise your Monogram F-105G to new heights.
This cockpit set is one of the simpler ones from Black Box, at least in terms of the number of parts. Including the cockpit tub, there's a total of 19 parts in the kit. As usual, quality is excellent with minimal surface flaws. There is one problem on this kit that's very easy to fix. You'll find a defect (wave, curve, dent, whatever) in the left side instrument panel shroud. It apparently exists on each kit because at least one other reviewer has noticed the same flaw.
No matter, it's very easy to fix. A little localized heat and a pair of tweezers to coax the area back into its correct alignment is all it takes.
Instructions are typical Black Box effort. Clear directions are given for modifying a couple of Monogram kit parts. There's also a list of five different reference sources.
If you're looking to improve your Monogram Harrier kit, this one will do it.
If you've had any doubts about the popularity of the General Dynamics (Lockheed?) F-16, the fact that three out of six cockpit interiors from Black Box are for that aircraft should dispel them.
This time around, you get everything you need to detail a single seat version. Essentially, you're looking at the F-16B minus one cockpit position. Detail, quality and instructions are otherwise the same. So rather than repeat myself…repeat myself…repeat myself… reread my F-16B review. Just keep one thing in mind. If you need a cockpit set to finish out your Hasegawa F-16A, this is the one. 'Nuff said.
So you build 32nd and you've been waiting with bated breath for me to get to Black Box’s contribution to God's scale. Well, you can start breathing.
In a nutshell, take everything I said about both the F-16B and F-16A 1/48 scale kits and enlarge it 150%. Then put on an OptiVisor and take a real close look at the detail. Panels have the correct relief, CRT screens are slightly recessed, and the few small analog gauges that you'll find in the cockpit have the indicator needles cast in relief. You'll even find a few wrinkles sculpted into the edges of the ejection seat back cushion.
Casting quality and instructions simply match what I've already described in the preceding five reviews. Bottom line? This is a beautiful, imposing; some would even say awesome, effort. Mike Kerchoff keeps outdoing himself, which leads to a very interesting question. What's next?