Eduard 1/72 STEELBELTS Seatbelts
By Matt Bittner
When Eduard released their new STEELBELTS seatbelts I was wondering why. I still am but do have to admit they're better than the first photoetch seatbelt offerings from this company. Here's Eduard's owners' rationale behind STEELBELTS:
"...here are the basic facts: they are etched out of steel 0.1mm thick. Most of the belts, except for the buckles, are etched to half the thickness of the material, and the end thickness of these 'fabric' parts is 0.04mm. The buckles are the full thickness of the material, the 0.1mm.
"In my opinion this thickness eliminates the most basic of optical shortcomings of all the other belts, weather etched or fabric (paper) and others, with the possible exception of Superfabric belts. This shortcoming is the thickness of the belt itself and it causes a certain difficulty in the installation process. STEELBELTS are very thin, incredibly easy to shape, while still remaining stiff, and look extremely realistic in the model. These belts are designed to be as simple as possible to make them easy to apply and to give them as much appeal to as many modellers as possible.
"For reasons of maintaining the advantageous thickness and workability, we refrained from attaining relief detail by etching away layers of material. Relief is achieved through a somewhat complicated application of colours, and to that was added a weathering-slash-staining effect. The stitching was added on through printing, and these details are so fine that they need to be observed to be believed. That's a good thing, I think."
I do have to admit these belts do look wonderful but one of the problems I had with "older" photoetch seatbelts was bending them to lie down and look realistic, especially in the seat pan. So, I decided to give one a try and see how it compares with Eduard's SUPERFABRIC (which I used last year when I did my first initial review of that line of seatbelts). In the image the SUPERFABRIC belts are on the AZ Model Spitfire Mk.IX seat on the left and the STEEL belts are on the Eduard Spitfire Mk.IX on the right. I really like the STEEL belts over the SUPERFABRIC, but if you still have SUBERFABRIC belts there's no need to get rid of them as they're still worthwhile.
There were '8' sets of 1/72 STEELBELTS that initially came in for review. They are:
My thanks to Eduard for sending the review samples.