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Mike

Fabric seatbelts Luftwaffe and USAAF - 1:48 Eduard

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Fabric seatbelts Luftwaffe and USAAF
1:48 Eduard


boxtop.jpg


This new style of seatbelt has been developed by HGW in conjunction with Eduard in an attempt to give a highly realistic rendering of seatbelt material and design that is difficult to reproduce in styrene, and only partly successful with Photo-Etch (PE) brass, either pre-painted or bare metal. The sets arrive in Eduard's usual flat pack with a white card inlay, and each one includes a small fret of PE and a sheet of what appears to be laser cut film on a backing paper.

USAAF (49060)
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Luftwaffe (49061)
luftwaffe.jpg

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A sheet of instructions cover the layout of the belts and buckles with a number of instructions on the rear for the preparation of the belt material for use. The first step is simple enough, simply removing the backing paper from the material. Then it tells you to screw it up into a ball and roll it between your fingers, which although slightly worrying is doable, and doesn't seem to damage the material. The next part is quite tricky, which is the threading of the belts and buckles together - care and patience is the order of the day here. If you've had a bad day, or are feeling frustrated for any reason, please do NOT attempt to thread the belts together, as you'll end up needing a new set, possibly a new workbench, and maybe a good divorce lawyer. I found that just pootling along with no particular goal in mind to work best. I'd just pick a section of belt, thread the end buckle/retainer on and glue that down using super-glue. Once set, thread the lower part through, then the upper over it, which is the really tricky part. I found that holding the lower section taut against the buckle allowed sufficient room to wriggle the upper section through, and then adjustment could be done to get the belts at a reasonable length to sit on the seat. A few of the buckles are duplicated in case you lose them, but I'd prefer more spares y'know just in case. After I lost the spare, I became quite anxious about that last buckle going ping into the distance.

complete.jpg
The belts and seat still need their final matt varnish


The belt material is slightly flexible, but don't pull too hard, or it will break - especially when being pulled against the sharp edge of the PE. I managed to put together the Luftwaffe set in a couple of hours, and then tacked them flat on a piece of Tamiya tape that had itself been tacked to a tongue depressor (a fat lollipop stick if you've not encountered one). I gave them a coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss, and then a light brush with Mig Neutral Wash to bring out the detail. Any excess was wiped away, and they were then added to the seat - in this case an old Dragon Me.262A-1/U4 that I'm building as a distraction from review builds.

Conclusion
The results are well worth the effort. The belts look good, have pre-printed stencils on them, and realistic looking stitch detail that is brought out with the wash. They aren't for the short of patience, or the modeller looking for a quick fix, as they take a long time and a lot of concentration. As usual, you end up getting into your stride just as you finish building the last belt, but that's always the way. Comparing them to the quick & easy PE belts that Eduard have done in the past, and will doubtless continue to do, they look much more realistic and drape far better than brass that can't be annealed because of the paint could ever do. Having used a set in anger, I can say that they are a good product, and HGW's inventiveness shows through here in spades.

Very highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of
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This looks like a good idea; I usually cut the fastenings/adjusters off and dump the p/e bits of harnesses, substituting narrow Kabuki or PVC tape with the aforementioned hardware stuck on. This drapes much more convincingly, but it is nigh impossible to duplicate stitching, stencilling, etc.

I hope Eduard will extend this format to post-WWII items -and maybe RBF ribbons...?

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Looks interesting. One tip I found useful when trying to thread buckles is to cut through the centre bar, bend it out of the way, place over the belt and then bend it back in place. If you make the cut behind the belt no-one knows, and you save yourself hours of frustration..

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Looks okay with the pre-cut style unlike HGW´s rubbish you have to cut out yourself.. I found them horrible - green or beige belts with white background and white around them. Very hard to cut out without that white showing...

These are still messy but atleast slightly easier...

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