B-58 Hustler Cockpits
Lone Star Models, 1/48 scale
Reviewed by David W. Aungst
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This set, single handedly, is responsible for me digging out my big Monogram B-58A Hustler kit and starting to build it. This is one of two Lone Star Models update sets I picked up to use in my B-58 project.
I have never understood Monogram's choice to only provide the front cockpit in their B-58 kit. If I built it, I would want to open all three cockpits. Why they skimped on these details is a mystery to me. I mean, after all, they provided a bunk bed compartment on the B-29 kit that has no windows and can not be seen at all on the finished model. At least the B-58 cockpits have tiny windows and two entry hatches to make them visible.
There have been some after-market companies that produced the cockpits for the B-58. I picked one of them up a few years back (from a company that can remain nameless) and was sorely disappointed. The pieces were just rough shapes and walls with minimal detail. I would need to scratch-build considerable portions to complete the cockpits using that set. There is a reasonable amount of documentation out there for the effort to make cockpits. The biggest road blocks are the ejection seats/capsules, which are unique to the B-58.
In the spring of 2009, Mike West at Lone Star Models announced he was going to create a cockpit set for the B-58 with all three cockpits, ejection seats, and a replacement nose wheel well (the kit wheel well is integrated with the kit cockpit pieces). I saw this as the "last chance" of getting cockpits for the B-58. If Mike let me down, I would just have to do some scratch-building of my own to come up with the extra cockpits (and seats).
Fortunately, Mike did not let me down.
The set comes packaged in a plain white cardboard box.
The contents look like the picture above. There is also a three-page, double-sided, 8.5x11 instruction booklet folded and inserted into the box. As you can see, Mike did his best to help you to know which parts go to which cockpits. Note the little paper inserts in the bags identifying which bag is which cockpit.
All dumped out and arranged, the set looks like this.
The set overall looks very workable. The cockpits have nice molded details on the consoles. The instrument clusters compare favorably to the images of the instrument panels in the AeroGuide book. The instument faces look small on the front cockpit main panel, but I think that they will be fine when painted. Side walls are provided for all three cockpits, too.
One issue is that there are no identifying marks (like numbers) for the parts. This is mostly a challenge in the front cockpit where there are a number of pieces that are not even mentioned in the intructions. I will need to be looking closely at my reference matterials to figure out which pieces go where.
Monogram has the pilot floor integrated with the nose wheel well, all in one piece, in the kit, so Mike provides a new resin nose wheel well. Mike has taken time to do extra detailing in the nose wheel well and his resin pieces have a lot of extra wires and pipes that are not in the kit pieces.
The three cockpit hatches are all provided in resin. Mike did a particularly nice job on the hatches. Since the hatches will be more visible than the cockpits, themselves, it is good that he took the time to make them look good. There is a vacuum formed clear piece to cover the pilot's hatch so that the two windows in the hatch are represented.
There are mold anomalies in the set like bubbles and "BBs" of resin on some surfaces. In the set I got, these all appear like they will clean up fine and not mar the finish of the set.
It took about 30 minutes with my motor tool and some files, and I had the hatches cut out from the top of the fuselage.
After that, it was all of 10 seconds to grab the cockpit tub and slip it into place. This is going to be good...
We finally have a workable set to provide all three cockpits for the big Monogram B-58 kit. I am all excited about this set. As I wrote at the top of this post, it is enough that I have dug out my B-58 kit and started building.
Text and Images Copyright © 2009 by David W Aungst
Page Created 3 December, 2009
3 December, 2009
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