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RAAF Macchi 326 Cockpit

 

OzMods, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and  Description OzMods - RAAF Macchi MB 326H Cockpit (for ESCI / Italeri)
Contents and Media: 9 parts in grey resin
Scale: 1/48
Price: AUD$15.40 (around USD$) available online from OzMods website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Simple update for your ESCI/Italeri Macchi MB 326; vast improvement on kit parts; nicely detailed; good quality casting.
Disadvantages: No upper sidewall detail provided; minimal instructions (no colour callouts)
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Brett Green


HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

ESCI 1/48 scale Macchi MB 326 kit dates from at least 1983 (that is the date on both the original boxes that I own), but it is fundamentally a nice little kit with crisply engraved and very petite panel lines, minimal moulding problems, straightforward construction and good fit.

Italeri recognised the value of this old kit by re-releasing the Macchi MB 326 under its own label in 2004. It is still widely available today.

The area that most obviously lets ESCI's Macchi down is the cockpit. The rudimentary tub, blank instrument panels and side consoles and oversimplified seats will be severely lacking under that large clear canopy. Surprisingly, in more than 20 years since this kit was first released, there has never been a resin cockpit update set offered.

Until now.

 

 

OzMods of Australia manufacture resin accessories in and multimedia kits in various scales, with a particular focus on Australian subjects. Their latest release is a replacement cockpit for ESCI/Italeri's 1/48 scale Macchi MB 326. The configuration is best suited to one of the 97 Macchis that served with the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy.

OzMods' 1/48 scale Macchi cockpit comprises just nine parts in grey resin. All the parts were well presented with no casting imperfections present on my sample. The biggest component is the one-piece cockpit tub. This is ready to use, with the casting tub already sawn off the bottom.

Side console detail is very well done. Similarly, the instrument panels feature deep and authentic detail - a vast improvement over the ESCI plastic parts. The seats are another highlight. They are dressed with the various RAAF cushions and packs, but they are lacking any harness straps and ejection pull handles. These should be added using lead foil and wire (or similar materials).

The remaining pieces are control columns, canopy brace and canopy support.

Surprisingly, the upper cockpit sidewalls are not addressed in this set. The sidewalls on the Macchi bristle with structural features, controls, stowage and latches, so will be worth spending a bit of time adding detail to this area.

Instructions are very scant. No colour callouts are included. Fortunately, Darren Mottram has a reference article right here on HyperScale that will be very helpful for modellers wishing to paint and/or add extra detail to their cockpit.



Construction

When I received this sample I decided that my ESCI Macchis had lingered in the garage for long enough.

The first task was to measure and mark the interior sidewalls, then add some detail using plastic strip and wire. I also fabricated four oxygen hoses by wrapping very fine wire around slightly thicker wire.

 

 

Next, harness straps were added to the seats. I wanted to dress the seat with the harness straps off the seat (stowed beside the seats on the consoles), so I used lead foil to permit me to position the straps after everything else was painted and the seats were installed.

I painted all the components black. The various black panels were masked off with Tamiya tape before the cockpit tub and instrument panels received their coat of Gunze Barley Grey. This might not technically be the correct colour, but the slightly glossy light grey looked appropriate.

 

 

Details were picked out with a fine brush. Decals were also used for more precision in tricky areas such as the instruments and fuse panels. Many of these punched and cut out of the relatively ancient ESCI decal sheet.

 

 

A number of Reheat placard decals were also applied. Washes were used only sparingly to maintain a clean look in the cockpit.

 

 

The fit of OzMods' cockpit components was perfect. No trimming, sanding or adjusting of the kit parts or the resin cockpit tub was required. There is also plenty of space for weight in the nose and under the cockpit to prevent this model from resting on its tail skid.

 

 

I spent more time on this cockpit than on most, but I was pleased with the result. The extra time in the cockpit was more than compensated by general construction, which was completed in a few hours.

 

 

The release of OzMods' 1/48 scale Macchi MB 326 cockpit is a welcome surprise and makes a huge visual impact on the bare front office of this otherwise respectable model. You will be further rewarded for your extra efforts in the areas of sidewall detail and seat harnesses.

OzMods also offer the big 90 gallon wing tip tanks, machine gun pods, flaps and replacement nose gear for ESCI's old kit. All of these will also be installed on my model too!

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Greg from OzMods for the review sample.


OzMods Accessories and Kits are available online from their Website


Text and Images Copyright 2007 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 01 May, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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