by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
SBS Model’s latest release is a mixed media kit of the iconic 1930s racer, the de Havilland DH.88 Comet.
The kit arrives in a small and sturdy top-opening box, with the parts neatly bagged and further protected by bubble-wrap. The sample kit arrived perfectly intact after its journey across Europe. The kit comprises:
42 x grey resin parts
2 x clear resin parts
23 x etched brass parts, plus a clear film for the instrument panels
6x white metal parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The casting is essentially perfect in the sample kit, and I haven’t found any flaws at all among the resin parts. There’s a little flash to remove here and there and, of course, the casting plinths, but clean-up should be pretty straightforward - my only note of caution being that some of smaller parts are extremely delicate.
The surface finish is exceptional, with a highly polished exterior - exactly what you need for the immaculate racing paintjob of the original aircraft. Panel lines are neatly engraved, while louvres etc. are beautifully crisp. The fabric areas are neatly depicted - perhaps a tad prominent on the wings, but beautifully subtle on the tail surfaces.
Test FitPerhaps the biggest surprise is to find locating pins cast on the fuselage halves - a real plus point for newcomers to working with resin, especially as they line up perfectly. Ironically, I’ve ended up removing those on the lower edge of the fuselage to make it easier to level out a faint casting line on the glueing surface. The wings and tailplanes all have neatly moulded locating tabs, making the basic construction largely foolproof.
A Few DetailsConstruction begins conventionally with the cockpit, which is neatly fitted out with over 30 parts, including tiny etched throttle levers and neat seat harnesses. The seats themselves are rather delicate, so you’ll need to take care removing them from their casting plinths. An example of the care that’s gone into the kit’s design is the way the control columns and other delicate items have been cast with integral “walls” around them on their plinths to protect them.
The instrument panels are produced in brass with a separate film for the instrument faces sandwiched against a resin backing. The detail cast into the fuselage sides is very crisp and neat, and the “office” should look excellent with careful painting.
The engine nacelles are each cast in one impressive moulding that slots neatly onto the wing. The propellers have individual blades, so it might be a good idea to use a simple jig to ensure the pitch is consistent for both.
The undercarriage comprises white-metal legs and brass spreaders, along with neatly cast resin covers and unweighted wheels.
Finally, the canopy and nose lamp cover are cast in crystal clear resin. The canopy is nice and thin with crisply defined framing.
Instructions & DecalsSBS provide a layout of the parts, followed by an assembly guide over three sides of an A5 pamphlet. The drawings are very clear, and the few captions are in English. There are no suggestions for the interior colours, but you can see everything you need in the walkaround of the surviving Comet “Grosvenor House”.
While the classic colour associated by most people with the Comet is red, I couldn’t resist the chance to model the wonderfully striking G-ACSP “Black Magic” when offered a choice of kits to review. In its gloss black and gold trim, I personally think it’s even more stylish than the more famous race winner, “Grosvenor House”.
SBS also include decals for the aircraft’s later career in Portugal as CS-AAJ “Salazar”, again painted gloss back, but this time with red trim and registration.
The decals look very good quality, and are thin and glossy with minimal carrier film. The colour density looks good on the sheet, so they should work well over the black paintjob. The registration generally looks very good, but “Black Magic’s” racing number 63 is rather tight to one side of the gold background, so I wish it had been supplied as a separate overlay.
ConclusionSBS Model’s Comet is a beautifully produced kit of this famous aircraft. The last time I built a DH.88 was Airfix’s vintage effort back in the ‘60s, and hardly surprisingly, this new resin model is in a totally different league in terms of finish and detail. Highly recommended.
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