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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Experimenting with seat belts

I have been experimenting with a simplified way to produce seatbelts for cockpits that have closed canopies, as virtually all of mine do. It is an adaptation of a method I’ve heard talked about on various forums over the years. Tamiya tape painted a leather brown stands in for the belt itself, while small plastic sheet cutouts painted a metallic shade substitute for the buckles. I’ll admit that the Eduard photoetch belts are far better visually, but the use of superglue in a small confined space makes this more of a trial than it is worth. Ask how many metal seatbelts I’ve attached to my fingers. Besides, I generally will spray someone with a water bottle if I see them approaching one of my models with a dental mirror and penlight, and only vague impressions are visible through the closed canopy anyway.

Hmmm. Well, that may require some more refinement and practice.

 I saw some injected plastic seat belt sets in 1:72 scale on the HobbyLink Japan site, produced, I believe, by Fine Molds. I’d love to give them a try, but the price was heart-stopping, and will have to wait for a bit. Still, they looked pretty good and can be attached by regular glue! God bless the pioneers of modelling science…

There are three cockpits for Academy P-47s (two razors and one bubble). Two are destined for choices off of the second Xtradecal sheet I bought recently, and which arrived the day after Thanksgiving. I happened to have a few Academy kits lying about and figured that I’m always up for adding to the 20+ P-47 lineup. These will be war weary Tbolts generally used as squadron hacks, often for bomber squadrons, toward the end of the European war. I’m constitutionally averse to creating a P-47 without nose art, and all three of these choices possess some sort of distinctive markings.


  1. Maybe I'm incredibly lazy, but I just use unpainted masking tape with a little silver Sharpie for the buckles. Under a closed canopy it doesn't look that bad.

    See here for a poor photo of a set on my Airfix Spitfire XIX.

  2. Incredibly lazy pretty well sums up my modelling philosophy (as if you couldn't tell by reading the blog!) I don't think the Kabuki tape looks very good unpainted. The only other masking tape I've seen (at Lowes) was a bright blue. OK for some car seat belts but not aircraft. I wonder what ever happened to that tan-coloured masking tape that used to be everywhere? Now I can't seem to find it at all. That color would probably work. And the silver Sharpie would be fine with that too.