Zactomodels 1/32 SLUF Lips First Look
|Date of Review||September 2007||Manufacturer||Zactomodels|
|Subject||A-7 Corsair II Correction Set and Seamless Intake||Scale||1/32|
|Pros||Corrects the intake, radome, windsreen and canopy on both the Trumpeter A-7D and A-7E kits||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$56.00|
Zactomodels is a small aftermarket company that does some of the most incredible engineering and casting to correct selected beloved subjects. The first set of releases were targeted for the Trumpeter 1/32 Su-27 Flanker kit. While I thought Trumpeter had done a reasonable job on their Su-27 and I even build one without paint just to look over the results (look here), I could see from the side-by-side comparison shots on the Zactomodels website just how far Trumpeter missed the mark on the intakes, radome, and windscreen/canopy. Even then, I resisted the temptation to buy those three correction sets until I laid eyes on them at the 2006 IPMS/USA National Convention. I now have a complete set and a new Trumpeter Flanker kit to with them.
So when Trumpeter released their 1/32 A-7 Corsair II kit, I was pleased with the overall kit (review here), though the shape of the intake was just a bit off and then there was the windscreen and canopy. Nevertheless, the Trumpeter 1/32 A-7D and A-7E kits are likely to be the only SLUFs (Short Little Ugly 'Fellas') that were going to see (in my lifetime at least). If you look at the two SLUFs in the title image above, you can see the 'before' image of the out-of-the-box model (left) and the 'after' image with the Zactomodels corrections installed. Some people might find the differences not worth the effort and are happy with the kit out of the box. AMS modelers will want to look a little closer to this set. The two sets I pre-ordered arrived today!
You can order the A-7 Correction Set (new SLUF lips) or the seamless intake set separately or together. We'll take a look at both.
The seamless intake is cast in white styrene, which will eliminate the need to paint the inside of the duct (unless you just want to). The casting is a drop-in fit to the Trumpeter kit, though the duct is actually three pieces:
- 'Seamless' duct
- TF30 engine face at the end of the duct
- Fuselage bulkhead and bottom section of the duct rear
While the bulkhead and duct bottom are separately cast from the rest of the duct, you cannot see the seams when looking down the assembled duct (see photos below).
The correction set consists of seven resin parts plus a set of photo-etch. The resin parts include:
- Intake frame (to help re-shape the kit)
- Intake fairing
- Rear canopy bulkhead
- Canopy frame
- Windscreen frame
- Vacuformed windscreen and canopy
The casting on these parts is very nicely done, especially the frame details on that canopy frame.
I was rather impressed with the packaging as the set ships in a sturdy box with the parts well-protected. One technique I haven't seen before - gluing the windscreen and canopy frames inside a Dixie cup. You can see they made the trip in perfect shape and there was no way the other parts could 'reshape' the frames during shipment. Nice!
The conversion set also includes a set of photo-etch that was delayed in production. When the delay became serious enough, ZactoModels contacted each of us on the order list to offer the choice to get the resin parts first and the PE later, get everything at once, or abort the transaction. My PE parts arrived today and provide the detail around the canopy bow.
As I said earlier, many modelers will be happy with the kit straight from the box. AMS modelers have a choice, and a nicely done one at that. As I've also said earlier, I've already purchased two sets and I am very happy with the quality.
I purchased my sets from the Zactomodels website at http://www.zactomodels.com. Be careful as you wander through there lest you spot the full kit under development of the YF-23 in 1/32 scale. I know I'm saving up for one...