1/48 MiG-17PF Fresco D Cockpit Set
For the HobbyBoss Kit
Stock Number: 4433
Reviewed By  Chip Jean, IPMS# 13823

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MSRP: $23.95

I don't automatically buy aftermarket cockpit sets for my kits. I like to know if the improvement to the kit is worth the money spent to buy it and the level of effort to install it. In this case, the answer to both questions is, most definitely, Yes!

What You Get
This is a simple set, composed of 7 grey resin parts, a PE fret with 21 pieces and a small acetate sheet for the instrument panel dials. Pour stub removal from the resin parts is very easy, the toughest part being the seat. What about the pour stub on the cockpit tub? Well, a bonus; you don't need to remove it. As a really nice touch, the tub is notched so that it fits onto the tabs in the kit fuselage for a positive fit; no guesswork involved.
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What You Have To Do to Make It Work
[review image] First step is to paint the back of the acetate sheet white and set it aside to dry. Next, wash the resin parts in soapy water then remove them from the pour stubs. Now, onto painting. After looking at some MiG-17 cockpit pictures, I decided to go with FS35237 as my base color for the tub and seat, and then scale black for the instrument panel, coaming, and seat cushions. Pick out details in various colors using a small brush and a tooth pick and painting is complete. Construction is nearly as simple as painting. Add the PE seatbelts to the seat and the seat is complete. The instrument panel on the real thing is stepped, and the Aires instrument panel recreates that detail, unlike the flat panel in the kit. However, this realism means cutting out 4 pieces of acetate and matching them to 4 pieces of PE then adding those 4 pieces of PE to the resin panel. But it's a small price to pay for a much improved instrument panel. The completed instrument panel is shown below. Add the rest of the small, random bits of PE, glue the panel to the tub, and slide the seat down the rails. The only kit part used is the control stick, so don't forget to paint and install that too. The stick fits perfectly in the hole provided in the Aires tub. Now the cockpit is done. Adding the Aires cockpit to the fuselage is the easiest I've ever seen for an aftermarket cockpit. The only surgery required is to remove what little of the coaming is molded onto the front fuselage halves. There are mounting tabs on the fuselage halves and as I mentioned earlier, the Aires tub includes slots for those tabs, so you have a positive fit; no guesswork required.
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Is It Worth It?
As I said as the beginning, to me this set is most definitely worth the added expense and the little bit of extra effort. But don't just take my word for it, look at the comparison pictures. Let me say in fairness to Hobby Boss, the kit pictures are from the Fresco "C" kit, not the "D" but I'm sure the level of detail between the kits is very similar, if not identical. The first picture below is a comparison of cockpit tubs, Hobby Boss on the left, Aires on the right. The seats are compared in the next picture with Aires on the left and Hobby Boss on the right. The instrument panel comparison is next, Hobby Boss on the left and Aires on the right. What didn't I like? Well, the ejection seat rails on my example have a twist to them so by just sliding the seat down the rails, it was facing off center; I had to slightly turn the seat to get it to sit straight. The only other problem is that there are apparently supposed to be tabs on the seat sides at the top of the cushion. On my example, both were broken off but only 1 was in the packaging. I didn't bother to fashion replacements. These 2 problems are minor and don't necessarily indicate issues with the set, just my example.
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Many thanks to Aires for providing this review sample. A quick search of popular internet retailers shows Sprue Brothers selling it for $20.99, Great Models has it for $21.55 and Hannants for $12.20 (watch those overseas shipping costs though). Squadron didn't show it in their inventory. As usual though, try your local hobby shop first.
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