Few aircraft evoke such dual emotions of pride and sense of loss among British aviation enthusiasts as the TSR.2, so it's no surprise to see that Airfix's 1/48 scale kit has been selling like proverbial hot cakes since its release in January. While the standard kit is quite nicely detailed straight from the box, it still presents an ideal opportunity for aftermarket producers, and the Czech form Pavla Models have released a trio (to date) of resin sets completely replacing the kit's cockpit and wheel wells.
Set #C48016 - Cockpit - 24.00 €
Arriving in a tough little cardboard box, 13 new parts in total provide a new tub into which fit a pair of ejector seats, control panels, rudder pedals and control column, plus a new instrument shroud and sidewall details. No original kit parts are used at all and the detail is very impressive. Comparing the new and old tubs, it's clear that the Airfix part has been used as a starting point to ensure a good fit, but that's where the resemblance ends - all the details have been replaced and the dimensions of the rear cockpit are different, so there's now room for the navigator's feet(!).
The casting is flawless in my set and the seats are particularly impressive with their hollowed out grab- and firing-handles, plus detailed rear faces. The harness is moulded on, which obviously isn't to all tastes, but it's quite convincingly detailed. The instrument panels are much more detailed that the Airfix versions, but the bezels are empty so you may want to get hold of some generic decal instruments faces like Mike Grant's
to add life.
Fitting the set should be quite straightforward; the resin tub is cast on a substantial plinth that needs removing, and there are formers inside the kit fuselage behind each cockpit to trim out.
Set #U4830 - Mainwheel well - 31.00 €
Packed as above, 14 resin parts take the wheel well area to a totally new level. Again, casting is spot on in my set and the level of detail is excellent, with numerous cable runs, strengthening ribs and fittings etc. modelled delicately, and with the type of undercuts that only resin casting can achieve. The kit's gear legs are used, but delicate new resin retraction arms are provided.
The main resin part replaces the combined main well and bomb bay in one hit, and herein lies what may be the only disappointment for some modellers; whereas Airfix allow for either a bomb-load or fuel cells, Pavla's version has just nicely textured fuel cells. I suppose you could resort to some serious surgery to try to graft on the Airfix bomb-bay, but it could be tricky and you'd risk rendering both the kit and aftermarket versions unusable.
The new resin slots in quite neatly straight from the box, but the front bulkhead doesn't quite match the contour of the kit equivalent, forcing the whole affair slightly too far back. It'll be a minute or two's work to trim the kit parts to the new shape.
Set# U4831 - Nosewheel well - 13.00 €
Just 5 new parts this time, tucked into a little bubble pack. The resin set forms a new nosewheel well that slots straight into the kit with no extra fitting at all. It's not until you compare the kit well with Pavla's version that you realise just how empty the original is; the resin well is packed with new cabling and other accessories. Again, the kit gear leg is used, but Pavla have cast a much more detailed main retraction arm, plus 3 smaller arms that Airfix missed.
Instructions & conclusion
The Pavla instructions are excellent, with beautifully drawn assembly diagrams (reminiscent of Classic Airframes and MPM kits) accompanied by far more detailed painting instructions than the Airfix originals.
With great casting and packed with extra detail, and so little modification needed to fit these sets, they are are suitable for any modeller with a modicum of experience. If you haven't already started your TSR.2, you may well want to consider adding the Pavla details. Recommended.
Pavla Models' TSR.2 sets are available from Modelimex - specialists in Eastern European short run kits.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE