In 2022, Revell released two issues of their new-tool SR-71A Blackbird kit. It is far superior to the old Testors Blackbird (see our review HERE), but there are multiple areas in the Revell kit that can be improved with aftermarket detail sets. Many scale aircraft modelers will think that the Revell Blackbird cockpit is one area that could benefit from higher fidelity detail. In this review, we look at a selection of Eduard detail parts for this kit.
Eduard SR-71A Seatbelts ZOOM #1251 (MSRP: $19.95). Eduard’s basic or “economy” cockpit upgrade set contains thirty-three parts (most are pre-painted) on a relatively small fret. It provides new instrument panels pilot and RSO, side consoles, rudder pedals, rear-view mirrors, and various small items such as engine throttles, T-handles on the pilot’s instrument panel, and a few ejection seat details. Each glass dial face and display screen is treated with Eduard’s raised “glass effect” to produce a perfectly smooth and high-gloss surface mimicking the reflectivity of real glass. Overall, the set represents a very substantial step above the kit parts in terms of detail, accuracy, and appearance.
Note that for this set, and for the Eduard SR-71A Interior set and the Eduard SR-71 SPACE set as discussed below, the top screen on the RSO’s instrument panel is a multi-function display. This configuration is accurate for late life SR-71s, and this detail parallels that of the kit instrument panel. Earlier Blackbird RSO cockpits had a cathode ray tube screen in that position. If building an earlier Blackbird, backdating this small screen should not pose a major obstacle for most scale modelers.
Eduard SR-71A Seatbelts ZOOM #1252 (MSRP: $10.95). The kit ejection seats feature molded-on belt and harness detail. Their detail and accuracy are extremely poor. Sand off the kit belts and replace them with these parts to achieve a far more accurate and looking ejection seat. Sixteen pre-painted photoetched parts are provided on a single, small metal fret. You reviewer has long felt that the most realistic harnesses and belts are achieved using PE parts such as these, and I really like Eduard’s work here. These belts are accurate down to the D-rings and lap belt harness buckles. Ejection seat ejection handles are also provided and replace the kit’s handles, which are grossly over-scale.
Eduard SR-71A Interior #491251 (MSRP: $32.95). This set represents Eduard’s full PE metal cockpit detail set. It contains the same pre-painted fret in the ZOOM set described above with the parts for the pilot and RSO instrument panels. Added here is a large PE fret with 56 parts. These include a completely new throttle quadrant, side console vertical panels, bulkhead features, map cases, various handles, the extended or lowered RSO projector screen (which is quite impressive and is builds up from PE and clear acetate parts), ejection seat rails, and a few handles. A few sidewall details are provided as well. The rear-view mirrors and the sunshades present on the inside of the pilot’s canopy are included, but nothing appears to be provided for the RSO’s canopy. Otherwise, there are no substantive critiques that can be offered for this excellent set.
Eduard SR-71A SPACE #3DL48059 (MSRP: $16.95). This set appears to land somewhere in between the detail of the Zoom and Interior sets. It contains sixteen 3D printed parts on a section of decal sheet and thirty-eight additional photoetched metal parts on a single fret. The 3D printed parts include all the elements for the pilot’s instrument panel and side console details. The photoetched metal fret provides the shoulder harnesses, lap belts, ejection handles, additional side console parts, engine throttles, the lowered RSO projector screen, and the pilot’s rear-view mirrors.
Eduard #EX836 SR-71A Masking Set (MSRP: $12.95). Eduard masking set are outstanding, and in this case, provides pre-cut self-adhesive masks for the Blackbird’s clear parts (windscreens and canopies) and the wheel hubs. In both cases, these masks are invaluable when it comes to nearly carefree precision masking of parts that can be inherently difficult to paint.
Overall, each of these items are receives strong praise. They cater well to the varying levels of detail that a scale modeler might want to achieve. Though not reviewed here, we also recommend Eduard’s 3-D printed SR-71A ejection seats, cast resin wheels, and other PE sets (especially their Engine, Grill, and Undercarriage sets) to bring even more detail to the Revell 1:48 scale SR-71A.
We sincerely thank Eduard for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale