Eduard Photoetch Colored Seatbelts
by Lee Rouse


We live the in the golden age of modeling. In spite of warnings that the hobby is dying, we seem to have increasing options for high quality kits and accessories. One accessory option that I've recently tried is the Eduard line of pre-colored photoetch belts. These have been out for some time, but I did not get a good close look at them until recently when I visited the Eduard vendor table at the IPMS Nationals in Virginia Beach. Available sets include WWII German, American, RAF, IJN and IJA, in 1/72 and 1/48. All the colors look right and durably bonded to the surface of the brass. Having just completed the cockpit of my Tamiya Do355, and being less than thrilled with the decal seat harnessing, I decided to pick up a German set. But then wallet fever got the best of me and I purchased the American, RAF and IJN sets as well. The level of detailing on these belts is quite nice. For example the stitching marks where the buckles are attached to the fabric is well represented. The metal used is brass yet chrome in appearance so the buckles will be the appropriate color, and absolutely no painting will be required. One other nice feature of this durable finish is that you can bend and position the belts without fear of paint popping off. I don't know about you, but this has always been a risk factor for me when I paint photoetch.

Each set offers enough hardware for at least 4 different aircraft. In addition, each set offers different kinds of harness-ware. For example, the German set has harness sets for the following categories: 1935-1939, Me109 early, Fw190/Ta 152, Me109 late, and Me262/Ar234/others. In the German set each cockpit requires assembly of 8 photoetch parts, which can be secured to the pilot's seat or to each other with white glue. Although the painting is already done for you, this is still photoetch, so get out the tweezers, magnifying glass, and for goodness sake don't drop anything! Are these sets worth their retail cost of $9.00? My answer is Yes! If you are comfortable working with photoetch, these sets will reduce some of the work, and look great in your aircraft.