1/32 Super Bug Models X-15 cockpit set

Product Article by Bob Read on May 4 2009

Product # SBMR32001   $29.95

 

    Super Bug Models is an aftermarket manufacturer of resin update and conversion sets. I came across their website when researching aftermarket options to improve on the kit cockpit supplied with Special Hobby's 1/32 scale X-15A2. I ordered set SMBR32001 from Super Bug Models and waited...... and waited..... and waited..... but more about that later.

    When I opened the box after the set finally arrived, I found the items to be well packed in a sturdy box with the parts protected in the traditional zip lock bag and surrounded by bubble wrap packaging. I took stock of the set to make sure everything was there and that it had survived the journey. All seemed well and accounted for with no broken parts so I started to take a closer look. They are all moulded in grey resin and on closer inspection, everything is cast with exceptional detail and fidelity. All the rivets, wires, conduits, bumps, lumps, switches and knobs seem to be in place and perfectly cast with very little flash. The pour blocks are quite small and for the most part very thin so they won't be a problem to dispense with quickly. I didn't see any bubbles or blemishes of any kind so I was immediately impressed by the quality of the casting, the weight of the parts and the many additional small bits and pieces that are included. The fine details of the casting are superb with special care and effort spent on electrical cabling, various conduits and sidewall details. This amounts to a very complete mini-kit in itself.

    Included are the main cockpit tub moulded with rear bulkhead and floor, port and starboard side switch panel consoles and the seat ejection rail cast as part of the rear bulkhead. Also a finely crafted ejection seat complete with excellent renditions of the X-15's seat belts and harness arrangement as well as foot wells, elbow rests and other small details. There's also two very nicely cast cockpit side walls with cabling detail, a very nice instrument panel with forward combing and centre console. Rudder pedals, ejection seat fold-out stabilization wings, various actuating handles, a small rear canopy bulkhead, and the main controls stick and side console controllers are also included and very nicely rendered. There is also a folded page sized instructions sheet of exploded view parts but no reference material of any kind is included.

    Expertly rendered are finely cast rivet or snap fastener details on the forward combing, stabilization wings and in the appropriate spots on the sidewalls. The effect here is spot on and looks like the real thing and will add much to the finished details. The instrument panel looks every bit to be the part, but it's hard to comment on the accuracy because there was more than one X-15 airframe. The instrument panels changed from flight to flight and could look very different depending on which test profile was being flown.

    The only things missing that would complete the X-15A2 cockpit are any details appearing on the inside of the canopy such as electrical cabling, film camera and the pilot's deceleration rest for his forehead. These items will have to be scratchbuilt but without too much difficulty I expect.

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    Really, the only negatives I can say about this kit centered around the woefully inadequate order fulfilment process executed by Super Bug Models. I had ordered this set online directly from the company website but it did not arrive until almost 3 months later. I had almost given up when I discovered after repeated attempts to email the owner and with only one reply that amounted to not much more than an empty promise, that Super Bug Models was no longer selling to customers directly and their items could now be ordered only through Great Models Webstore. I contacted Great Models 1-800 customer service number and was assured by them that the set would be in the mail the next day. The mailman delivered the box to me a few days later and all is now well. I do have to say that if not for Great Models, I feel I would still be waiting for the set to arrive and would have likely cut my losses.

    In conclusion, I would like to say that Super Bug Models has produced a very fine mini-kit in their X-15 cockpit set and should be commended on a superb job of design and casting. It's a shame that this fine set falls so short in expectations because of their poor customer service. However, all may not be lost. Now that Great Models webstore is in the picture, I'm hoping that order fulfilment issues are solved and customer service improves.  Overall, I'm very pleased with this set and can hardly wait to see it in my Special Hobby X-15A2!!

http://superbugmodels.net/

Bob Read

Click on images below to see larger images

Photos and text by Bob Read