Master Details 1/32 USAF Jet Pilot 'Desert Wars' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2014||Manufacturer||Master Details|
|Subject||USAF Jet Pilot 'Desert Wars'||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||32041||Primary Media||Resin, White Metal|
|Pros||Beautiful casting||Cons||White metal heads, see text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$14.95|
Here is a figure I've wanted to see for some time. This is a typical modern U.S. Air Force pilot/back seater figure wearing current (with some caveats below) flight gear. The figure features the standard flight suit, G-suit (speed jeans), survival vest, Nomex gloves, and light weight HGU-55/P helmet. The artwork depicts the figure in desert tan Nomex but you can paint the figure in standard green Nomex and have a crew figure suitable for CONUS/NATO/PACAF subjects as well.
The figure is molded in the seated position with nicely cast torso and legs. Two sets of arms are included with the 'proper' sleeves down to the wrists and the 'way we wore them' sleeves past the elbows (bare arms). Four sets of heads are included: visor up/mask off, visor up/mask on, visor down/mask off, and visor down/mask down.
And now for the caveats: the cover says that this figure is correct for current subjects - not true, but it wouldn't be hard to modify this figure to be current:
- The figure is depicted with the MBU-12/P oxygen mask which was used with the older 'hard helmets' and through the mid 2000s with the light weight HGU-55/P. While I don't know when they first appeared, the MBU-20/P oxygen mask is now standard and was widely seen as far back as ten years ago. The MBU-12/P has the hose coming out of the front of the mask (as depicted with this figure) while the current MBU-20/P has the hose coming off the left side of the mask. Easy enough to modify.
- The visor-down heads depict the standard dark sun visor. The visor-up heads appear to have the visor covers in place. This is good for the Desert Storm-era crews and for many flight configurations up through today, BUT you'll need to modify these helmets of you're doing one of the following:
- OIF/OEF night missions with NVGs or day sorties with units rated for night missions. The visors are removed and the NVG mount adaptor is added to the helmet (pilots wore sunglasses during the day). These would include F-15E, A-10, and NVG-capable F-16s
- Aircraft is armed with AIM-9X - different visor assembly is used for helmet-mounted sight
The decal flight suit patches are a nice touch and you can trim away the tan background for use on green flight suits. One key item missing here is the US flag worn by flight crews, subdued as well as full-color.
While there are a few nits that I bring up here, these adjustments can be made on your own. I look forward to seeing what is coming next from Master Details and hope they'll start casting their heads in the same resin as the rest of the figures using those smooth quality molds instead of the rough white metal process currently in use.
This figure is available directly from the manufacturer at Master Details' website.
My sincere thanks to Master Details (http://www.masterdetails.com) for this review sample!