North Star Hobbies 48-01 Cockpit Set


Hobbycraft 1/48 Avro Arrow




Dan Lee




Hobbycraft is notorious for making nice model kits with awful and or over simplified interiors.  Their 1/48 scale Avro Arrow (Canada’s greatest what if airplane) is no exception as both versions have atrocious cockpits—the first release of the model had a cockpit that was no more than two sticks and seats and an extremely incorrect instrument panel while the second release was slightly better but it still sucked.

 For those who are fans of the Avro Arrow and want a representation of the real life cockpit, but do not have the desire to spend hours researching obscure documents to scratch build the cockpit there is a solution.

 Northstar Hobbies (a Toronto area hobby store and my local model “dealer”) has produced their first ever aftermarket cockpit that dramatically improves the look of the Hobbycraft Arrow (only game in town at 1/48 scale.)

 Some of you are looking at the $69.99 CDN price for this set and are squawking.  This is probably one of the most expensive aftermarket cockpit sets ever, but let’s looks at it before you scream. 

First of all you get 19 pieces of expertly cast dark grey resin (among the parts are two detailed bang seats, sticks, throttle and instrument panels.  Also for those who want to display the cockpit as a stand alone, they have provided a resin version of the cockpit mount.  Where are the pour stubs, you ask.  Well, they aren’t really there.  Most of the pieces have flash that needs to be cleaned with minimal sanding, but it is less of nuisance than using a saw and creating clouds of that ever so healthy resin dust.  Also included are three photo etched frets (containing fuselage, canopy framing and seat belts), a sheet of pre cut acetate and some brass wire for details.

 The Hobbycraft kit only allows you to model the Arrow with its canopy closed, but this set allows one to open up the cockpit (the Arrow had a relatively complex clamshell canopy) without having to go thru the hassle of cutting compound curves out of Hobbycraft’s canopy piece.

 The detail on the instrument panels is excellent, intricate and eliminates the need for any additional photo etch instrument panels.

 The pre cut acetate eliminates the hassle of cutting the compound curves of the actual windows. 

The set also comes with a four page instruction sheet which lays out where all the parts go without having to spend time guessing and their build order.  Plus it includes a paint guide using FS595 numbers rather than glomming onto one particular paint line.

 I think that one really does get one’s money worth in this set considering the amount of research, design and manufacturing expertise that went into it.

 You’re probably wondering so what?  There are lots of really nice cockpit sets that look great outside the model, but are as pleasant as getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick when you try to shove it into a model.  I’ve been poked in the same eye with the same stick a few times myself.  However, the folks at NorthStar spent a lot of time making sure that this cockpit fit into the existing kit.  I have seen the test shots and the actual production parts fit easily into the Hobbycraft fuselage without all the unnecessary swearing and fits of insane rage that come with some other resin cockpits.

 For those wondering, I paid full price for this set.

October 2005

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