by: Carlos Martin [ ]
The two traditional ways to represent the dashboard of a vehicle are using decals for the whole area or painting the moulded detail.
Decals are easy to use but they are flat, and look so. On the other hand, hand painting such small details is not easy at all and is impossible to get a similar definition.
Yahu models comes with a very interesting alternative, using coloured photoetch. The system is well known for aircraft modellers, who have benefit from these parts for their cockpits for some time, and now it is available also for some armour models.
The result is amazing, much more realistic than both the decal or the paint, and marking a difference in the final result of the cabin.
Yahu Models has a large catalog of aircraft cockpits in different scales, so they are not new in this field. Recently they have stepped into the armour modelling as well, offering dashboards for a few vehicles like the British Scammell, the Soviet ZIL-131, the US Tractor CASE VAI or the Chevrolet CT15A.
Basically, they provide a photoetch plate with all the dials already painted in their colours, and often with the background dashboard ready to use as is.
Depending on the vehicle, there are different systems for optimal use. Some are just the dials that need to be cut and placed in the plastic frame from the kit, while other has a separate cover to be painted with the desired colour, and another comes ready to use.
The quality is excellent and the resolution equally impressive. In fact it has been a challenge to take the photos to show how small they are.
In several of the dials, the figures can be read so as the individual markings.
While the "printing" resolution may not be superior -but neither inferior- to a decal, the whole look is much better thanks to the three dimensional nature of the photoetch. The dials are raised and they even have the flat cover simulating the glass.
Comparing the dashboards with online walkarounds of the vehicles show that a competent research has been done: the shapes are correct, dials for temperature, fuel, pressure or speed are shown differently and in the correct places.
Analyzing the samples
I have received three samples for review, for the British Scammell, the CT15A and the Soviet ZiL-131. All of them are nicely (and accurately) represented, and have different methods of use depending on the real vehicle.
Scammell Pioneer, for either the IBG or Thunder Model kits. As the dashboard of the Scammell was black with the dials, Yahu provides two plates: a front one already painted in black and a second one with the dials. This way the bevel around the dials is shown correctly.
There is also an additional plate with (readable) text for the crane.
Chevrolet C15TA, for IBG model. Again it comes with two photoetch parts but this time the outer one has no paint, as it carried the colour of the vehicle. It is quite easy then to paint this part first, without need of masking the dials, and add them afterwards.
As a bonus, this set has also five masks for the wheels, covering the rim for easier painting of the tire.
ZiL-131, intended for ICM/Revell kit, it has three round dials, a set of four smaller ones that come together and two plates with instructions that were placed on the dashboard of the vehicle as well.
As the dials are spread on a large area, they have to be individually removed from the fret and placed on the plastic part that comes with the kit after painting it.
They are numbered and the instructions show where each one goes, same for the two plates with text.
I have been impressed with the quality and detail of these sets, with little effort they notably enhance the interior of the models.
I just hope they keep extending their range, as the open cab vehicles will specially benefit from their use.