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U-2 ASARS-II Nose Update


Cutting Edge Modelworks



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number, Description

CEC48106 - U-2 ASARS-II Nose Update

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: See text and images
Price: USD$12.99 available online from Meteor Productions website
Review Type: FirstLook Review
Recommendation Recommended


Reviewed by David W. Aungst

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions




This is another of the update sets for the Testors / Italeri U-2R/S / TR-1 "Dragon Lady" released by Cutting Edge back in 1998. On the surface, it seems to be one of the simplest updates on the market as it is one piece and requires no slag removal -- just replace the kit nose outright with the resin piece. Not quite so fast...

I picked up one of these noses when it was first released in 1998. I liked the more purposeful look this nose gives to the U-2R, being longer and fatter-looking than the standard U-2R nose.



The Update Set Described


The Full Update Set -- All One Piece of It!
The Full Update Set -- All One Piece of It!


The shape and size of this one piece update set looks really good. The copies I obtained are very smooth and blemish free. There are no panel lines molded into the nose. As the instructions read, the real nose has no discernable lines. The dielectric panels on the sides of the nose are slightly off color, but seem to not have any panel line. The instructions do provide a full size 1/48th scale template for painting the dielectric panels on the nose sides.

The intent of this set is to provide a drop-in, no fuss replacement of the kit nose. The reality is that there is a bit more work to it than that. It is true that no slag needs to be removed from the piece. The slag actually works as a locator to help hold the nose on the model. The problem is that resin shrinks just slightly when it cures. The master for the nose was obviously made as an exact fit for the kit fuselage. Accounting for shrinkage, the original nose I bought in 1996 is about a sixteenth of an inch too small in diameter to match the nose of the kit -- OUCH!

There is hope, though.

The original nose I bought in 1998 was molded in the old tan resin that most after-market companies used at that time. I recently noticed the ASARS nose on the Cutting Edge display tables at a model meet. The nose is now molded in the new gray resin that most all Cutting Edge sets use. I remembered that the gray resin does not seem to shrink as much as the tan resin. So, I picked up a new nose and was relieved to find the nose was much closer to the correct diameter. See the pictures below.


Old (Tan) Mold ASARS Nose
Old (Tan) Mold ASARS Nose
New (Gray) Mold ASARS Nose
New (Gray) Mold ASARS Nose


The difference is not a lot, but every little bit helps. The new gray nose is only about half as much shrunk as the older tan nose. There are two ways to fix the fit:

  1. Add filler to the outside of the nose to build it up to the diameter of the kit fuselage. This will involve a good bit of careful sanding and shaping to get the contours to line up without overly effecting the shape of the nose.
  2. Cut relief slits in the kit fuselage to allow it to be reduced in diameter to match the nose. This is a much easier to control process (in my mind).

The decission on which way to work the nose is up to each modeler. I tend to like the second way and will use that approach on my U-2S "Dragon Lady" model.





There you have it -- a simple one-piece update that is not quite so simple to use. All the same, it is the only show in town for doing an ASARS equiped U-2R/S / TR-1. If you have a gray resin nose, the size difference is much less than with the tan resin. I would consider replacing your nose if you have a tan resin one.

I can recommend the current gray resin version of this set. I would not recommend the older tan resin version.





(Newest to Oldest)

  • U-2R/S Walk Around by David W Aungst
    On-Line HyperScale Reference, 2003

  • U-2: The Second Generation by Chris Pocock
    World Airpower Journal, Volume 28, AirTime Publishing, 1997

  • Dragon Lady by Ted Carlson / Toyokazu Matsuzaki
    Koku-Fan Magazine, Volume 1996-04, Bunrin-Do Company, Limited, 1996

  • Recce Tech by Paul F Crickmore
    Osprey Color Series, Osprey Aerospace Publishing, 1989

  • U-2 Spyplane in Action by Larry Davis
    , Squadron In Action #86, Squadron Publishing, 1988/2002

  • Lockheed U-2R/TR-1 by Jay Miller
    AeroFax MiniGraph #28, AeroFax, Inc., 1988

  • Lockheed U-2 by Jay Miller
    AeroFax AeroGraph #3, AeroFax, Inc., 1983


Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available online from Meteor Productions website

Images and Information Copyright 2003 David W. Aungst
This Page Created on 24 April, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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