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Engine Intake
and Exhaust Covers


Steel Beach

S u m m a r y


Various resin and die-cut vinyl engine intake and exhaust covers for modern US jet aorcraft. See details below

Contents and Media: See details below
Price: between USD$2.99 and USD$8.99 - available online from Sprue Bros
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Great idea for avoiding problems with intake interiors or simply to give a different look to a finished model; appropriate use of different media; high quality presentation; available in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales
Recommendation: All Recommended

Reviewed by David W. Aungst

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




The bane of every modeler that builds modern jets is dealing with the interiors of the engine intakes and exhausts. Most of us just bear with it and eventually find ways to work it out.

Some people get creative and learn ways to cover them up. After all, the openings are covered 90% of the time while the aircraft sit on the flight line.

A new line of after market products has just started coming out from a company named Steel Beach to assist the modeler with covering the engine intakes and exhausts. I was sent four review samples from Steel Beach to evaluate:


SB105 - 1/48 scale F-14 TF30 Engine Exhaust Covers

First up are these resin engine exhaust covers for TF30 powered F-14 Tomcats. The pieces are well cast and are direct replacements of the kit's engine exhaust pieces. I do not know if it was because I got early versions of the pieces or not, but there was no slag to remove. The pieces came in the bag with the back sides sanded to the correct place so they could be used immediately, right out of the bag.

The pieces are specific to the Revell/Monogram F-14 Tomcat kits. Steel Beach will be (or may already have) releasing pieces for the Hasegawa Tomcat. I tested my review samples on a Hasegawa Tomcat and they were not even close.

I rooted in the attic to come up with a Revell/Monogram F-14. Then I quickly super-glued the rear fuselage so I could test fit the exhaust pieces. They fit pretty well for having me take all of five minutes to prep and attach them. There is a slight shinkage in the resin that makes them slightly undersized, but it is not enough to be overly worried. Also, while the pieces have no markings to indicate the top from the bottom, there is a sag molded into the covers that the modeler will need to be sure is pointed downward on the final installation.

  Tomcat Engine Exhaust Covers (SB105)
Tomcat Engine Exhaust Covers (SB105)   Tomcat Engine Exhaust Covers (SB105)


SB106 - 1/48 scale F-18 FOD (Intake) Covers

Next are some engine intake covers for the F-18 Hornet. There are direct replacements of the Hasegawa Hornet engine intake lips. They represent the intakes covered with the standard elastic band vinyl covers that many Hornets are seen to have in use. The molding is clean and no clean-up of the parts would be required in order to use them.

Because I do not have a Hornet under way in my workroom, I could not verify the size or fit of the pieces. They do seem to match up well with the Hasegawa parts, though.

About the only thing missing with these covers is the elastic bands that hold them to the airframe on the real aircraft. The instructions mention creating these from small strips of masking tape.

  Hornet FOD (Intake) Covers (SB106)


SB111 - 1/48 scale F-16 GE Engine Exhaust Cover

Next is a resin engine exhaust cover for a GE powered F-16 Fighting Falcon. Like the other items, the molding on this piece is well done. The piece is a direct replacement of the engine exhaust for any of the GE engine powered Hasegawa F-16C/D kits.

I have a Hasegawa F-16 that has been started and gathering dust in my workroom, so I got it out to test fit the piece. As you can see, it fits nicely. Like the Tomcat exhausts, there is some minor shrinkage that makes the piece a slight bit undersized. But, this can be easily fixed in construction.

Like on the Tomcat exhaust covers, there is a sag to the molded cover to help determine the downward side. Also, there are panel lines to help with being more recise at knowing the exact bottom of the piece. Just compare the resin piece to the Hasegawa kit piece and make the panel lines line up the same on the model.

  F-16 Engine Exhaust Covers (SB111)


SB202 - 1/48 scale F-14 FOD (Intake) Covers

The last items are some engine intake covers for the F-14 Tomcat. These are a self-adhesive vinyl sheeting. They are pre-cut into a shape that makes them quite easy to install on the model. The instructions are clear and concise. They would likely fit most any Tomcat kit, but the instructions specifically name the Hasegawa and Revell kits. I had no trouble attaching them to a Hasegawa Tomcat that I have been working on for several years.

The adhesive is tacky enough to hold the cover firmly in place, yet not so tacky as to make the covers impossible to take off and adjust. I am not certain how these will fair over the long haul sitting for years on someone's model display shelves. They may start peeling up and needing re-attachment in time. My review samples did not have a problem for the hour or so I was goofing around and had one installed.

While my review samples were black, Steel Beach informed me they also come in red, yellow, and blue. Additionally, they are available in all three major modeling scales -- 1/32nd, 1/48th, and 1/72nd.

  Tomcat FOD (Intake) Covers (SB202)
Tomcat FOD (Intake) Covers (SB202)   Tomcat FOD (Intake) Covers (SB202)
Tomcat FOD (Intake) Covers (SB202)





I think Steel Beach is on to something here - especially the Tomcat intakes. I know from experience that they are a nightmare to get filled and sanded to anything approximating the right shape. These easy to use covers remove the problem

All Recommended.

Thanks to Steel Beach for the information

Review samples courtesy of Darren Roberts at Steel Beach.
These and other Steel Beach accessories are available from
Sprue Bothers Models.

Review Text and Images Copyright 2004 by David W. Aungst
Page Created 15 September, 2004
Last updated 30 November, 2004

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