The BarracudaCast sets arrive in simple zip-lock bags with card backs and come complete with a comprehensive set of instructions. Each set comprises 6 cream resin parts. As you'd expect with anything from Barracuda Studios, the parts are immaculately produced and cast. The master patterns were made by Danny Lauderdale, and the two sample sets are flawless, with beautifully crisp details and only quite simple clean-up required.
At first glance, the Bearcat's and Skyraider's propellers are essentially identical - both Aeroproducts designs and installed without a spinner. But, while the hubs are indeed the same, the difference lies in the length of the blades - in real life that's 12 feet 7 inches for the Bearcat, and 13 feet 6 inches for the Skyraider.
I don't have the Trumpeter Bearcat or Skyraider to make direct comparisons against. However, judging by photos online, the resin upgrades appear far better detailed and the blades have a correct aerodynamic twist that seems to be lacking in the kit versions.
One minor hiccup that the eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted on the pack shots is that the labels state that these are Hamilton Standard propellers, not Aeroproducts. But fear not - the parts are correct and match photos of the full-sized Aeroproducts propellers perfectly. (Note: These samples were early production sets and I'm sure this typo has since been corrected).
The blades are attached to substantial casting blocks at their roots, with a thin wafer of resin running up each side to the base of the blade. The blades themselves are totally free of any "flash", and a nice touch is that they are protected in transit by sturdy resin posts at each end of the casting block. (I'm a notorious materials hoarder and I'd definitely save the posts for future use, because I've no doubt they will come in handy one day for a modelling project.)
The hub parts will take a little more care to remove from their casting blocks, but it's nothing that even somebody new to working with resin should be concerned about.
Roy Sutherland has written clear and detailed step-by-step instructions, illustrated with handy colour photos of each stage. The final photo shows the correct angle of incidence for blades, so I'd use this to construct a simple assembly jig to ensure everything lines up properly.
Barracuda Studios have a thoroughly deserved reputation for excellence and these Barracudacast sets are everything you'd expect from them. With straightforward clean-up and assembly, these upgrades will be suitable for newcomers to working with resin, as well as more experienced modellers, and will be very worthwhile boosts for the Trumpeter kits.
Many thanks to Roy Sutherland for supplying the sample sets.
Both are available now from Barracuda Studios - Price: $13.95 each:
BR32441 - F8F Bearcast Propeller Correction Set
BR32442 - A-1 Skyraider Propeller Correction Set
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE