by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
What is a bezel?
“A Bezel setting”, or “bezel rim” encompasses, surrounds and fastens a jewel, watch crystal, lens or other object to a fixed position. This consists of a band of metal containing a groove and flanges (i.e. projecting lip) holding a watch crystal, gauge face or gemstone in its setting. This was the earliest method of setting gemstones into jewelry. An expansion of the word used in this sense can refer to a rotatable rim on a clock or watch used to indicate certain data such as elapsed time. These are also called “Dash Bezels” when concerning instruments for various vehicles.
We have to go back to Fotocut and the 1976 works of Harry Woodman to see the first photoetch brass bezels for 1:72, 1:48 & 1:28 WWI aviation model kits. Simple rings of varying sizes of brass rims meant to augment a cockpit and add some color to production kits of the time. You could stack them and get thin ring onto of a thicker ring and get a two dimensional item that enhanced a kit build instrument panel.
HGW has given us a new selection of instrument cluster bezel facades. Set #148012 WWI Instrument Bezels in 1:48 and it mirrors their release of the same items in 1:32 from one year ago. There are three frets of 68 items each. They are various sized silver nickel, brass and a set called "black" bezels facades all in one package.
Now the "black" coloured sets are not a true black but more of a burnished metal colour. I am guessing that it prevents the details from being lost in this scale. Espcially if you have to over paint the whole dash board / instrument panel after the bezels are attached. Aeroscale Managing editor Rowan Baylis ran into a bit of this while doing the 1:32 true black sets for his 1:32 Fairey Flycatcher build. I see the burnished metal as an attempt to improve the product, by letting the modeler add the colour for his project.
These are generous in number and size and you must cut the gauge faces from kit or aftermarket decals. Place them on your instrument panel then apply the bezel for the size of decal you are using. Mr. Jan Bobek of HGW notes that these were created with the folks at as Eduard consultants.
Aircraft of all WWI combatants had these items as part of the instrument gauge feature. The attachment screws were inset into the perimeter of the bezel ring itself. The ring held the pane of glass in place over the gauge face and the screws attached the whole unit to the instrument panel. These sets easily cover the subjects most often found in cockpits of WWI and some between the wars subjects.
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