Tamiya 1/32 Mitsubishi A6M2b ZERO Model 21

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Aircraft flown in the Pearl Harbour attack by Lt Saburo Shindo, Air superiority command, 2nd strike unit, aboard carrier Akagi, lead ship of Carrier Div. 1 Hawaii, December 8, 1941.

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The first step in my order of construction (step 40 in the kit instructions) was the beautiful little Nakajima ‘Sakae’ Model 12 engine. Here I have added a wiring harness and some other plumbing using various gauges of copper wire.

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Wired, plumbed and painted.

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The engine fully painted, assembled and ready for installation. The firewall, with its oil and fuel tanks attached, is only dry-fitted to the engine mount at this point.

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Cockpit elements complete. Lots of extra detail added here, including wiring, handles, pushrods and HGW’s brilliant micro textile seat belts. The main colour used for the cockpit interior is Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green with a good dash of Gunze Sangyo H58 Interior Green added to knock the brightness out of it.

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The instrument panel was next.

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Cockpit module complete and ready to be installed.

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With the interior components installed, the main construction was completed and painting commenced. After the application of the main cammo colour of Gunze H61 IJN Grey was completely dry, the weathering process began. This was commenced by carefully running the very sharp point of a 6B graphite pencil along and around all panel lines and fastener screw heads. These rather dark lines were then muted down by very carefully over spraying them with a thin mix of IJN Grey with a dash of my black/brown mix added. Before this colour was completely dry the entire surface of the model was polished using a few drops of water and the second finest Micromesh cloth. This formed a slurry of the shading colour which was wiped away using a soft cloth leaving this slightly darker, subtle colour in the recessed surface detail. After this process was complete I decided to mask and spray all the national and tactical markings and the wings’ red ‘Don’t Step’ safety lines. Once this was complete I very carefully polished the entire model using the finest Micromesh cloth. This gives the model a beautifully even, glass-like sheen.

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The sprayed red safety lines. Also in this shot can be seen that each rivet on the rear cockpit combing has been carefully dotted with a Prismacolor sliver pencil.

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The shiny surface can be seen a bit better in this rather poor quality shot. The engine has also been fixed in place at this point.

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Because the kit’s tail wheel is made to actually retract, Tamiya has left off its very prominent sealing boot which would interfere with its operation. I wanted to include this feature so some tiny attachment brackets were made from thin plastic strip and glued in place. The tail wheel was then permanently fixed in the fully extended position and the sealing boot was added by filling the gap around it with Milliput. Then, with the aid of some good reference photos, the putty was sculpted into the appropriate shape.

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Tail wheel with boot finished and installed.

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Folded and extended wing tips are provided and can be easily interchanged. These are the folded tips.

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Two sizes of wheel chocks are supplied, these larger ones are to be placed in front of the wheels while there are smaller ones to be placed at the rear. I could’t find any photographic evidence of the smaller rear chocks being used so I only finished the larger front ones. I added some extra detail by cutting a simple wood grain texture into each panel with the tip of a scalpel; adding end cap plates from plastic strip, and replacing the rather thick white string supplied in the kit with a much finer, smooth cord.

GALLERY

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Hasegawa 1/32 Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9

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These aircraft flew top cover for the unit’s departing and returning Me 262s and even though there is no official title for this small group of colourful Doras the word Papagei, meaning parrot, was used by the unit as one of its radio call signs. It is commonly thought that the red and white striped under surfaces of these D-9s and D-11s was adopted for quick recognition by the airfield’s flak gunners.

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The latest illustrations of this aircraft by Tom Tullis show the wing and horizontal tail upper surfaces as being RLM 75 Grey-Violet/ RLM 74 Grey-Green. As I finished this model twelve years ago following Tom’s original interpretation that all the upper surfaces were painted late war RLM 82 Bright Green and RLM 83 Dark Green, that’s the way it’s going to stay!

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Verkaaft’s mei Gwand ‘I foahr in himmel! Sell my clothes I’m going to heaven! It was said that this saying reflected Sachsenberg’s never-say-die attitude and his aggressive fighting spirit. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and survived the war with a total of 104 victories.

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Sell my clothes I’m going to heaven!

 

Masudaya’s 1/5 Scale Automaton ‘Maria’ from Metropolis

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Maria—restored 2015

I purchased this vinyl model back in the 1980s and when I had my shop in the ’90s she stood proudly on display in the front window. At that time I had only given her a quick coat of gold lacquer but not bothered to fill any joins or correct any faults. So after 30 years I thought it was about time to give the old girl a makeover.

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With the original gold paint stripped back, major joins were filled with Milliput and Mr Surfacer liquid putty. The kit’s four solid, moulded-on straps that connected her legs to her body were removed and later replaced with more accurate items made from P/E brass strip.

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Her head was given a coat of Mr Base White 1000 primer to reveal any flaws that needed fixing. There were a few pin holes, but these were easily filled.

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The body was given a good coat of Tamiya Surface Primer Gray. The join around her waist still needed a bit more attention but I could not eliminate it completely and it is still just visible on the completed model.

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With her new connecting leg straps fitted, the model was given several coats of Alclad II Lacquer Pale Burnt Metal and now stands proudly in my dark grey display cabinet.

Tamiya 1/32 Mosquito FB Mk.VI

 

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Mosquito FB Mk.VI  HX922/EG-F as flown by Group Captain P.C. Pickard during Operation Jericho.

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Kit bombs with a little extra detail. The kit’s fusing prop blades were given a twist to add some pitch and small rings from the P/E spares drawer were added to their noses.

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The bombs were first given a coat of Tamiya XF-61 Dark Green. Then, with the airbrush pressure turned right down so the paint would spatter, a very thin mix of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow was unevenly sprayed over the front three quarters of each bomb. Lots of scuffs and scratches were then added using various coloured pencils.

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The main gear doors, which had already been painted by Brett, were weathered with an oil wash to the silver interior and some careful airbrushed shading and streaking to the grey exterior.

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I decided to replace the kit’s clear plastic supercharger intake guards with scratch-built items made using  .010 x .030″ Evergreen plastic strip and some fine P/E mesh, again from the spares drawer.

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Once painted and fitted to the model they looked pretty good!

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The boarding ladder was painted using my mix of British interior green and given lots of scratches with a mix of dark grey and red brown.

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Once painted black with yellow tips, the prop blades were weathered using the same, thin, Desert Yellow mix used on the bombs. Scratches were applied to their edges using a Prismacolor silver pencil. The prop hubs were dirtied up with my black/brown mix.

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When the model was handed over to me the main construction had been completed by Brett Green. Brett had also masked the canopy frame and given the whole model a good coat of Tamiya AS11 Medium Sea Grey straight from the ‘rattle’ can so all I had to do was add the dark green camouflage. The outline for the green cammo was carefully sprayed freehand maintaining as tight a line as I could. A rough squiggle was then applied so I could easily see which side of the lines I had to fill in with the main coat. Spraying on the wrong side of the line is an easy mistake to make and it’s a mistake I have made plenty of times in the not so distant past!

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My choice for RAF dark green is always Gunze Sangyo H330. I know this is not the recommended colour for WW2 RAF aircraft but it’s the one I prefer to use.

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The area around the gun camera port was sprayed silver and then masked off with a small square of masking tape before the main green coat was applied. Once the green had been sprayed the mask was removed and the edge between the two colours was roughened up by some careful chipping of the green paint with the sharp end of a wooden toothpick.

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Gun dust, exhaust stains and general grime were all added with the airbrush and a very thin mix of Tamiya red brown and flat black. The tyres were given a very watery wash of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow.

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Group Captain P.C. Pickard and his navigator Flight Lieutenant J.A. Broadley RNZAF were both killed at the end of the Amiens raid when this aircraft was attacked and shot down by a Focke Wulf 190 of JG26.

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These last two photos were taken by Brett and will appear in his latest ‘How To Build’ book.

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Hasegawa 1/72 Ju88C-6

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This Ju88C-6 is believed to have been flown by Hauptmann Tober of 8./NJG 2 in early 1944. It was equipped with FuG220 radar and upward firing Schräge Musik 20mm cannon.

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A few extra details were added to the cockpit interior. These included safety harnesses cut from .005″ plastic card with simple buckles made from fine copper wire, rudder pedal cables from same and various control levers on side console from fine brass wire. The pilot’s seat was hollowed out using a motor tool and the radar operator’s seat had a new headrest added using brass wire and plastic card.

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Cockpit interior painted and waiting to be installed.

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Kit radar dipoles were replaced with scratch-built items made using fine telescoping brass tube and wire from Albion Alloys.

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Undercarriage plumbed, painted and weathered. Tyres have also been flat-spotted.

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The very thick kit pitot tube was replaced, again using Albion Alloy telescoping brass tube.

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Although being the right shape, the prop blades were way too thick and so were sanded to a thickness much closer to scale.

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The model was given a standard 70/71 splinter paint scheme on the upper surfaces.

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This was followed by a fairly loose squiggle of RLM76. In this shot you can just see the nose-mounted machine gun barrels which have been replaced with brass tubes.

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The finished camouflage with exhaust staining added.

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Kit Schräge Musik barrels were replaced using brass tube.

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A new DF loop was fabricated using some flat p/e stock from the spares drawer and an FuG 25 whip antenna was added using fine brass wire.

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Lots of exhaust stains and oily streaks around  the engine nacelles and undercarriage doors. To a lesser degree this staining is also visible on the horizontal tail surfaces (top and bottom).

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This shot shows how heavy the exhaust staining is. Also in this and previous shots, the demarcation line between the upper and lower camouflage is still just visible on the fuselage sides and nose. This is the result of  the slightly lighter application of the RLM76 squiggle which corresponds pretty well with my reference photos.

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Finished.

 

Tamiya 1/32 Vought F4U-1A Corsair

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F4U-1A of VMF-321 flown by 1Lt.Robert Whiting on Guam, August 1944.

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Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W engine with extra wiring and plumbing. The exhaust manifold is not glued in place at this point.

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The finished engine.

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Cockpit with Barracuda’s stencils and placards decal set added. I did use the kit decal for the instrument dials but with a slight variation. The main panel was first painted semi-gloss black then the clear dial face panel was glued in place as per the instructions. Next I cut each dial face from the kit decal sheet and applied them individually to the front of each instrument. Once dry, each dial received a drop of clear gloss. I think this gives a much clearer result than applying them to the back of the clear instrument part.

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The rear bulkhead with seat, safety harness and oxygen bottle attached.

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Main cockpit components together.

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Cockpit sidewalls with a bit of extra wiring.

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The cowl flap hinge and pulley system was added using bits of plastic card and rod with stretched sprue as the wire. This is nowhere near 100% accurate, but it is quite visible and looks better than nothing.

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Wheel wells received lots of extra plumbing. This was made using fine solder wire and it is quite complicated, so good reference is essential.

Initial cammo colours on. Notice the fairly uneven spray job around the fuselage in front of the cockpit. This is where the heavy staining from the leaky fuel tanks will be applied.

In this shot the weathering is well underway. This includes the fuel stains down both sides of the forward fuselage and across the inner wing, lots of Prismacolor silver pencil paint chipping along rivet lines and where fuel cell sealing tape has been removed, and the general grubbiness across the wings which was achieved by very carefully spraying ‘random’ dirty marks with the same colour used for the fuel stains. This colour is heavily diluted Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow.

Undersurfaces were fairly heavily weathered as well. Lots of dirt and exhaust stains on lower fuselage. Two shades of intermediate blue were used on the outer wings with some panel lines painted darker navy blue as per some photographic references.

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The kit main wheels and tyres were replaced with resin items from Barracuda. The tail wheel assembly was later painted black as per reference.

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Even though EaglCals instructions indicate that the trim markings on the tail and prop hub of this VMF-321 aircraft are to be white, I’m sure they were yellow. Also during this period  VMF-321 planes carried different pilot and aircraft names on either sides of the cockpit and engine cowling. As the only available photo of this aircraft is of its righthand side,  I chose not to use the duplicate personal markings on its other side as indicated by EagleCal.

 

GALLERY

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More from the vault

Roden 1/48 Gloster Gladiator Mk II in Finnish markings.

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Tamiya 1/32 P-51 D Mustang flown by Capt. Henry W. ‘Baby’ Brown of the 354th FS. 353 FG.

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Tamiya 1/48 Nakajima N1J1-Sa Type 11 Gekko Late Version flown by WO Juzo Kuramoto and navigated by Lt Shiro Kurotori of the Yokosuka Kokutai.

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Revell 1/32 Heinkel He 219 Uhu carrying the markings of an aircraft flying with I/NJG1.

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