Fine Molds 1/48 Claude
Just finished this one as a pretty quick build. Great kit - I really enjoy building FM stuff. Just wish they would make more kits 🙂
I build the FM Ki-10 "Perry" some time back, and this kit was just as enjoyable of a build. Nice to have some quality pre-/early-War Japanese models. This is definitely equal to any Hasegawa kit I have built. Fits together nicely, with just some very small amounts of putty needed in a few spots on the fuselage. Great surface engraved details. Very detailed engine and cockpit (I just added some Eduard belts). Nice to have the choice of open or closed flaps. A drop tank is included, but I chose to leave it off.
Used Vallejo metal paints for the first time on this. They are acrylic, have virtually no odor, and dry quickly. They took to masking quite well - I painted the red tail and blue band on top of the metal with no problems at all. I used 'aluminum' for the main airframe, with a different shade for the ailerons and propeller. The 'metalness' isn't quite as good as Alclad in my opinion, but since Claudes had a varnish over them I think it looks quite ok. I will be trying more colors in Vallejo's metallic range.
About the only nitpick I have on the kit is the lack of clear covers for the wingtip lights. This could easily be fixed with some clear styrene and a bit of cutting, sanding and polishing, but I just painted some clear Tamiya paints on them (with the aluminum undercoat) and then coated with Future. I did drill out the pitot tube and (unseen) gun barrels, and add some EZ Line for an antenna wire, but that's it. FM molded the wheels with a slot that allows you to slide them into the wheelpants after building (and painting). Most kits that have wheelpants have you trap the wheel inbetween the two halves of the pants when you assemble them. That makes painting more difficult. I usually avoid trapping the wheels and cut a slot in the wheels so I can insert them after painting. FM took care of that for me. Only downside to this method (for some) is the wheels are stationary. I don't tend to roll my aircraft around much on their wheels, so it works just fine for me 🙂
Decals are from Lifelike - they have 3 new sheets that work with either the FM or the Wingsy Claude kits.
After this it is back to another small diorama project.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.