Nichimo "Jake" with Lone Star Models Conversion
I have had the Nichimo Aichi E13A1 "Jake" in the stash for a long time, and finally got around to building it when I found a Lone Star Models conversion. The Nichimo kit is one of those old kits that was designed to have a battery and motor inside, so that the propellor could spin. The battery and electric motor fit inside where the cockpit would normally be, so Nichimo just put in a piece of plastic, along with aircrew figures as the interior. Lone Star Models designed a resin conversion to replace the kit parts with a complete cockpit. This conversion is LSM #0324, and I believe it is now out-of-production (OOP). To fit the LSM resin cockpit requires that the upper part of the fuselage be cut away, and replaced by a resin part. The conversion is very comprehensive and includes floor, sidewalls, seats, along with miscellaneous bits and pieces. It also includes a vac-u-formed canopy, that is pretty bad. I must mention that it is probably best that this LSM resin conversion is OOP, because the resin has a lot of pinholes that require filling.
The Nichimo "Jake" required a lot of TLC to get it presentable, even with the LSM resin cockpit. as a product of a bygone era, this kit was designed kind of like a toy. Besides the spinning prop, the kit also has a working folding wings feature, that allows the wings to be positioned up or down. I cose to eliminate this feature, and glued the wings in the down position. The kit also has positionable flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudder, all of which I glued to prevent movement. As mentioned, the LSM conversion comes with a vac-u-formed canopy, but this clear part had so many bumps and lumps, that it was pretty useless. I used my old Mattel Vac-u-form machine to make a new canopy, using the Nichimo canopy as a mold. I made a couple canopies, which I was able to cut apart, so that some of the pieces could be posed open.
The paint is Tamiya IJN green and IJN grey, both lightened a bit for scale. Kit decals were still usable, so the markings are those supplied with the kit. I weathered the finish with Tamiya panel liner enamels, and also some oil paint.
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.