Nichimo Mitsubishi A5M4 Claude – 1/72
I had various projects (the F-2 and a Turk Phantom) in various stages of drying, so decided to pull out a small WWII kit that I could also build for our contest theme in April – “Made in Japan.” I had recently seen some great pics of finished Claude models, so decided to go for the Claude. I also wanted a subject to test the new Vallejo Metal paints I had bought to use for the airbrush, now that I’m getting handy with that.
This is an old kit, but surprisingly it had some nice recessed panel lines and rivet detail. The rivets were a bit large for scale, but I decided to take out my scribing tools and rivet wheel, and finish it off with a complete set, since the NMF would show it off. In the pics you can tell where the heavy original lines and rivets were and where I added new ones.
I did add some other details. There was no IP, so I just added a simple flat panel and then used paint to depict instruments. It is hidden up under the dash so it’s just enough for me. In hindsight, knowing it is an open cockpit, I wish I had put in just a few cockpit sidewall details. I did use a PJ Productions Japanese pilot. I really like the detail in the PJ products, though I feel they are just a tad over scale. I really had to grind away the bottom/back of the pilot to get him down into the aircraft decently.
Next was the engine, and all I did there was add some wiring. The flaps were actually separate items, so I attached them dropped and then added the actuators and actuator control rods with styrene rod. I scrapped off the molded on aileron actuators on the upper wings and creating new ones out of styrene rod and bits. There was just the hint of a tail hook, so I also sanded that off and scratch built one (sorry – the pic of that is a bit fuzzy). I also added the fuel tanks straps and buckles using Tamiya tape and styrene bits. I drilled out the gun ports on the upper cowling, the exhausts and the site.
The one thing I couldn’t really remedy was the too-large cut out in the windscreen where the site pokes through. I did add back a lower windscreen frame beneath the site, and thought about trying to fill the hole with Krystal Klear, but decided it might make a mess! In hindsight, I probably could have cut that section out of the windscreen and replaced it with acetate, drilled to just fit the site.
I used Vallejo White Aluminum as the base, and Duralumin for the two thin panels down each wing, the ailerons and the flaps. For the red, I had some Vallejo Model Color paint that was the closest red match to the Berna Decals set I had bought, so I used that for the tail. In hindsight I should have painted the red stripe on the fuselage also, as I had difficulty with the decals and the red stripe got destroyed. I used a yellow strip instead – which wasn’t totally accurate, but I had already backed myself into a corner with the decals that were on the aircraft that didn’t allow me to re-mask and paint the stripe at that point. The black cowl was Vallejo black with some Vallejo Mirage Blue mixed in, to try to get the “blue-black” on Japanese aircraft. That was just brush painted.
I used a grey panel wash to keep it from being too stark. Then used a coat of Testors Dullcoat (rattle can) to give me a finish to weather it – some pastel chalks, AK pencils, silver pencil and Tamiya weathering masters gave me what I was after. Then a final coat of Dullcoat. Although the Claude looked really nice in her shiny NMF finish prior to the dulling and weathering, I think it looks much more scale-realistic once dulled down. Uschi line for the aerial, Jade Green and Ruby Red for the lights, and it was done.
18 additional images. Click to enlarge.