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Colin Gomez
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N1K2-J Shiden Kai (George) – Hasegawa 1/32

February 7, 2021 · in Aviation · 28 · 3.1K

Here is my big 32nd scale Hasegawa N1K2-J Shiden Kai. It is painted and weathered to represent the aircraft of Squadron Leader Lt. Naoshi Kanno operating out of Matsuyama Airbase, Japan, April, 1945. Kanno had ground crew hand paint the large yellow stripes on his aircraft to catch the attention of the enemy. Apparently, he hoped to be singled out for attack so he could shoot down more aircraft in one-on-one air duels. It has taken me several months to finish this model and is the third of my lock-down projects to reach the finish line. It is quite difficult to photograph but I hope it looks OK. Getting the green tones right and showing the rivet detail visible to the naked eye is tricky. The weather is quite snowy and dull these days and I've had to use maximum artificial light. Come summer time I may take some additional shots. You may notice that I have photographed the model with the canopy in both the open and closed position. It is easy to reposition it for now and I really like the look of the Shiden Kai buttoned up. I will fix the canopy open before I enter it in any contests.

The complete build of the model is viewable in the Empire of Japan Group Build, if you are interested. Here is a verbal summary of what I did with the kit:

As mentioned, the model is completely riveted top and bottom with the Rosie the Riveter tool.
I detailed the cockpit from scratch and used the kit instrument panel decals instead of Eduard etch. -seat belts are a mix of Eduard IJN color etch and paper/ masking tape along with spares box etch for the shoulder harness.
Engine has scratch-built ignition harness.
National markings (hinomarus) and yellow stripes are painted on the upper wings and fuselage. Numbers and lower wing hinos are decals. The metal coat was too delicate to airbrush under wing markings.
Maneuvering flaps were modified to fit properly in with less of a gap/open space between the wing and flap. This was judged by period and museum example photos. Flaps are not quite fully deployed.
Wing cannons are brass aftermarket from Master Barrels.
Natural Metal under surfaces are Vallejo Acrylic Metal Coat (very nice paints but a bit fragile for handling - at least for 48 hrs or so).
Upper surfaces are Tamiya IJN Green, weathered with a mottled pre-shade and an oil wash over the green and Tamiya Clear Gloss to accentuate panel lines.
Semi-Matt coat done with a mix of Model Master Acryl Flat and Gloss.
Paint chipping was done with the salt method with additional chips added with silver marker and pencil. I didn't want to overdo it as Kanno's plane was mainly weathered at the wing root with much of the other paint intact. I don't like excessive paint loss on my Japanese aircraft subjects.
That's it. I hope you like it. Comments welcome.
P.S. I just added 4 more pics with deeper color plus two cockpit shots. I had the benefit today of more direct sunlight to try additional photography with the iPad. Not to overload you with pics, I deleted some others in the posting that were blurry or washed out.

Reader reactions:
24  Awesome

43 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. Turned out very well Colin. Great build to follow

    • Thanks, George. It was good to have the opportunity to share the build as it unfolded. Getting constructive feedback made the more laborious tasks worthwhile. Thanks for following it through.

  2. This is a wonderful result, Colin!
    Having followed your thread, let me express my astonishment on your big amount of quality work!
    Well done!

    • Thanks, Spiros. Your input and encouragement was a big help in getting this build done. I have never had so much fun constructing and detailing a kit as I have in our group build. Glad you like how it turned out.

  3. Very nice result, Colin. Your extra efforts really paid off.

    • Thanks, Tom. I really appreciate your comments and advice as a modeler as well as your historical knowledge. Great to have you participating in our recent group builds.

  4. Really nice build Colin! Love the paint work too!

    • Thank you, Michel. They say the definition of boredom is watching paint dry but I actually enjoyed the process. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have gotten through all the layers involved in painting this one. The whole multi-layered chipping process is quite a production.

  5. Superb build, Colin.
    Some great looking interior details and chipping.

    • Thanks, John. I was very nervous about doing the chipping effects but I am pretty happy with the results. I am glad you like the interior - that side of things I find more relaxing to do. The trick is not to break anything as the rest of the build goes on.

  6. Really worth all the effort you put in on this build, great to see it in headlines, definitely liked.

  7. All that effort sure paid off.

  8. Great looking plane, Colin. I viewed your build thread and like what you did with this. It looks like it was a fun project.

    • Thanks, John. I did indeed have a lot of fun with this one. Even when things went a bit off with painting mishaps and ill-fitting parts, it was fun to work through solutions. That's one thing I really like about this hobby, it's a meditative exercise in craftsmanship and patience with visible rewards in the end.

  9. Came out spectacular. The rivets really make it.

    • Thanks, Bill. Your Shiden Kai was superb, especially the paintwork. I am happy you like how mine came out. Without flash photography or outdoor sunlight, I couldn't quite capture the paint modulation that resulted from the mottling pre-shade I did. Your model was a key inspiration for me. Thanks again for sharing your techniques.

    • Thanks, Bob. Taking the time to work and rework the details is the key for me. I am still honing my skills in many areas but I have learned patience is its own reward in this hobby. You also can't go easily wrong with an excellent kit like this one. I love the precision and simplicity of Hasegawa's 1/32nd kits.

  10. Colin, @coling
    This is a masterpiece ! It belongs in a museum. I don't know where to start...

    The rivets look fantastic. They follow the actual panel lines and various internal components exactly as they should. The engine looks so realistic, and the spark plug wires were the perfect final addition. It looks as if it could start up and run at a moments notice.

    The cockpit is a work of art... The exterior finish with the realistic and not overdone chipping that mimics the pictures of the actual plane that Kanno flew. Overall, the paint and precise decal work with no clear carrier film showing is over the top. The way you dropped the flaps.

    I could go on for a while like this...

    This was a great build journal to follow. I sincerely appreciate all of the time and effort you put into this for our Empire of Japan group build. Thank you !

    I definitely pressed the "liked" button, and look forward to seeing more of your builds in the future.

    • Thank you , Louis. It's really gratifying to have your feedback on the details that stand out for you. I get pretty focused on these things when building and I am really happy when they are worthy of comment. The riveting was quite a task - much more than I have attempted before. I am really happy that it is still visible under the various layers of paint. That is the beauty of acrylics, as I mentioned in the EOJ GB. Given your time around real museum birds, I value your perspective on how realistic things look. Thanks again for your careful and considerate comments and help during the build and painting process.

    • Thanks, Marc. It is good of you to comment. I really like the look of the Shiden Kai and I went the extra mile to make it look as good as I could. I am very happy you like it.

  11. Looks great! That's a beefy airframe as it is, but in 1/32, it's really gotta take up some real estate!

    • Thanks, Greg! It's a good sized airframe, built around a powerful engine. While it doesn't take up as much room as my P-47, it's a pretty substantial 32nd scale model. I'm working on a 32nd scale Buffalo Mk 1 now - much more compact!

  12. Beautiful model.
    Small... or not so small masterpiece

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