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George Henderson
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Tamiya 1:48 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden ("Lightning Bolt")

July 29, 2022 · in Aviation · · 29 · 1.1K

This is my take on a legendary . You've probably seen other builds, profiles and decal sheets of it. Someone heard it from someone else who heard it from another builder who saw a picture of it. This aircraft served with the 302nd Kaigun Kokutai. The aircraft had a (take your pick) yellow, white or NMF cowling, spinner, exhaust panels, fuselage band and tail cap. The tail code isn't readable and I saw three different interpretations, one was "∃D-151". I chose to do tail code "∃D-151" for two reasons. I could cobble it together from spares and there is a clear picture of "∃D-150" without a fuselage band or tailcap. After two months of daily searching I managed to find not one but two photos of the legend and this is my take on it, right or wrong. There is no fuselage band or coloured tailcap that I can make out. The coloured exhaust panels are actually discoloration from the exhausts. The spinner is NMF and the entire cowling is not,NMF, yellow or white. As you will see in the photos, there is just one replacement panel in NMF. What the others have missed is that there is a replacement NMF wing tip and panels on the right wing. That's my story.

On to the build. The kit is early and while the build was straight forward I did add P.E. seat harnesses. The radio on the deck behind the pilot is a sad representation. Its about 4mm x 4mm x 8mm.. I scratch built one, doubling the dimensions and adding some knobs and painted dark green. I painted the innards Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit green and buttoned it up. The cowl is slightly under-sized all around so I got the left half to sit flush and added some mud to the right. Mud was also needed at the rear of the wing/fuselage join and right wing/fuselage join. I sprayed the leading edge I.D. markings XF-3 Lemon Yellow with a touch of red and then masked it off to shoot the camo. I used XF-11, J.N. Green for the top and XF-12, J.N. grey for the bottom and then gloss coated. For the NMF I used Vallejo 77.716 Semi Matte Aluminum Metal Color. The decals are typical early Tamiya decals...bullet proof. I used all three makes of my decal solutions including Solvaset and they wouldn't budge. I ended up using a cloth soaked in very hot water and carefully pressed on the decal. It kinda sorta worked. I flat coated with Microscale Micro Flat which I really like. I highly recommend the kit but definitely get aftermarket decals

Reader reactions:
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10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

29 responses

  1. This is an amazing build, George! It is deeply researched and with excellent job done on the classic Tamiya kit.

  2. Nice job with the chipping, how did you do it?

    • Thanks George @georgedamian I used this on this occasion. It works best on flat paint...

      Other times I use a cut down #1 paint brush, remove most of the silver paint as if doing a dry brush and then lightly dab the surface

  3. Nice job, George. Like the authentic touches to the build.

  4. Cool. I like these mash-ups. Like the Macchi 202 with the mismatched left wing. Why did the Raiden have such large hinomarus? To tell them from Hellcats? Hmmm. Nice job.

    • Thanks Bill. I'm always on the lookout for something a wee bit different. I was really hoping to find the yellow cowling/panels but this will do. Never thought about or really noticed the larger Hinomarus but your theory sound plausible

  5. Nice work, George. Aftermarket decals for Raidens are thin on the ground these days.

  6. Great job. I really love this old kit. It was the first Tamiya kit that I ever built way back when. Even today it still holds up well.

  7. A real fine build George!

  8. Well done George, great finish and build quality! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great build on an old (and still good) Tamiya classic, George. Very nice take on the replacement cowl and wing tip. This post is a winner.

  10. Excellent Raiden, George @blackadder57
    Well done

  11. Very well done indeed, George. Excellent work!

  12. Great looking Raiden! Liked.

  13. Nice build George! Looks great!

  14. Very nice build - well done!

  15. G'day George (@blackadder57),

    I love your research.

    For me research is half the fun of build.

    I remember seeing the yellow scheme profiles you mention and thinking that they seem out of character for a Raiden. Your conclusions are much better and fit the evidence.

    Sometimes we see what we expect when we look at aircraft photos and it needs a closer and more critical look to see the truth - as you have done.

    You have done an excellent job on both the research and the kit.


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