Tamiya 1:48 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden ("Lightning Bolt")
This is my take on a legendary J2M Raiden. 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 Tamiya 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