Fine Molds 1:72 Kyushu Q1W1 ”Lorna”

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  • Last reply 2 hours, 3 minutes ago
  • 1/72, Fine Molds, Kyushu, Lorna, Q1W1
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  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    I’m not quite ready to start on a model for the group, but I wanted to settle on what I planned to build so I could order any paint or masks that might be needed. I have a few Japanese WW2 aircraft in the stash, but I finally decided to build something a little off the beaten track: the Fine Molds 1:72 Kyushu Q1W1 Lorna Anti-Submarine aircraft.

    I became aware of this aircraft from a book I got a year ago called “Japanese Anti-Submarine Aircraft in the Pacific War”. This book has extensive coverage of the many Japanese anti-submarine aircraft, including the Lorna. I found this kit shortly after I got the book and decided to build it some day. I will pass on some pictures of the kit parts and decals in my next post. I was hesitant to build this plane, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Ju-88, unless I could get some pre-made canopy masks for the 2000 panes of glass in the canopy. (Just kidding.) Luckily Hannant’s in England had a canopy mask for this model and it was ordered yesterday. As you might guess, there are no aftermarket decals, photoetch, or resin for this obscure plane. I also ordered some AK Real Colors for the exterior, as well as the correct cockpit color. When all of this stuff comes in I will be good to go.

    Aircraft Background:
    The Japanese didn’t have dedicated anti-submarine aircraft at the start of the war. The function was mainly served by carrier aircraft such as the Kate and the Val. In addition, the Japanese didn’t see American subs as a real threat early in the war because the early torpedoes had an alarmingly high failure rate. In late 1942, the Japanese Navy issued a requirement for a dedicated anti-submarine aircraft that would have either radar or magnetic sensing of the subs, as well as the capability to drop bombs using dive-bombing techniques. The plane needed a high loiter time, as well as great visibility, and was to be land-based from Japanese-occupied territories. It was to be lightly armed because it was felt that the chance of encountering American fighters during its long over-water patrols was very small.

    Very early in the process, the designers realized they had little experience designing an anti-submarine aircraft that would meet these specifications. They decided to base the air frame on a Ju-88 that had previously been purchased from Germany. This new aircraft was very similar to a Ju-88, but it had lower powered engines which would give it a 10+ hour flight time. The crew of three would all be housed in the forward cabin. It would be equipped with only one 7.7 mm aft-facing machine gun. The plane would have either an aerial radar for surface targets or a magnetic sensor. Apparently the radar was only able to pick up targets on the surface of the sea out to 500 meters, so attack time was measured in seconds. The Lorna wasn’t available until late in 1944, which really limited its effectiveness in blunting the submarine assault on the Japanese homeland. By the end of the war, the Lorna had only be able to sink one or two submarines.

    I was surprised at how small this twin engine plane is in 1:72. It appears to be very detailed with a good looking cockpit. The model comes with the option to add the radar (carried in rails on both sides of the rear fuselage, and on the right wing. It also has decals for the distinctive markings associated with the radar-equipped Lorna. I plan to start this model when all of the incidentals finally arrive in the mail. Should be fun. :o)

    6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Cheers George! That’s a nice selection. Didn’t know this aircraft existed. It will very easily stand out when finished.
    All the best, my friend!

  • George R Blair Jr said 3 weeks, 1 day ago:

    Alright, I think I am finally ready to build the Lorna. First, a little more background on the plane:
    the Kyushu Q1W1 Tokai (Eastern Sea) was the first dedicated anti-submarine aircraft in the IJN. The Allied reporting code name was Lorna. The IJN saved time on this aircraft by copying a Ju-88 bomber that it had previously purchased from Germany. They decided to put two low-power engines on the aircraft in order to increase its range and endurance. Later in the war, as strategic materials became more scarce, the IJN produced an all-wood Lorna. By the end of the war, the Lorna was used as a Kamikaze.

    Just for grins I compared the Lorna with the Ju-88. The Lorna had two 610 hp engines, while the Ju-88 had two engines rated at 1340 hp each. I thought the low-power engines would really enhance the range and endurance of the Lorna, but it didn’t. The max speed of the Lorna was just 200 mph, while the Ju-88A maxed out at 290 mph. The max range for the Lorna was 725 nautical miles, while the range of the Ju-88 was almost 1000 nm. The max ceiling of the Lorna also suffered, with a ceiling of just 14,730 ft compared to 26,900 ft of the Ju-88. The Lorna was armed with one 7.7 mm aft-firing machine gun, while the Ju-88 was armed with 5 machine guns. I think it is really interesting that the modifications done to the Lorna seemed to reduce the performance of the aircraft (compared to the Ju-88A), rather than improve it.

    First Look:
    I have built other kits from Fine Molds and they all seemed to be well-detailed and straight-forward to assemble. This one looks good also, but perhaps not as well-detailed as the others I have built. Instructions are clear and done using symbols. The instructions would have been a little more useful if I read Japanese, but the only other language I speak fluently is profanity.

    There are several versions you can make from this kit, so you really need to pay attention to the instructions to be sure that you are using the correct parts for your version.

    Because of the different version, there are several places where you need to open holes in the fuselage or wings. Some of these holes are partially cut into the back of the part, while the locations for other holes need to be located by measuring in millimeters and cutting the hole in the part. The chance of messing this up seems fairly high, at least on my part, so I would have appreciated some flashed-over locating holes to guide my drill bit.

    There are two different canopies included, one is for a closed canopy, and one has the top hatch open to make the viewing a little easier.

    There are some “Detail-up” parts available for this kit. The first are the seat belts, which are not normally in most kits unless they are molded on the seats.

    The second item not included with the kit is the 7.7 mm machine gun. You will need to source this missing piece, if you wish to include it. I was a little disappointed that the machine gun was not included in the kit.

    If you want to get a bunch of aftermarket stuff for this kit, you will be disappointed. I did manage to find a set of Eduard masks for the canopy, but that was about it.

    I also bought the Fine Molds IJN seat belts which are the “detail-up” for this plane.

    Since this plane is a copy of the Ju-88, I took a chance and got some Eduard Ju-88 photo-etch for the cockpit. It looks like most of the etch will fit fine.

    Well, tomorrow it is time to dive into the flight deck (big surprise). Everyone stay safe!

    5 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • John Healy said 3 weeks, 1 day ago:

    Another Fine Molds kit. I’ve been very pleased with the Babs that I’m building. This looks like an excellent model too. Nice pick, George.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 weeks, 1 day ago:

    Looks that those lower output engines had to struggle to keep the Lorna airborne. I sense it would have been flown at full power most of the time, so….bye bye fuel consumption.
    This is going to be an amazing build, George. I’m waiting impatiently to see it coming along!

  • Erik Gjørup said 3 weeks ago:

    This is terrible! – the lots of great kits that is. One more great addition to the EoJ GB @gblair. I simply had to contact the Polish importer to ask for some information on their stock of FineMolds. I need a bigger room for the stash. – Oh yes, by the way, great choice here – I shall be following along George. Thank you for sharing.

  • George R Blair Jr said 2 weeks, 4 days ago:

    Update for May 16:
    In the midst of everything else going on in the world, I got started on the Lorna. It probably isn’t a shock that work started with the flight deck. My resource on Japanese Anti-submarine Aircraft had some great interior views of the Lorna, both photos and diagrams. While the model’s cockpit is fairly detailed, I wanted to upgrade the detail a little.

    I planned to use some of the photo-etch pieces from the Eduard set I got for a Ju-88. Several of the cockpit pieces would work just fine, including the instrument panel and several of the radio panels. The Lorna also had a removable bomb-aiming periscope and its folding support system, which I decided to add. The model didn’t include the rear-firing machine gun, which is a “detail-up” not included with the kit, so I raided my spares to come up with something close. The interior diagrams show a metal rack that surrounds the radio and radar stacks, but I took a vote and decided not to add these.

    The instructions call for the cockpit to be painted in Mitsubishi Interior color, which AK Real Colors has in their range. I love this paint, which seems to be very similar to Tamiya paints. The seat cushions are supposed to be a navy blue color, which is a great contrast to the cockpit color. I used a variety of washes and weathering products on the interior. The seat belts come mostly from the Ju-88 photo-etch, but one seat was done with an etch set I had in my spares. I think I am just about done with the fiddly bits and it is time to close things up. Most of the parts for this kit seem to be allocated to the flight deck, so the rest of the kit should move quickly. I don’t normally do a lot of weathering on my models, but I want to try some on this one. So far this has been one of the best engineered kits I have seen, so I am looking forward to the rest of the build.

    9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 weeks, 4 days ago:

    The cockpit looks stunning, George!
    I love your super detailed presentation, too.
    All the best!

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 weeks, 3 days ago:

    Great updates to the finemolds cockpit! Really detailed for the scale!

  • George R Blair Jr said 2 weeks, 2 days ago:

    Thanks, guys.

    I got some more work done today on the engines, wings, and fuselage. After completing this part of the build, there aren’t many parts left in the box. Most of the kit’s parts are located in the flight deck. It’s amazing how few parts this kit really has.

    Today started with sealing the flight deck between the two fuselage halves. I spent quite a bit of time trying to make sure the two halves went together without creating a step that I would need to deal with later. When I pulled the tape off that held the fuselage together while it was drying, I discovered that I managed to put a small step between the left and right parts of the fuselage along the entire length of the seam, both on the top and bottom of the fuselage. I secretly suspect that I would have had better luck if I had just slapped the two sides together and let them dry. The upper and lower wings fit together perfectly and then attached to the fuselage with just a wisp of putty, mainly on the lower side of the join. The rudder and the horizontal stabilizers are separate, so they will go on the fuselage tomorrow.

    I am fairly pleased with how the flight deck looks inside the fuselage. I added the stowable bombing sight to the starboard side of the flight deck, as well as a rear-firing machine gun in the stowed position that I created from a cut-down 1/35 German machine gun.

    I like to look into the flight deck by sighting through the nose down the length of the plane. We’ll see if it looks that cool after I put the glass on the nose. The back of the instrument panel is a lot more visible through the nose than I thought it would be. I’m not sure I would have attempted to put some wires coming out of the back of the panel in this scale, but I should have anticipated how visible the back of the panel would be. I’m thinking it will be relatively hidden unless someone is really looking for it. I should have taken my cue from Fine Molds, since they detailed the back of the panel with some bumps to suggest the back of the instruments.

    I took a few minutes to look at the Eduard masks for the Lorna. I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have built this kit it I couldn’t find masks for this complex canopy.

    I also spent some time looking at the photos that I have of the Lorna. As you might expect, most of the planes have a very worn paint job. Several of the photos showed some significant chipping along the wing root where the crew walks to get to the flight deck, but the metal underneath looked fairly dark. I suppose it could be the aluminum was darkened by the salt environment after the paint departed the plane. I also noticed that the paint seemed to wear over the panel lines, leaving strips of much lighter paint. I want to try to replicate the worn paint scheme and chipping. I have never attempted this level of wear and tear, so hopefully it will all work out.

    Tomorrow will see the attachment of the tail surfaces and hopefully the canopy and its masks. Thanks for stopping in. Everyone stay safe.

    2 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 weeks, 1 day ago:

    That’s some serious progress, George! Cockpit looks great installed. I get your point about the Eduard masks: lifesavers!

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 weeks, 1 day ago:

    I like the fact that you plan for putty practise just to stay sharp! Oh well, can’t win them all George, but anyway, the progress here is very good. Looking forward to the easy masking now – right?

  • John Healy said 2 weeks, 1 day ago:

    Nice work, George. That really is a Ju-88 copy.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 weeks, 1 day ago:

    I have not been online too much lately, and somehow I have missed this build journal. Thanks George for starting this one !!! I have recently learned so much about Japanese aviation, and our EoJ group has just started !!!

    I personally never heard of this type of plane before, so you really picked one that is hardly seen for sure.

    Thanks !!

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 2 weeks, 1 day ago:

    Wow! George, just plumb missed the start on this project. The EOJ GB is really bringing the rare stuff, Totally forgot this plane existed. This is one neat little project. What is the Interior Green you used from AK? Will follow this as you are progressing rapidly, Cool plane

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