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

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  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Here is my second major project of the Empire of Japan Group Build: Hasegawa’s N1K2-J Shiden Kai George in 1/32. It will be finished as the aircraft of Squadron Leader Lt. Naoshi Kanno, an ace of the most successful Shiden Kai squadron in Japan, 1945. The scheme will follow kit instructions but I intend to airbrush the Hinomaru markings myself. I also plan to do some chipping with an under coat of acrylic metalizer (also to be used for the underside). I have started with the cockpit and engine, both of which I have detailed.

    The pics show the cockpit detailing over time, with first pics showing things less detailled and partly test fitted. I pre-shaded the major parts with flat black before dusting on my own mix of Kawanishi cockpit green. I took care with the side walls to spray downward in order to preserve a shadow effect under the ribbing. The mix I used for the Kawanishi Green was 2/3 XF-49 Khaki and 1/3 XF-11 JN Green. I came to this formula after studying the debates about Shiden Kai cockpits and color chips on-line and comparing them with restored cockpits of Shiden Kais that did not use flash photography. The colour is very Japanese, in my view, with the predominance of Khaki but could almost pass as OD green without careful comparison. Some parts were sprayed with a couple of coats of Kawanishi Green to give some lighter tonal variation and depth in the cockpit.
    I did almost all the cockpit detail from scratch, without using photo-etch. The instrument panel is from the kit, with dials punched out from the decal sheet and each dial given a drop of Future. The throttle quadrants, trim wheel and all levers where built up from super thin sheet styrene, rather than metal. I find this technique much less messy than supergluing etch, since I can attach everything with minute amounts of Tamiya extra-thin cement – which leaves almost no residue or scars if it overflows slight on painted surfaces. The circular hand knobs for the levers are punched out from thin styrene. The wiring for the throttles, radios etc. is a combination of thin hobby wire, stretched sprue and fine solder. I painted most of the wiring, following museum examples but with different shades of green and earth to help it stand out more.
    I have used bits of decal, pencil and marker work and detail brush painting in red, IJN dark green, German Grey, Khaki, Flat Earth and thinned Rub n Buff to highlight the console and cockpit lever detail. Some CMK dark earth pigment was used to weather the cockpit floor. Wood elements like the trim wheel rim and knobs on levers were painted tan and then dilute clear orange. I used a gold sharpie to do the brass nozzles on the oxygen bottles and bits of real metal foil to do the clasps on the bottles.
    Of all the details, I am most proud of the tiny red t-handle controls on the consoles. Again, rather than using etch, which could only become goopy with paint and glue, I built them up from tiny pieces of stretched red sprue. The red sprue came from my Hasegawa Shimakaze destroyer kit which has red parts. For each one, I drilled a hole, placed the vertical “stalk” piece of sprue in the hole and then laid the horizontal “T” on top, attached with liquid glue. Even though I went a bit cross-eyed assembling these tiny pull handles in place with tweezers, the effect was really nice. They all look uniform, clean and to-scale (IMHO).
    I drilled out the lightening holes in the seat, rather than use an etch replacement. I have photographed the seat without the elaborate belts for now. These just arrived today in the mail through eBay. I decided to go for Eduard color etch for the belts because they IJN and IJA seatbelts are very elaborate in their two row grommets, stitching and coloring. I may try to do these from scratch on a future model, but not this time.
    That’s it for now. Sorry I have not been active on- the site for a while. I have been fairly busy building though, and otherwise coping with paperwork and part time employment to survive this coronavirus thing. I am enjoying your work in the Group Build, I will take some time to leave comments this evening.
    Next posting will be of the seatbelts installed and the gunsight built up. That should do for the cockpit. The nice thing about the Hasegawa kit is that I can work on the wings and fuselage now and insert the cockpit later from underneath. It is a good way to avoid getting dust and glue inside the cockpit from major parts assembly.
    Anyway, I hope this of some interest to you. I have certainly learned a few things so far with this kit. I find the work intense but really gratifying. The kit OOB is a great well detailed base to work on.

    14 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Here are a few more picks detailing the building stages of the engine. Description to follow.

    15 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Here is the engine for my Shiden Kai. It is not quite finished, but I have the major part of the ignition harness done. As many of you will know, Homare engines have the most bewildering wiring arrangement of any radial engines out there. Not only is there a lot of wiring, it appears to be unsually long and snaky and oddly spaced from harness ring to cylinder head. I did this engine with 36(!!) wires, half of which were originally made of stretched sprue and half in the recessed row from thin wire. I had to replace the mounting stubs for the ignition wire in the main ring with styrene rod because the kit originals were too thin and delicate to drill out. I made the ring for the recessed row from thick styrene and drilled out each wiring hole behind the stubs on the facing ring. In the end, about a quarter of the stretched sprue “wires” had to be replaced with wire because they broke when bent to fit in cylinder heads. Next time, I will use all wire or some fishing line, instead of stretched sprue.
    I went with a modified version of the paint call-outs from the engine. For all my radial engines, I like to do the cylinders in flat black first and then rub on the thinnest smudge of Rub n Buff silver to highlight the cooling fin detail. For this Homare, the central body (crankcase) was done in Tamiya XF-12 IJN Grey, instead of Mitsubishi cockpit green recommended in the instructions. The lighter IJN Grey looks more like museum examples of Shiden Kai and Zero engines, in my opinion.
    Some of the pics show the engine test fitted in the cowling. This is a good idea when adding wiring to make sure that the fit will be OK in final assembly. Looks satisfactory to me at this point and also reminds me of what will be most visible when the model is done.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 4 months ago:

    I have to say I am deeply impressd with your work, Colin @coling!
    The cockpit is a work of art, beautifully put together, painted and weathered. T-handles are outstanding. I also liked your vectoring airbrush to highlight the shadow effect on the ribs.
    Same for the engine: simply outstanding, with A LOT of quality work put into it.
    Thanks for the detailed presentation, allowing to understand your techniques and approach for my future builds. I may adopt (steal!!!) your ideas and techniques with great pleasure!
    All the best! You have a winner already!

  • Erik Gjørup said 4 months ago:

    Working in the larger scale makes room for more detail in the build. And how well this is displayed here! Stunning work – I will be tuned in here!

  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Thank you for your kind encouragement. Spiros. I am learning all the time as I build. That is one thing I love about the hobby, that you learn more deeply from both planning and experiment. The one thing I didn’t have as a kid was patience to overcome setbacks. Now part of the planning is being ready for contingencies like when many of my engine wires broke during assembly. All I did was take a break over night, watch a movie, and come back to it with more energy and a plan the next morning. Final success came much more readily than I expected. I am finding my first Group Build really helpful to maintaining focus because I can share the building process and think it through even more carefully. I am glad that sharing my techniques may be of some benefit to you. Please “steal” whatever you like. I know I learned a tremendous amount from build journals of other modelers at all kinds of skill levels. The one thing that I need figure out in this GB is how to line up the text description and photos step by step. It seems I have to “reply” to my own post numerous times to break things up. It’s a bit counter-intuitive but I think I can get the hang of it. Meanwhile, I have to work my way through the contributions of our many members and do some more “replying” to others. Such great work in this forum and lots of inspiration.

  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Thanks, Erik for your comments. Yes, 1/32nd almost requires more attention to detail since it so much easier to see with the naked eye. Cockpits in 1/32nd , in particular, can look quite empty when not busied up with details. I really like to explore the technical elements and ergonomics of the real thing (as with museum birds) in order to reproduce it as accurately as I can in scale. I find Japanese fighters have some really interesting layouts, compared to their American contemporaries. While it is a challenge, I find all the delicate detailing work very relaxing to do with the right tool kit and materials.

  • Louis Gardner said 4 months ago:

    Hello again Colin, @coling
    I thank you for starting another build for our ever growing collection of fantastic models. I am very impressed with you attention to details. Right now I have a 1/32 scale Hasegawa Ki-44 on the work bench, and I’m at the point where I have to decide on what to do about the pilot’s seat harness. I want to scratch build one, but like you mentioned they are rather complicated. I’m curious to see how you are planning on building yours.

    Your cockpit and engine look amazing and are miniature works of art. I’ll be watching for future updates.

    Thanks again !!!

  • Colin Gomez said 4 months ago:

    Thanks, Louis. I appreciate your welcoming comments. I am really enjoying this social modeling experience. I am still getting the details of how to do a cumulative group build commentary coherently by balancing text and image, but I am getting there. As my comments elsewhere show, I have been watching your Shoki build in this Forum. Great work, so far. Regarding your comment here, I think you could do the seat belts/harness from scratch. I collected images of IJN and IJA belts from the net to see how they were built up in commercial paper aftermarket sets. I think you could literally print up equivalent patterns (or even the same patterns!) on an inkjet printer and cut them out, Getting the symmetry of the double row of grommets would be easier that way then doing it with a marker or pencil. Layering would be the key. I think some sections could be done in masking tape. Varying the shade of the purplish colored belts for different sections would also give the final result more depth. All of this could look just as good or better than the Eduard version, as long as you have good buckles to thread the paper belts through. Since these are big wide buckles, I would use the biggest buckles from spares or aftermarket stock. World War One buckles are especially wide, if any are on hand (I have some, I think). Anyway, that would be my approach but I am obviously being lazy with my Shiden Kai!

  • Colin Gomez said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Here are some pics of further work on the cockpit. I added quite a lot of detail to the starboard side first, which I found too plain, considering how visible it is. New detail includes a scratch-built radio with dials built up from misc bits of photo-etch and decals and cockpit lighting from the kit detailed with wiring and red colored lenses (mirror material with a dab of MM Acryl Clear Red). I added more wiring and decals for dials, knobs and gauges on the starboard console, plus a control lever from fine styrene sheet. This is not fantasized detail but carefully copied from photos of museum Shiden Kai cockpits. I detailed the radio from other sources, since I couldn’t find a museum example that had a radio installed. More to come shortly on the rest of the cockpit.

    8 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Louis Gardner said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Colin, @coling
    This is a spectacular update !!! It’s almost as if you managed to shrink down a full sized version of a George to 1/32 scale. I am particularly impressed with your seat harness. I still have to try and make one for my Ki-44 Shoki.

    Absolutely stunning work on display here………….. thanks for the updates. I am definitely going to be using this build journal as a reference when I eventually get around to building my kit up. Thank you for sharing all the little details. This is what makes or breaks a build, especially in this scale. Well done my friend. I’m anxiously awaiting your next installment. This is the stuff of legends.

  • Colin Gomez said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks for your encouragement, Louis! Your support makes this very delicate work all the more worthwhile.

    Here is the rest of the update with more photos of added detail and explanations of how it was done.

    On the port side, I detailed the throttle quadrant with more metallic plating alongside the control levers (cut from the excess of a Squadron metallic data plate sheet for a 32nd P-51). I copied the knob detail more accurately on the levers with one double knob. I then added the kit supplied cabin lighting fixture to the throttle quadrant detailed with a red “lens” and wiring. The port sidewall detailed needed some re-sculpting for better accuracy which also helped it not to collide with added detail on the consoles. More decals were used for the port console and a more wiring and control levers added. For the cockpit floor, I added detail to the rudder pedal assembly with a center post and interestingly curved hydraulic lines (?) from carefully bent stretched sprue. I was happy with the result, accuracy-wise.

    13 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Colin Gomez said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Next, I worked on the seat belts. Museum Shiden Kais seem to have either no seatbelt s or bits and pieces. I used a variety of internet resources, including drawings for N1K2 cockpits and came to the conclusion that I needed to scratchbuild a shoulder harness with a single row of grommets. Meanwhile, for the lap-belts I used Eduard IJN colored photo-etch but I assembled them differently from instructions to get a more accurate layered look. The shoulder harness was constructed with grommets from a 1/48 DH Mosquito harness and the broader belt from masking tape with a photo etch scrap for a buckle and end piece. The circular shape connector for the harness is punched out from styrene. I weathered the rather glossy photo etch belts and also the seat itself with weathering powder dust and added chips with a silver pencil.
    I should add that the lap belts have this odd system of being mounted on brackets inside the seat pan. Usually we see belts fed in around the outside of the seat. The mounting system is obvious from photos of museum birds and is also shown on the Eduard Shiden Kai cockpit instructions (which I consulted on-line even if I didn’t have or use their set.). I draped the extra right side lap belt, which connects to the shoulder harness over the seat edge to have it as if doubled over. This satisfied my aesthetic needs but was also authentic enough.

    8 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Colin Gomez said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Finally, I worked on the gunsight, adding a “lens” for the reflector from punched out scraps of “mirror” from my Centauro armored car. I connected the gunsight to the instrument panel with stretched sprue wiring and put decal data plates on both sides, following reference photos.
    The last photos show how the completed cockpit looks inside the buttoned up fuselage. In fact, I just test fitted it because it can slide in from underneath after the fuselage halves are glued together. I really like this bit of Hasegawa engineering because I can sand and finish the fuselage with the cockpit removes and so avoid getting dust in it.

    8 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 months, 3 weeks ago:

    This is a spectacular job, Colin! I loved all this meticulous work you put in that cockpit. It really shows.
    Ajoy for us to look at.
    All the best!

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