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.