Aichi B7A Ryusei 流星 “Grace” Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Ryusei_01
This is the old Fujimi B7A1 kit from 1984, several boxings have been released but the same tool was used for each.  Some boxings contained a small additional sprue with a torpedo and defensive gun for the rear position.  This one is meant to be in the overall orange-yellow scheme of the second (of nine) prototype aircraft and is molded in orange.  I picked it up at a model show a while ago, it was complete but had been started.  The wings and cockpit components had been glued together but I was able to separate them before beginning construction.
Ryusei_02
The cockpit is very basic and quite crude.  Even though I intend to keep the canopy closed the transparency is large and features flat panels so much of the interior will be visible on the finished model.  I decided to install the basic equipment shapes shown in the excellent interior diagrams in Mikesh’s Monogram Guide.  This really doesn’t take that long once you get going.
Ryusei_03
One thing that was a bit tricky was the decking under the rear gun position.  It finally struck me that the shape of one of my drafting pencils was pretty close but with the curve reversed.  I taped the pencil to the bench and plunge molded the shape into some scrap plastic.  This was cut out and installed into the back part of the cockpit.
Ryusei_04
Here is the cockpit fit into the fuselage and base coated with black.  I make sure coverage is complete with this layer to represent shadows, and then spray thin layers of progressively lighter greens to pick up highlights.  The end result creates the visual effect of accentuating light and contrast, giving the cockpit depth.
Ryusei_05
Here is the interior with the paint on.  The instrument panel and console faces are printed on photographic paper, as are the seat belts.  The belts are more three dimensional than PE, and easier to bend and pose for a “casual” effect.
Ryusei_06
The Homare 12 engine is a resin replacement from Engines and Things, I added the ignition wires.  It fits, and is a big improvement over the kit part.
Ryusei_07
The kit’s wheelwells were way too shallow for my tastes, so I pried the wing halves apart and ground out the shallow “roofs”.  I leave the landing gear leg attachment points in place to make life easier on future me, you can see the difference in depth by what remains.  The sidewalls are built back up using 0.005” Evergreen card.  The excess sticking out of the wing can be easily removed with the trusty Xacto knife and a sanding block. 
Ryusei_08
The wheelwells were then detailed with Evergreen strip.  The narrow sections of the wells had three curved webbing structures, these were made with a Waldron punch set.  At the trailing edge of the wings you can see I’ve begun filling the gaps in the flaps.  Fujimi has a propensity for placing the seam lines right through the middle of the aileron fabric, which they have done on this kit and several others.  The seams can be filled if care is used, but this is an avoidable problem.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/aichi-b7a-ryusei-%e6%b5%81%e6%98%9f-grace-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

12 thoughts on “Aichi B7A Ryusei 流星 “Grace” Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

      1. I was wondering about that, as I have just got back into scale modeling and most of the time at 1/72, with a pilot, you can’t see too much of the details. Once I get my skill set back to where I want it to be, I may move up in scale for some of my favorite warbird, and build up the cockpits, sans pilot, and then the detail will matter.
        Love the dedication and really appreciate the skill needed to pull off some the incredible modifications you post. Keep up the inspirational work!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Eric! In the “good old days” the pilot WAS the interior detail! Some of the newer kits (like Tamiya’s) have nice interiors right out of the box so those would be a good kits to practice on. I look forward to seeing your work!

        Like

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