Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 of LCOL Anton Yakimenko in 1/72

Anton Yakimenko was credited with 3 personal and 4 shared victories against the Japanese in 1939 in Khalkin Gol.  His total eventually reached 15 victories and he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.  The model represents his personal aircraft as commander of the 150 GIAR in Slovakia at the end of the war.

DSC_8489DSC_8487DSC_8486DSC_8416DSC_8415

DSC_8414

Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

DSC_8368
Small gaps can be filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and the excess wiped away with a moist Q-Tip. This eliminates the need for sanding in most cases. I have replaced the cowl guns with Albion tubing.

DSC_8369
I filled and sanded the underside before installing the radiator. It is positioned over the boat tail where the wing and fuselage meet which would make the seams there impossible to address later.

DSC_8385
I primed the model with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and then painted the red nose over a basecoat of white. No matter which brand of paint I use, I find the red pigment persists in the brushes afterwards unless I’m very diligent with my cleaning efforts.

DSC_8390
The model is painted and glossed in preparation for decals, showing the colors used.

DSC_8394
The AML decals performed flawlessly using Micro Set and Micro Sol. On some of my older builds I have noticed some silvering emerging on the smaller decals over time, so the next morning I went over all the decals again with Solvaset which is a little “hotter”.

DSC_8412
This is the underside of the finished model. I think enclosing the wheelwells makes a big difference in the final appearance. The pitot tube is more Albion tube, the wingtip lights are painted on.

DSC_8413
I added wheel down indicators to the wings, made from 0.0125” wire. The radio antenna is 0.004” Nitenol. Overall, the old Hasegawa kit is a model which goes together quickly but can use a few improvements.

Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

DSC_8288
Continuing on with my Yak effort, this is the Hasegawa Yak-3 first issued in 1991. Hard to believe this is a thirty-year-old kit but there you have it. I picked this one up at a model show for $5, I find it difficult to leave a bargain on the table and there the trouble usually starts!

 

DSC_8289
There are not a lot of parts on this one. Sprue layout is what one would expect.

 

SCN_0039
Markings will be from the AML sheet Soviet Aces in Yakovlev Yak-3s Part II, which provides two options.

 

DSC_8326
Like most Hasegawa kits the cockpit is pretty basic. The seat and most of the interior is built up on top of the center wing section, I like this method as it ensures proper alignment and side-steps the problem of the cockpit floor spreading the fuselage. I added a few bits to spruce things up a little but didn’t go all out on this one.

 

DSC_8327
The kit wheelwells are completely open and you can see into the wing. I added side walls from plastic sheet and detailed the interiors. This is a quick fix which adds a lot to the finished model.

 

DSC_8336
The cockpit is painted and ready to be closed up. Belts are masking tape and I used a decal for the instrument panel. Nothing fancy.

 

DSC_8342
The fit is good from the top. Hasegawa kits generally are lacking in the cockpits and wheelwells but they usually fit well.

 

DSC_8343
This one will need some filling along the fuselage joints on the underside.  There is a gap along the ailerons and flaps where the wing pieces meet.  These will be filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.

Hasegawa Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 of Oberfeldwebel Willi Maximowitz in 1/72 Scale

Willi Maximowitz had one American B-24 Liberator to his credit when he volunteered to join Sturmstaffel 1.  This unit flew up-armored Fw 190’s and was tasked with flying en masse through American heavy bomber formations, closing to point-blank range before destroying their targets.  Pilots were urged to ram their targets if they were not destroyed by gunfire.  Using these tactics, he was credited with ramming a B-17 on 23MAR44, and shot down another over Helmstedt on 29APR44, but was himself wounded by the bomber’s defensive fire and had to bail out.  During his convalescence Sturmstaffel 1 became 11./JG 3 and was operating against the Allied forces pouring into France when Maximowitz rejoined the unit.  His score continued to mount, eventually reaching 15, all heavy bombers.  In February IV./JG 3 shifted to oppose the Soviets on the Eastern Front, where he added 12 additional victories to his score.  Willi Maximowitz failed to return from a mission on 20APR45, just a few weeks before the end of the war.

This model depicts Willi Maximowitz’ Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 as it appeared while with 11.(Sturm)/JG 3 at Dreux, France, June 1944.

DSC_8001DSC_8000DSC_7999DSC_8002DSC_8027DSC_8028DSC_8029DSC_8030

Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero of Takeo Okumura in 1/72 Scale

The fifth leading Imperial Japanese Navy ace was Takeo Okumura with 54 victories.  The model represents WI-108, an A6M3 Type 22 assigned to the 201 Kokutai at Buin in September 1943.  The only profile I was able to locate of this aircraft was in Osprey Aces 22, IJN Aces 1937-45, which was depicted in a badly chipped paint job.  Most photographs of operational Zeros show little or no chipping, so mine is rendered similarly. Okumura was credited with four Chinese aircraft prior to the start of the Pacific War.  He was assigned to the aircraft carrier Ryujo during the Guadalcanal Campaign and was transferred to the Tainan Air Group at Rabaul.  When operating from Buin in September 1943, he was credited with nine victories and one shared over five sorties, a record for the Pacific War.  He was lost at the end of the month attacking a convoy off Cape Cretin, New Guinea.

DSC_7464

DSC_7463

DSC_7462

DSC_7461

DSC_7721

DSC_7722

DSC_7723

DSC_7724

Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero of Shoichi Sugita in 1/72 Scale

Shoichi Sugita was credited with his first arial victorie on 01DEC42, a B-17 Flying Fortress.  He formed part of the escort for the transport carrying ADM Isoroku Yamamoto on the day he was shot down.  T2 190 was an A6M3 Type 32 assigned to the 204 Kokutai at Rabaul in May, 1943, and wears a field applied mottled camouflage.  In August of 1943 he was himself shot down but escaped by parachute, although badly burned.

Chief Petty Officer Shoichi Sugita flew the Kawanishi N1K2 Shiden-Kai with the 343rd Kokuti operating from Matsuama, Japan in March 1945.  CPO Sugita was credited with approximately seventy victories, including seven in the Shiden-Kai.  He was killed on 15APR45, shot down while attempting to take off by US Navy F6F Hellcats.  His Shiden-Kai is modeled here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/hasegawa-kawanishi-n1k2-shiden-kai-%e7%b4%ab%e9%9b%bb-violet-lightning-george-in-1-72-scale/

DSC_7458

DSC_7457

DSC_7459

DSC_7460

DSC_7725

DSC_7726

DSC_7727

DSC_7728

Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero of Hiroyoshi Nishizawa in 1/72 Scale

The highest-scoring Japanese naval aviator was Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, credited with 87 victories.  A Japanese photographer shot several in flight photographs of UI-105, which was flown by Nishizawa while assigned to the 251 Kokutai operating out of Rabaul in May of 1943.  On 25OCT44 he led the escort group during the first Kamikaze mission in the Philippines, claiming two American aircraft.  The following day he was flying as a passenger on a transport plane when it was attacked and shot down by two US Navy F6F Hellcats.  Nishizawa died in the crash.

DSC_7466

DSC_7468

DSC_7467

DSC_7465

DSC_7737

DSC_7738

DSC_7739

DSC_7740

Nishizawa_001

A6M Zero Aces Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

ZeroAces_020
A metal rod in the nose makes a good place to handle the model while painting and a convenient way to keep it off the bench while drying. The camo on all these Zeros utilize the same color palette which makes painting more efficient.

ZeroAces_021
For some reason I always feel “almost done” after the decals are on, but that’s not really the case, is it? Maybe it’s because you can finally start to see something which resembles the finished product developing from the mass of parts. The major sub-assemblies are all complete but there are several smaller parts still on the sprues.

ZeroAces_022
Decaling is completed here. Quite a few decals, actually. The Tamiya and Fine Molds kits both included extensive stenciling, the FM sheet especially. I purchased a few of the Hasegawa kits at shows, one of the decal sheets in those was ruined, a few more were the older type with the light reds and ivory whites. I used TechMod sheet 72116 for the Hinomaru and Aviaeology sheets for the tail codes to provide the needed replacements. Additional codes were made from an HO scale train sheet from the LHS.

ZeroAces_023
Here’s the underside of one of the Hasegawa Type 22s, showing the incorporation of the replacement wheelwells. Brake lines are 32-gauge beading wire, tow hooks are HO scale lifting pad eyes. The brake lines run down between the main gear leg and the covers, between the attachment points. The Tamiya covers are molded with a space between the points, the other covers were slotted with a razor saw. The Tamiya kits also came with parts for the U-shaped retraction arms for the inner doors, arms for the other kits were fabricated from wire.

ZeroAces_024
I used a “sludge wash” to bring out the panel lines, which is just thinned acrylic paint mixed with a small amount of dish soap. I generally like just enough contrast to get the panel lines to show up. A medium grey was used on the underside, but black was used on the uppers because the green is so dark.

ZeroAces_025b
A group shot of all the kits together.

ZeroAces_026

SUMMARY:

Hasegawa – While they do not have the detail nor refined engineering of the other two manufacturers, these are still good, solid kits.  The main strength of the Hasegawa line is the variety of types offered – from the A6M1 to the A6M8, and everything in between.  Weaknesses are the very basic cockpits and shallow wheelwells.  Overall the shape looks good.  The vertical fin is a little too broad in chord, but that is easily fixed.  The cowling on their A6M2 is a bit small, which is noticeable when compared directly to the other manufacturers (see photo above, Hasegawa kit on the left).  For many of the versions, a Hasegawa kit is still the best place to start.

Fine Molds – These are great kits, some of the best offered in our scale.  Fine Molds kit the A6M2, A6M3 Type 32, and A6M5.  They offer great detail and outstanding engineering.  Their A6M2 kit has several options including open cowl claps, lowered landing flaps, open canopy, and wing tips which can be posed folded.  The main drawbacks are price and their unique distribution method as bundles with two issues of Model Graphics magazine.

Tamiya – The Tamiya kits are every bit as nice as the Fine Molds kits, but in different ways.  Asking which is best is like trying to figure out which Victoria’s Secret supermodel is the prettiest.  The details are superb and the engineering allows the kits to just fall together.  If I were looking to purchase new Zero kits today, the Tamiya A6M2 or A6M5s would be my first choices.

Aftermarket – I used three aftermarket parts on these builds.  The Hasegawa kits all got True Details resin wheels, the Tamiya and Fine Molds wheels looked fine to me.  All the kits received Eduard photoetch seatbelts, from set 73001.  Eduard provides different style belts for the Mitsubishi and Nakajima-built aircraft – something I would not have caught otherwise.  The center section of the canopies are all Squadron vacuforms, the other sections are kit parts.  The front section of the Squadron canopies will not fit any of these three kits, even though they are intended to replace the Hasegawa parts.  I also used the Eduard canopy mask set CX006, which saved a lot of time.  Aviaeology supplied tailcode numerals, and Techmod supplied Hinomarus where needed.

A6M Zero Aces Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

ZeroAces_013
These are the A6M2 kit engines from the three manufacturers – Hasegawa (upper left), Fine Molds (upper right), and Tamiya (lower). Push rods from 0.010″ round stock were added to the Hasegawa engines. The cases were painted RLM 65 blue-grey, the ignition ring is light gull grey. Ignition wires are roughed in with very fine Copper wire. The Hasegawa engine is definitely smaller when seen with the others, but looks the part inside it’s cowling.

ZeroAces_014
The Fine Molds kit comes with separate flaps, a nice option. I decided to drop the flaps on one of the Hasegawa A6M3s (top) and the Tamiya A6M5 (bottom) as well. The Tamiya A6M2 is engineered with the entire flap molded into the upper wing piece, while their A6M5 flap is split into halves with the upper & lower wing parts, so I went with the easier job of the two.

ZeroAces_015
The underside of the wings of the Hasegawa kits were cut out for the resin castings. A bit of a gap on this one, but nothing which can’t be filled and the wheelwells are much deeper now. I like the deep wells a lot better. In this picture you can also see the boattail where the wing underside joins the fuselage. The Hasegawa kits all had small gaps at this joint, and even the Fine Molds & Tamiya kits needed some smoothing there.

ZeroAces_016
A “conversion” from a Type 22 to a Type 32 – cut off the wingtips and reshape the ends to represent the aerodynamic fairing. I had managed to acquire three Type 22 kits but no 32s, easy enough to fix.

ZeroAces_017
Construction is almost complete, just have to add the canopies and mask. Now is a good time to mention some of the considerations involved in doing a batch build. The main advantages lie in the efficiencies gained in building kits of same construction and / or color pallet, but that can also lead to confusion in the detail differences between the individual models if you’re not careful. The key is establishing a system to account for the differences between the models. Organization is crucial, just come up with a system which makes sense to you, and stick to it. In this case, I have used the kit boxes as trays, and arranged the model variants in chronological order, from left to right. A post-it note also helps to remind me of the final markings for each kit. This is important, as details such as spinner colors and other painted markings often vary between aircraft. The airframes on the stand are arranged in the same order.

ZeroAces_018
Sub-assemblies and other parts prepared for painting are kept in front of their respective boxes. Where there are important variations in the camouflage or markings, good notes or pictures are very useful. Notice that the post-it for Tiger 110 says “Nakajima” – many of the colors on Nakajima-made Zero components are different than those manufactured by Mitsubishi.

ZeroAces_019
The small cards contain parts specific to each model, and are labeled with the pilot’s names like the post-its. They will be sprayed with Alclad lacquers and contain the parts which will be black, silver, or Aotake. The engines are in order on their card, left to right matching the sequence of the boxes. The drop tanks and landing gear covers all get the same color, four are identical parts from Hasegawa kits, the ones on the right of each group are Tamiya.