I don’t like sanding, so I’ll skip showing that part of the work in progress. Suffice it to say there was sanding and it was not exciting. As expected, the landing gear of the ICM kits was a disappointment. Fit was bad and required filling, three of the legs broke off while smoothing out the seams. All of this is an easily avoidable self-inflicted wound on ICM’s part. Mania’s gear is much more solid and looks better. True, the one-piece moldings had sink holes on one side, but those were easily filled before the gear was attached. The picture shows one of the ICM kits under a coat of Mr. Surfacer primer, ready for paint.
This kit will represent an 11th Sentai machine which had red trim at the nose. I decided to also paint the Hinomaru while I was at it, this results in a smooth finish and ensures the tone of the reds match. I use kabuki tape masks from Maketar and have always been pleased with their performance in the past.
During my last build of the MiG-15s I experienced multiple problems with the Testors Model Master paints I was using. Some jars had congealed into a rubber-like substance, some jars had glued themselves shut (resisting even channel locks), others exhibited a variety of spraying problems through the airbrush. I have experienced all these failure modalities with TMM paints in the past, but had finally had enough. At the start of this WiP I ordered a dozen jars of Mr. Color lacquer paints from Sprue Brothers to give them a try. So far, I have been very impressed. The Mr. Color paints do not separate like the TMM, they thin with regular lacquer thinner, and have demonstrated no problems going through the airbrush. They dry quickly, and lay very flat and smooth. I will not completely exhaust my supply of Testors paints any time soon, but I am now planning on buying Mr. Color when new paints are needed.
Here is the 11 Sentai machine with the masks removed. No bleed under any of the tape so she’s ready to begin the decaling process. The other two kits have additional camouflage colors to apply so they will be ready soon.
Part III here:
This is a short work in progress build of the Nakajima Ki-27 “Nate”. I’ll be building two of the relatively new ICM kits alongside the venerable Mania Ki-27. The Mania kit was advanced for its time, being released in 1970 (can you believe it?). It is best known to modelers from a series of re-boxings under the Hasegawa label. The ICM kit is a much more recent release, and benefits from the many mold-making advances of the intervening decades. Interestingly, both companies chose the same aircraft for their box art, depicting the mount of Kenji Shimada, commander of the 1st Chutai of the 11th Sentai, from 1939.
First of the two ICM sprues. There is ample detail in the cockpit and for the engine, although much of the engine detail will be hidden within the fuselage.
The second ICM sprue contains the wings, separate ailerons, and a choice of landing gear configurations. Surface detail is recessed and quite petite. Rivet lines are included but are so faint that they may disappear under paint. Note the holes on the upper wing pieces, more on these later.
Parts for the Mania kit. Parts breakdown is much more simplified compared to the ICM offering. Surfaces feature both raised and recessed detail. There is even the start of riveting on the underside of the wing, like the designers started the process but then reconsidered. There is the option to represent the different styles of landing gear with this kit as well.
Here is a comparison shot of the fuselage halves, Mania on top, ICM on the bottom. Overall length compares well, the biggest difference is the cockpit opening of the Mania kit is located further back. The ICM fuselage matches the drawings in the Famous Aircraft of the World volume. Comparing wingspan, I measured the Mania kit at 153 mm and the ICM at 156, compared to a specified span of 157 mm in scale.
The Mania cockpit is a bit Spartan so I fabricated a replacement from plastic stock. I also removed the locating ridges from within the fuselage halves so the new cockpit could sit a little lower.
Here are the engines under a coat of Alclad Aluminum and a wash of acrylic black. The oil coolers were picked out with brass. I added push rods to the ICM engines but left off the exhaust manifolds. ICM provides all the supporting and internal components all the way back to the firewall, but I left them all out of these builds because experience with their I-16 kits indicated that they would be hidden on the finished model and had a good chance of interfering with fit.
The ICM cockpit is built up on the center wing section and slides into the completed fuselage. I useed Eduard PE belts which add a nice touch. Interior color is a dark blue-gray, with the seat, stick, and rudder pedals picked out in aluminum.
The Mania kit assembles quickly with no surprises. Fit is good, with some work being needed at the wing to fuselage joints on the underside.
The ICM kit also needed some fitting work on the underside wing boattail joints. It is let down by a few overly-complex engineering decisions. The horizontal tail is one piece which simplifies alignment, but it is designed to be covered by a tail piece which traps the tail skid in a slot. This doesn’t fit well and leaves a seam, I ended up cutting off the tail skid to add at the end of the build.
The landing gear design is also unusual. The bent shaft is molded onto the lower half of the leg structure, the shaft is meant to be inserted into the upper strut molded into the wing and emerge through the upper surface of the wing. To the bottom of this piece the wheel and spats are attached. None of this fits, and sink holes in the struts only add insult. I prefer the Mania design which is molded as a single piece. A little finesse is sacrificed but the gear is strong.
Part II here:
The Nakajima A6M2-N Rufe was a floatplane development of the famous Zero fighter. It met with success early in the Pacific War, but like most Japanese aircraft was soon outpaced by the rapid improvements in its Allied opponents.
This is the old Jo-Han kit, which still can be built up into a presentable model today. I built this one in the late 1970s. It is one of the oldest kits still in my collection and was my first attempt at a scratch-built cockpit. The camouflage was inspired by a magazine article on “purple Rufes”, which at the time I concluded must have actually have been brown. Consensus now is that they were most likely dark green like other IJN aircraft of the time. Many years later I constructed a beaching dolly from Evergreen to give it a proper display. Despite some errors, I am still a bit nostalgic about this one.