I decided to rivet
the whole model (a first to me) using my home
made riveter. Since I took the decision after assembling the
airframe, the task was not really easy, but I managed to rivet the
whole aircraft in less than an hour, using the Seiran drawings as
reference. More on that later. The wing tip lights were made of
oversized tinted clear sprued in the appropriate colors, cemented in
place, and sanded flush to conform the wing tips. The Pitot tube slot
was also drilled at this stage.
A test fit showed
that the windscreen would leave a large gap if used as is in the kit. I
solved the problem cementing small pieces of plastic card under it.
After trimming the excess, the windscreen was sanded over a piece of
sandpaper rolled over a handle of suitable diameter.
Masking the canopy
was a hell, to say the least. I spent a whole afternoon producing the
masks with my usual method (make three, use one). I wasn't really
satisfied with the result, but since this was part of my AMS therapy, I
decided to leave with it.
Once all those rivets
and damages were done, I applied a coat of Aluminum color. Besides
being the base color of the real aircraft, it serves as an excellent
medium to reveal any blemishes:
As a by product, I
was able to check my riveting work much better than in the bare plastic.
Next, I applied a
coat of IJN trainer orange. I mixed my own color using Tamiya acrylics,
but don't ask me the recipe (I don't remember). Photos like the one
below helped me a lot to find a good match for both, the orange and the
green as well.
I also applied a
heavy pre-shading using a dark brown color. In retrospect, the
pre-shading worked all right on the bottom surfaces, but the green
practically killed the effect on the top side. Some "exhaust
stains" pre-shading was applied on the belly of the aircraft, and later
this proved to be a good measure for heavily weathered surfaces.
I'm always afraid of
Tamiya decals. They're too thick and I judged they would oblitarate the
rivet details. The top wings and fuselage Hinomarus didn't have the
white outline, so I decided to paint these on. An old bottle of Testors
Insignia Red acrilic paint was
used, and I almost destroyed my airbrush trying to avoid the stubborn
clogging. Lesson learned: don't use those old Testors acrylics (Acryl
is fine, though)!
I then started to
chip the paint. I used a needle and a sharp toothpick for that. The
first was used when I wanted to chip the paint all the way through to
the Aluminum coat, while the later was preferred when the intention was
to show the original orange camo. Of course, the effect was
concentrated around the wing roots, nose and belly, and reduced on the
remaining areas. Sometimes I followed the chipping with some gentle
sanding, particularly over bent panels. This also helped to highlight
some rivet lines. I can't remember the last time I abused so much of a
The Hinomarus on the
bottom of the wings would be too difficult to pain (for me, at least).
There I stuck of the kit decals, but before applying them I brushed a
layer of Future on their positions. I was worried the brush marks
wouldn't disapper completely after the flat coat was applied, but it
worked wonderfully, as the photos below prove. Lesson learned (an old
doubt of mine): it is not absolutely necessary to airbrush the whole
model with Future in preparation for the decals.
The control surfaces
received a coat of lighter color:
A few more shots of
Before proceeding, I
used a 4B pencil and added oxidized scratches here and there, although
they are more visible on the underside. I love this technique: simple
and effective. At this point I airbrushed the exhaust stains, but I
forgot to take a picture of the model after that.
The chalked code over
the fuselage Hinomaru was drawn using a technical pen filled with white
acrylic paint. Combat rules here: one shot, only. The faded bands were
painted with artists aquarelable white pencil, using a Dymo tape as a
Next, the canopy
masks were removed. Everything was ok, except for a small bleed under
one of the canopy frames. Thanks to my habit of thinning Tamiya paints
with lacquer thinners, the clear part was visibly attacked on that
spot. There was nothing to do about it. My solution was to include a
figure on the wing, with the arm over that spot, hiding the fault.
I then turned my
attention to the small details. The landing gear legs were modified by
including small sections of brass tubing to simulate the oleos, since
the original kit part had oleos with the same diameter of the strut:
The propeller was
painted with Gunze Mahogany
(H84) and coated with Future. I used Humbrol Semi-Gloss Black (#85) for the
landing gear struts. The flat tire was simulated by pressing the kit
wheel against the bottom of a pan with boiling water, and later sanded
to round things a bit:
While I was finishing
the smaller bits, a small base was made depicting a portion of sandy
spot of Kokugijitsusho base. Nothing fancy here, just some sand
sprinkled over and brush painted with household acrylics.
I also added some
small gears from an old watch to add interest. The fuel drums show
below are my from own production, painted and weathered accordingly:
And there you have
it. Although it took almost six months to be completed, the elapsed
time was very low, one of my fastest builds so far. I omitted many
details, but my memory is fading away, and that's why I've written this
report in a rush. I'll leave you with some more pics. Look carefully
and you'll find some evidences of an early ill fated stressed skin
attempt. Fortunately I stopped before it was too late.
The Nanzan was a strange plane, but I'm getting used to this sort of
thing. I like to think on this vignette as a small example of the
aircraft industry oddities during wartime.
I entered this model in Brazilian IPMS Nats in 2005 along with my
Spitfire prototype, but it didn't rank. Interestingly, I managed to
hear the judges claiming that the rivets came originally with the kit.
That was enough to make me satisfied...