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Alex last won the day on June 25

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About Alex

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  1. Those 20mm cannon are really nicely molded for something that's just going to disappear into the wing and never be seen again. I had to resist the urge to spend time dry-brushing them. If/when I do this kit again as an A6M5 I may need to work out how to make the service panels removable. It would require splitting the subpanel that Tamiya has you glue in. They provide two variants, one with larger bulges to clear the larger magazines of the A6M5, but the subpanel includes the service panel and part of the wing structure that the cannon mounts to, so it would have to be sawn in half. Having two sets actually makes that a lot easier. Add it to the list for next time...
  2. Fabulous work on the cockpit, especially the gunner's position. You need to frame some of those in process photos to display along with the finished model...
  3. Thanks! Your build of the Nakajima A6M has been great inspiration and information for me. I actually have a specific question for you - you chose not to use the Eduard PE replacements for the structural braces in the wheel wells. As I recall you thinned out the plastic ones but left them in place. I'm at the point now where I have to decide if I'm going down the road of major surgery to take out the plastic and replace with PE. I think that if done well it *could* look really good; I'm not 100% sure I have the chops to do it really well. Any commentary you have on why you went the way you did, whether you've seen others succeed with the PE replacement, etc would be helpful.
  4. Still slowly working away at this. The parts fit so well that I'm perversely compelled to address invisibly fine gaps that I might ignore on a lesser kit.... Empennage in place... These were fiddly to do.
  5. Engine looks excellent! I especially like the rust color you’ve got on the exhaust.
  6. I've come to believe that this is actually the right time to use panel line wash - before painting. Putting it under the final color coat provides a much more subtle effect, and the strength of the effect can be adjusted based on how much paint you apply over it.
  7. This kit is so well engineered, after the Special Hobby Nate it *almost* feels like cheating...almost.
  8. Glad you are enjoying it! I am definitely going to try one of those Rufe conversions at some point. Also going to build this same kit as an A6M5 later on, so lots of chances to improve on my technique!
  9. Amazingly enough (Tamiya!) that complex cockpit assembly slips right into the dry-fit fuselage, exactly as advertised. This is great news because it means I can do a bunch of other things like getting the cockpit decking painted, canopy future-d, masked, installed, gunsight, paint the machine gun recesses in the fuselage, etc BEFORE I put the cockpit in, eliminating the chance of damage, overspray, etc. It fits so snugly it probably doesn't even need to be glued. But I'll put a couple dabs of CA somewhere just to be sure it doesn't get tweaked by some later step.
  10. This is the cockpit "module", almost completely assembled and ready to install into the fuselage. The one small holdup is the one fit that I didn't pre-check three times, and a word to the wise if you are planning on building this kit. The interface between the tabs on the top of the ammo magazine and the recesses on the bottoms of the MGs is too tight, and does not let the MGs sit level. Since these protrude out of the cowl their alignment is obviously critical. This would have been easier to solve if I had known about it before getting to this stage. Going to fix it tomorrow when I'm fresh (another lesson I've learned).
  11. Thanks for the good word, guys. I have had some extra time to work with the holiday weekend here in the States. I have found that detail painting with my preferred airbrush paints - Mr Color lacquer - has challenges to it. The great thing about airbrushing these paints is how fast they dry. The problem with hand painting is how fast they dry. The trick I've found is to shake the bottle vigorously, open it, cover the bottle itself with plastic, and work from the paint stuck to the inside of the cap. If I need to use a color for more than a minute or so, I will periodically add one drop of Mr Color Thinner to the cap and mix it around with a toothpick to replace the solvent that is rapidly flashing off. This has worked out well on this project so far.
  12. Significant progress today. There are still a few small things to complete here, like the bungee on the seat height mechanism and some gas cylinder plumbing, but it's moving right along now. The shots below are just dry-fit (which of course fits perfectly and hangs together because Tamiya). I can't install the seat until my HGW seat belts get here. I may shift gears after this and start prepping parts and base coating the engine. I really need to study both Sean's excellent build and my Aero Detail book (when is it getting here!?) with regard to the back of the engine, plumbing, wiring, etc between engine and firewall. I'm determined to make that whole region visible with removable panels and cowling, so I've got to build a credible mess o' wires and linkages.
  13. So I have been working on this - just not taking quite so many photos since this kit has already been thoroughly documented here by people more skilled than I... Here's everything required to build out the cockpit, cleaned up, detailed, and ready for a base coat of paint. I am emulating Dennis' admirable degree of organization by labeling all of the separate little parts on toothpicks with part number and base paint color. Honestly, most kits don't have enough parts that I'd worry about losing track, but this one sure does. I've added a fair amount of wiring/plumbing and drilled holes to mount more post-paint, as well as making one small component that was missing from the kit and pointed out by Ryan Toews. I have more or less been following the Ryan/Sean build and trying to pay careful attention to the differences between that later Nakajima model and my early Mitsubishi bird. The biggest difference is that since this is a carrier-based plane, I'm assuming that the pilot did NOT go for the "radio-delete" option that was characteristic of many land-based Zeros later in the war. So the radio gear is going in to the cockpit, with some wiring added per photos I've been able to find. I am going to build this bird with minimal weathering on the logic that it was probably added to Soryu's air wing after her refit in October 1941, and given the recency (at that time) of A6M2 Model 21 production at scale, the Pearl Harbor raid could possibly have been this aircraft's first combat mission. Certainly there were likely no Zeros old enough at that time to look "war weary". So minimal paint chipping, fairly factory-fresh exterior, etc. Maybe when I do an A6M5 I'll look for a late-war context and a Sentai that had been in the field for an extended time so I can do a more worn-out Zero. I have actually made more progress than shown above. All the base-cost paint is on and I've started painting details. There's a lot of them, so it'll be another day or two at least until I have the "after" photos of the completed cockpit components.
  14. Shopping is incredibly dangerous. I looked at the Tamiya kit seatbelts and decided that something better was in order. Looked around the web for a while to find someone with HGW belts in stock. Look! Victory Models has them. Great. Start browsing their website. Turns out the have a Lukgraph 1:32 Nakajima KO-4 biplane kit on hand. I tried to resist for about 3 seconds then bought it too...
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