Engine #2

Work is progressing nicely on the A6M build

Another engine

I was proud of my attempt of the engine assembly of my recent FW-190 kit, but I got a couple of nice pointers when presenting it on this blog, and hopefully my attempts at applying those will have payed off.

I started off with a black base, and used dry brushed steel color to get a somewhat realistic end result.

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After that, I assembled everything and did the wash like last time to make it look nice and used.

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Even though this assembly is a lot more simple than that of the FW-190, I am still at least as happy with the result! Hope you like it!

The instruction booklet

I have to say the way you work on this kit is maybe even more fun than on the modern Revell offerings in terms of following the instructions. There might be just seven steps, but the steps show more instructions. For example:

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This in itself would probably be a complete page on modern (Revell) kits. The fun thing is it sort of invites you to do your own planning rather than completely go with the manual flow.

Of course I  still wouldn’t change a thing on the newer instruction booklet. It works for this kit because it is so simple and has relatively few steps. Besides, I am a relatively new builder and with each kit hopefully will step away further and further of the instruction flow.

Fuselage assembly

Last week I already applied a layer of primer on the fuselage. Not sure if that was the best choice, but it felt like a good idea to avoid masking tape if I could. Besides, I really went for black basing here, and I can always touch up on the primer if I have to do some more sanding once it is all glued together.

Before actually sticking the halves together I did a nice and shadowy layer of farngreen on what will be the cockpit walls. Hopefully this will create some depth, although to be honest I doubt you can see much of the cramped cockpit once it is finished.

Apart from the clear parts, I have everything ready to start work on ‘step 4’

One point of attention is the rear wheel. This kit gives you no option to attach the wheel later. Once you glue the halves together there is no room to get it in. This means I will either have to do a first layer of the area near the rear wheel, or I will have to do a good job at masking it and maybe use a brush to work near the wheel so I don’t accidentally mess it up.

I will probably first do a layer of light gray around the rear wheel area, then stick in the wheel and glue the halves together. After that roughly masking off the area will be sufficient.

ESM

Last weekend ‘Euro Scale Modeling’ took place in Houten, near Utrecht. It was my first modeling show.

I did not take pictures, and I am not sure why not! Too busy looking around I guess. And more regret still: I didn’t have any cash on me. I figured most stands would have the option for electronic payment, but in fact most of them did not. I saw the McLaren MP4/13 I have on my wishlist for 20 euro’s, but I didn’t have the cash to pay for it.. which actually makes me kind of sad now! Ah well, I have enough stuff in my stash to get through the coming year I guess.

Besides, I didn’t come home empty handed. Next to a new cutting mat, I bought a book I already have in e-book form. It’s incredibly unhandy to have it in e-book form, so I decided I wanted to spend a lot of money to get a proper copy of it:

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It is really a beginners book, which is great for me. I am not someone who runs out to try new things, but usually once something or someone plants an idea in my head I start figuring out how I could implement it.

A nice thought I got from this book for example: removing raised panel lines and rescribing them. Especially older models (like the Zero I am working on right now) have raised panel lanes, and rescribing them myself would be a great piece of work. I already have in my head on which one of my dads old kits I want to try that on, but I still have a couple of other things I want to do first.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Groetjes,

Dan

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Zero cockpit, part two

This week I finished the Zero cockpit. Not sure about all the choices I made, but overall I am fairly happy.

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I am happy with the cockpit, and I think I did an all right job cleaning it up. At this stage of the Japanese war effort I doubt the A6M5 made it past a couple of months, so I figured it wouldn’t make sense to do a very heavily weathered cockpit. I wanted to make the pilot look less clean, but this is probably not the right way. He looks like a pig really.. Since Sinterklaas will be giving me a present soon that will have a couple of figures included I will have to look into how to create a good looking result!

Since this kit is fairly simple I skipped a few steps ahead in the instructions. Yesterday I applied primer to the parts I will require for the next two steps.

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In other news..

When I bought my airbrush booth this summer I somehow developed this crazy idea that the filters were relatively expensive. The last time I worked with primer I noticed the booth was doing a really poor job at getting rid of the nasty air, and I finally decided to replace the paint-filled original filter.. I then found out these things aren’t as expensive as I somehow assumed they were, so I hopefully have enough of them to last me a year.

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I also did a final revisit of the FW-190 A8. Last month I visited a IPMS meeting and one of the gentlemen had some nice pointers for me. Besides that I wanted to fix some obvious mistakes. In the end I decided to leave some of the bad parts.. the Zero will hopefully be beautiful, and it will replace the FW-190 which has earned a spot in the living room.

In the end I didn’t bother getting rid of the scratches in the canopy since they are quite subtle anyway. I did reattach the antenna which had come loose somehow during or just after my vacation.. I also noticed the plane was very lightly leaning to one side because the wheels were a bit loose. I cracked them off and reattached them, which nearly went wrong.

As for the details I wanted to change: the pitot tube on the starboard wing had a bronze rather than a aluminium look, and my version of the A8/R11 had a mechanism that ensured the wire from the canopy to the tail was always tensed.

Quite happy with the result, but I am done fiddling with this thing now.

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Groetjes,

Dan

Zero Cockpit, part one

Time to start the actual building of the A6M5 ‘Zero’! I plan to try some things I have seen around in the online model building world and I am really curious what I will be able to achieve.

img_20171029_172125440687203.jpgThis kit has a little pilot model included, which is fun to try and get right in terms of details. The cockpit has some nice raised details so I want to try to bring forward some of the details by coloring the flight instruments and giving dry brushing another chance.

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As I said my last Zero blog I bought myself some black primer, AK Interactive Black 757. I would love to get some more depth into the cockpit so I looked around a bit and the way Matt McDougall explains it in this old blog seems like the way to go after applying the primer.

Unfortunately I got a bit carried away the first time.. This cockpit is way brighter than I had planned for it to be. I should have taken it a bit slower to see how it was building up. The second time still wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but there are some very subtle darker areas in the cockpit now.

As for the details in the cockpit, I used the reference photos I could find. This cockpit isn’t very detailed and I decided to not use the PE parts I bought, so this will be a best effort thing. Good stuff to practice on anyway!

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And yes, I could have done a better job with sanding here as well. Guess I was too eager to start on this one!

I got myself a good LED head magnifier for those tiny cockpit details.

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Hope I didn’t scare you there!

In between the work on the cockpit I also did work on the pilotfigure. I don’t know if all the older Revell instruction booklets are as poor as this one I will have to do proper research. Of course I don’t mind, but if you built this kit 25 years ago you would have had a hard time without internet.. for instance the pilot according to the booklet is basically matt green with a brown head.

To me (and probably many of the current modelers) the research part is a big part of the hobby. After some searching I was satisfied that the below drawing is a an accurate enough impression of what a Zero pilot would have looked like.

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It was fun painting this dude, but I don’t like the detail on the model or the painting.. to be honest I had this feeling before starting this job, but since the cockpit has a low detail level I want to leave it in. Models I will buy in the future will probably not include figures though..
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There is a good chance in it will look better after some more weathering work.

Anyway, back to the cockpit itself.

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I am quite proud of this result!

I first painted the dials black, then painted some of the panels and buttons and finally did dry brushing to let the dials come out. It is so much fun to see the dials appear out of the black background of the dials!

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I did not expect to get this result!

Next up will be some weathering work on the cockpit, and applying primer on the air frame.

Groetjes,

Dan

Light gray snowballing

Even though I am still doing some modeling almost every day, I have to admit my motivation hasn’t picked up much since finishing the FW-190. I know sticking to the WW2/War will keep things a bit more fun in the future, but right now I will try switch between the A6M5 and the B747-8F.

A few weeks ago building gave me energy, but right now I am just too tired coming home from work. Last week I have started doing full work days again, and once I get home I am knackered and have to take a rest first. This should get better though, and overall my energy has increased a lot the last few months!

Anyway, on to some actual modeling!

img_20171105_1342551953958942.jpgFirst I did some sanding on the seem-line.

img_20171105_1445382063839840-e1509909475675.jpgI decided to not continue with the first spray of light-gray and instead went back to the more conventional way of first gluing the halves together. Things got a bit too messy with paint when attaching the pre-painted fuselage halves.

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Of course this does mean I have to mask off the little clear parts on the front of the wing. The strip on the front will have a different color anyway, so a very wide piece of tape will do for the moment.
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After another adjustment to the desk layout I am fairly happy with it now, and I am able to see the light differences very well even though it is very subtle on this model. I placed the light on the airbrush booth. It already fell off too, narrowly missing the model that was drying from another layer of light gray. Hopefully it won’t happen again when I return the light to a more balanced position.

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What remains now is (ever so slowly) snowballing this model with the very thin mixture of light gray with a lot of thinner.

Before the airbrush clogs up completely I am usually able to get out 2 halve cups the mixture, which really is enough. I think in total there will be about 3 or 4 layers and after that the challenge will remain to get a very crisp and even result on the light gray!

Next blog will be about the A6M5 on which I have done some work on the cockpit already.

Groetjes,

Dan

Mitsubishi A6M5 ‘Zero’ (Revell 04755 Kit) Kick-Off

Last week I got the stuff I wanted for the A6M5 kit I got from my dad, and I’ve started the first work on it.

Luchtvaarthobbyshop

Last week I did a day of (civilian) plane spotting with my friend TheYottaTube and visited the Luchtvaarthobbyshop, since it is very close to Schiphol Airport. I got all the stuff I wanted.. and spent about 4 times the value of the Zero-kit on stuff I want to use it on!

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The book was the most expensive purchase but it is very much worth it! For the actual build I got myself some black primer since I want to try black-basing on this one, some decals since the original ones are eaten away and some photo-etch parts because I really wanted to try my hand at building with PE.

The book is by Robert C. Mikesh with absolutely awesome illustrations by Rikyu Watanabe. It isn’t the most extensive read on the subject, but for my purposes it is absolutely perfect: about 50 pages of information on the A6M, and the illustrations give such an amazing impression of the different types of the A6M, the generation of planes the preceded it and were developed as potential replacements, and it even has illustrations of some of the A6M’s adversaries in the sky.

About the plane

Some things I found interesting:

  • The alphanumeric system in use in the Imperial Navy around WW2. A6M5 can be dissected as follows:
    • A indicates a carrier-based fighter,
    • 6 indicates that it is the sixth generation of planes built for the Navy.
    • M is for Mitsubishi.
    • 5 is the fifth type of the plane, although the type system used for the Zero is a bit more accurate.
  • The Type system works a bit different than I expected. Not only is the type number directly related to last digit in the alphanumeric system. A6M5 and Type 52 are one and the same plane. Also worth mentioning is that the first digit of the Type designation is the number of the airframe design, while the second digit is the engine type.
  • The Zero has been at a disadvantage in terms of horsepower throughout its lifetime. It wasn’t until A6M8 (type 64) that there was a reasonable increase in power, but this last generation never made it to production because there was no more war left.
  • Its life has been extended time and time again for different reasons, which all too often seem to have to do with bad decision making by the Navy.
  • The plane is built with a aluminium alloy called Extra Super Duralumin which apparently was invented specially for the A6M. I can’t find a lot of information about it unfortunately.
  • The original design featured a 2 blade propeller, but the first test flights brought forward a vibration which was solved by changing this to 3 blades.
  • The most produced variant of the Zero was the Type 52, or A6M5. 1701 of this type were produced.

The version I will be building

The Revell kit is a Type 52, so I want to go with the top option on the decal instructions.

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One of the additions on the Type 52c was another set of wing cannons. Model 63 (A6M7) was a Navy request because the newly designed bomber Yokosuka D4Y Suisei was unfit for carrier use, being too big and too fast for deck landing. Structural differences with the 52 on this one are mainly the addition of bomb racks under the wing. Both of the other options ask for more aftermarket parts, and to be honest I think I’ve spent enough on this cheap kit!

The 301 squadron of air group 202 it is then! At least, that’s what the designations mean if I understand correctly.

I have already done some work on the cockpit for this build, but I will save that for another blog. One thing I have already decided: photo etch is not for me. I never throw anything away, and if I find I can use anything to make the model look better I will, but my first experience isn’t too good and I basically decided straight away it wasn’t for me.. too fiddly! Although I do have to say, my first try was with a chair replacement. It looked awesome, but I had to glue another PE part on to it, which bended and broke and got lost.. doesn’t feel like the direction I want to take this hobby in!

Groetjes,

Dan

Two halves of the fuselage are attached together!

The title actually portrays my feelings toward this build very well.. I do enjoy it, but there isn’t a lot of inspiration coming with it.

This simply is my slightly less loved build.. and since I spent most of the week reading up on the A6M ‘Zero’, I didn’t do a whole lot of work on it.

I took a break from airbrushing, and went on with assembling the fuselage.

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I remember my dad using pieces of lead to weigh the front down on his models, and I think that would be the best material for a reasonable price. I didn’t have any lead laying around though, so I used some hooks from the local discount store and worked with CA glue for the first time to attach it to the model.. and damn, that CA stuff does not mess about! I wasn’t sure if it would hold but I can see why you wouldn’t want to get that stuff on your hands.

Onto slowly gluing the pieces together then..

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As expected the paint will need some work after gluing the pieces together since of course some of it has melted off. I would have expected a better fit on these two halves though, and there are some gaps halfway the fuselage that I can’t seem to get to fit tightly.

There will be some sanding to come on this thing! Hopefully without removing too much of the detail.

It is becoming clear why painting before assembly is generally not a good idea since I will probably have to do some filling to get this right. First it’s time to let this dry though, then onto filling and sanding.

Groetjes,

Dan

PS. I’ll do a separate blog on the Zero build this week because I am really having a blast with that one!