Approximately 113 pieces in gray
and clear plus 8 vinyl grommets. Markings for two aircraft in factory finish
of dark green over light gray.
Iíll start by saying right off
of the bat that this is a great kit although it does have itís minor
faults. The mouldings are excellent with very well done panel lines and
rivet detail that are consistent throughout the model. There are no weird
flow marks in the plastic like their P-47 kits. Fit was excellent except for
a minor gap where the back of the lower wing meets the fuselage. Remember to
deepen the rivet holes and panel lines before filling and sanding and go
over them as you sand so that you donít have to do them over from scratch.
The cockpit is about as good as
it gets with excellent detail from the 22 parts that make it up. There are
plenty of knobs and switches and handles. The instrument panel is great with
lots of engraved detail and a unique option. While I usually stay away from
instrument panel decals, preferring to drybrush instead, Hasegawa gives you
two options. One is the usual instrument faces on a black background. The
one I used had the instruments on a clear background. I painted the panel
overall dark gray and then put the decal over it. The panel itself is not
flat but sticks out in spots and I was worried that the decal would not fit
properly. However, after numerous applications of decal solution and
pricking holes in the clear portion the decal lined up perfectly and gave a
very convincing effect. Trim away the excess clear film, pick out a few
knobs and switches, and VOILA! Done. Japanese cockpits came in a variety of
colors. I used Aeromaster Nakijima green as my basic color, aluminum for the
seat with a brown back cushion and black, brown ,tan, yellow, aluminum, and
red to pick out small details. I gave everything my patented raw umber
shadowing effect and drybushed the highlites. The only thing missing is a
set of seat belts which I did not add as this was strictly out of the box.
My original intent for the
finish was to be an undercoat of aluminum overpainted in the green and gray
and then sanded away in areas to represent wear. However, I started
experimenting with the SNJ that I was using and I started to get some very
good effects. I liked it so much that I left it in the natural metal finish.
After misting on several coats of the SNJ sprayed at 10-15 pounds of
pressure I let it dry for about 15-20 minutes where it seemed dry enough to
handle I ran raw umber artistís oil paint straight from the tube into the
panel lines. Ran isnít exactly correct as the paint is pretty thick so I
guess painted is more correct. Then I took a soft cloth and wiped away the
paint leaving a little of it in the recesses. This smoothed out the finish
and left it with a slightly amber tint. I then used some Blue Magic polish
on a Q-tip and carefully rubbed out some panels. This left the panels a
slightly darker aluminum without the tint but it also gave a somewhat
swirled or mottled effect which I felt looked very realistic. The next thing
that I tried was to very, very lightly sand with something like 3200 grit
paper from a polishing kit the wing tips and a few other panels. I found
that this required heavier coats of SNJ so that I wouldn't sand through.
This gave me another natural looking aluminum finish with a somewhat grainy
look. Only sand in one direction and when wiping . also go in one direction.
The last effect was just straight SNJ on a few panels. I ended up with a
multi toned natural metal finish which quite a few people complimented me
on. I used a blue-black enamel for the anti-glare panels and Gunze Japanese
light gray, which has a very definite green tinge, for the fabric covered
control surfaces. I thinned the Gunze with lacquer thinner (it works great!)
to ensure good adhesion to the SNJ. No clear overcoat was used.
I must say that Iím sold on
SNJ. It goes on great and itís quite durable and it stands up very well to
handling . I used low tack masking tape and had no problems. Aside from
being easily scratched the only other drawback that I encountered was that
it didínt adhere well to the crazy glue and easily rubbed off of it.
I used Aeromaster decals for the
markings but I was unhappy with the way they looked. This was not the fault
of Aeromaster. Since I did not use an overcoat the decals remained shiny and
just didnít look right. Next time I plan to overspray the decals with
Dullcoat before I cut them out. I usually trim away all of the clear film so
this should not present a problem.
I was trying to finish the model
for the IPMS nationals and I rushed a few things towards the end. The main
thing being the canopy and windscreen. I did not have any masks so I used
masking tape and I was unhappy with the results. Needless to say I spent
about $40.00 for masks at the Eduard booth before regaining my sanity. I
will be redoing the canopy using the Eduard masks.
Now for the minor faults and
nitpicks. The vinyl grommets worked pretty well for everything except the
main landing gear. One side was pretty tight while the other side was loose.
I couldnít find anything that would adhere to the vinyl and that included
epoxy. Jack Kennedy suggested white glue. Iíll have to give it a try. The
little oil cooler under the wing is nicely detailed and in three pieces.
Being so small makes it very difficult to hold to clean up the seams. I have
no idea why the headrest cushion is in two pieces when youíre not going to
see the back anyway. Again, very hard to handle to glue the two pieces
together. There are these very teeny tiny wingtip lights which are very hard
to cut off of the sprue, clean up and attach. After launching several of the
little so and soís I gave up and painted the areas the appropriate clear
red or green and used some crazy glue to form the lenses. It can be done
though! There was at least one Frank at the nats with them on. He should get
an award just for that.
I might mention that I had a
problem rescribing a panel line along the top of the rear fuselage. I couldnít
get my guide to keep from moving around so I solved the problem by first
drawing a pencil line as a reference and then white gluing my scribing
straight edge along the line. Once set up it didnít move while I was
rescribing and it was easy to remove without leaving any marks on the
Even though it didnít do
anything at the nationals( it just sat there), there were at least five
other Franks as well as superb Zero 22 that took judgeís best a/c, Iím
still very pleased with the results.
Many thanks to Tony Darienzo for
giving me the spare kit to replace certain parts that I damaged beyond
repair or lost and to Mike Fleckenstein for the great photos.
Long Island Scale Model Society
Northern Virginia and Washington
D.C former member