by: Logan Fetzer [ ]
When we open up the box, we are greeted by four gray sprues, a clear sprue, a colorful decal sheet, and a single sheet instruction pamphlet. The plastic pieces themselves seem rather nice, and have well engraved, crisp panel lines. The instructions are simple enough, although the primarily Japanese wording was confusing for me. Also, I believe that I noticed a mistake on the decal page, and that they called out the wrong number on one of the decals. Maybe I'm wrong.
Initial assembly, starting with the cockpit, is a breeze. It almost fell together, all I had to do was put the glue and paint on it. The parts themselves were highly detailed, with many of the actual controls being represented in plastic.
Following the cockpit was the main fuselage assembly, and the wings(Sorry for omitting this step in photos!) Again, the fit was rather good, with little filler needed. But, I did still place some on the wing roots, and a spot on the forward fuselage. The gun ports, which were molded separately from the wings, were a little small for their locations in the wing. Filler was needed to make them fit in the hole.
After this, I began painting, starting with a base layer of Model Master acrylic aluminum. I was attempting to do salt chipping, but the results didn't turn out how I wanted, especially on the underside. Following the bare metal, I applied the salt, and then proceeded to use the green colored paint(Apologies for not remembering which one), and then removing the salt. I also mixed in black with the green in some spots, and tried to achieve some tonal variation.
After painting, it was on to decaling. For the most part, the decals went on very well, with decal setting solution. I had no problems at all, except with the red lines towards the wing roots. These were rather fragile, and difficult to place, and I was not as careful as I needed to be in their application.
Following decals, I began weathering. I initially began with the Tamiya weathering powders, adding soot to the gun barrels and behind the exhaust. Then, I applied an acrylic wash, using my Xacto knife. I dipped just the tip of the blade into the wash, and then dragged it across the panel lines, and over any decals that were over them. I thought this helped the decals look more painted on, and add realism, since they sunk into the panels more.
In all, I thought this was a wonderful kit, and I personally rank it as one of my best that I've completed. It was one of my few ventures into 1/72, and so many of the parts seemed extra small and difficult to work with. But, it was excellently engineered, and a breeze to put together. It has enough detail to satisfy the most experienced modeler, with the ease of assembly to suit even the biggest noob to the hobby.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.