Just like the cat - I'm back.
The cockpits are assembled, they're just waiting on a wash - which I can't do until my second set of HGW harnesses arrives. When I built the P-51, the single set had enough parts for two planes. Not the set for the Zero...
It took me a whole night in front of the TV to assemble the one set - as annoying as I remembered it to be, but in my opinion you can't beat the real cloth belts.
Here's where things stand - this is the cockpit of the Rufe
Sometimes you just can't get enough hands. This is the tensioner's cable that raises or lowers the seat. Tamiya was kind enough to make the two pulleys separate from the rear bulkhead, which allows the modeller to actually run a cable around them. It's not much - but it is visible.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
A complete change of pace, and the moment where I either make it or break it with this model. Time to cut into the wing for the conversion.
Here are the two wings, the A6M2-N wing in front was mostly identical to the A6M5 wing seen behind it. Up until this point, I still could have chickened out and built the second Zero as the intended 2B.
A quick story. I bought this conversion from MDC shortly after it came out. Originally it was missing two parts - small ones, I can see how they got missed. An email to MDC and the parts were sent promptly. My first impression of the conversion was that it was pretty impressive. The main float is a solid block of resin, the conversion is relatively straight forward and very professionaly done. It involves hacking apart the wing, and two parts of the tail - replacing the vertical stab and tailcone.
Shortly after I started this build, I was looking at the conversion and realized that the plug for the wing was far too small. Another email to MDC and a replacement part was sent out. It is definitely larger, but didn't resolve all the issues. Looking at an article in TMMI on this conversion, it seems that the new part fits the way it was intended. More on this later.
Look below and I'll explain the conundrum.
There are three steps from the back to the front of the piece - the rearmost one is where the wing is cut into, the foremost one has a panel that originally would have removed to raise or lower the landing gear. The middle step is the one that frustrates me - it is a set measurement - this is where the top of the landing gear door goes, so this part is a manufactured gap. Why MDC chose to make this part several mm short on both sides is beyond me - now I'll have to fill or shim a pretty big gap.
I made these two backing plates - using my handy "The Chopper" to ensure they are square. On the wing, the area below the access panel is recessed a small bit - this is handy because the resin plug is a TINY bit thinner than the wing itself. I will glue these plates into that recess. This allows me to glue the MDC part face to face, as opposed to having to rely on an edge to edge join. Plus, it caps off the recess - making it easier to fill. If this part of the wing was not thinner, then gluing the MDC part to the front of these plates would leave it recessed a bit on the bottom surface of the wing.
Does this help it make sense?
Here's the original MDC part - you can see that it is a fair bit smaller in span in both of the steps.
I have to take a second to thank Chukw [again, I know..] - if it weren't for one of his many tutorials, I would not have been able to correct the warp on the new lower wing part. I read, I learned, I conquered - thanks buddy!
I'm going to figure out how to align the whole center float on a vertical plane before I install this part on the wing, as it will probably involve drilling and pinning.