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Fujimi 1/72 B7A1 流星 (Ryusei) "Grace" WIP

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Greetings All!


My excuse for buying and building this kit is that I am gifting it to a friend who's name happens to be Grace, but in actuallity I'm just taking the chance to delve into some Japanese (in subject and country of manufacture) plastic! This little gem is of particular interest to me for its lesser known nature (Im a sucker for the obscure) as well as its prototypical paint scheme. Being a University of Florida grad I have a soft spot for the combo of aotake blue and prototype yellow-orange :thumbsup:


Anyways, on with the show:


Ohhhhhh that lovely tangelo styrene




Decals are super thick and slightly yellowed although not bad for 30+ years. I may replace them with spares depending on how they look on the yellow-orange.




I'm one of those modellers who vastly prefers interior detailing and painting to exterior finishing...part of the reason why my projects never seem to get done. Anyways, I'm going to liven up the interior with some pseudo-scratch building/cannablising from the spares box. I consulted a few pics from the venerable J-aircraft (http://www.j-aircraft.com/walk/tim_hortman/timb7a.htm, sitting next to an XB-42 Mixmaster of all things), but overall im not too interested in being particularly accurate here. This model will be a gift for a friend who knows next to nothing about aviation so I'll take it easy in that department. The blue oval indicates parts/decals from a Hasegawa 1/72 Kate, red is from the excellent Tamiya 1/72 A6M2 (the unused A6M5 parts inthe box), and yellow is from the equally excellent Tamiya 1/48 Do 335. The white plastic seat is from an Airfix Gladiator.




First things first, the kit seats are rather toyish, so will be replaced:




Here I have modified the replacement seats to be more realistic and, in the case of the pilot's seat, to fit between the seat supports molded to the kit's floor.




I'm using the chisel-it-off-and-reglue-to-kit-floor technique. Here I have sacrificed a perfectly good A6M5 instrument panel:




Looking busier and busier:




Again, not going for extreme accuracy, but I consulted a 1/48 Hasegawa Ryusei build and nothing on my iteration looks too out of the ordinary...unfortunatley the control column is at about face level but I didnt feel like modifying it:




Good enough for me and ready for some aotake! From test fitting, the cockpit fit between the fuselage halves is quite pleasing.






Edited by EZhotshot511
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Finished up the night by gluing the wing halves together. Fujimi wasn't thinking with their best brains when they seperated the ailerons (and rudder) right down the middle and not at the hinge line, so those will be pesky gaps to fill but other than that, the fit is quite nice.




This is my first post (and build) in quite some time so please let me know if my images are visible and comments and suggestions are always welcome!


Next up on deck is the engine (suggestions on colors for japanese engines welcome!) and painting the interior. I am currenlty waiting on some clear blue and green so the aotake might take a little while.

Edited by EZhotshot511
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Not much to update for the past couple days as I have been busy with other things. I have started filling the awkward seams in the wings and rescribing the control surface demarcation lines. I use Bondo auto body filler and it seems to work well. I wiped some of the excess away before the filler had set up fully.




There were some prominent ejector pin marks in the wheel well doors that needed to be fixed so I broke out the sanding sticks and Mr. Surfacer




This kit has some of the thinnest prop blades of any kit I've ever built, very nice. Just have to hope I dont break any of the tips off in handling




I sprayed the tips yellow and then masked off the warning stripes with tamiya tape. I'll be using MM Italian dark brown with a drop of red for the red brown prop color from now on, it works very well.




Finished product:




My thought is to apply the aotake as it was in reality by spraying a mix of clear blue-green over a metallic finish. Tonight I attempted to apply the gloss black base coat for the MM metalizer aluminum to all the interior surfaces. I ran into some airbrush/paint trouble however. I have an Iwata HP-C+  that was working fine when I painted the prop last night so that leads me to believe it was the paint. When I went to apply the Testors gloss black I was going to use, it sputtered out of the nozzle and created dotting. I completely cleaned out the brush and thinned the paint even more and the sputtering continued. My LHS only caries testors/MM and Valejo so I guess I'll be trying valejo next. Any tips or tricks to airbrushing with Valejo?


You can see the splatter in the test shot at the bottom of this pic



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've been away from the bench for a while due to work and travel but here's an update as to where I am at with the Ryusei: 


As per my previous post, I bought Vallejo Model Color "glossy black" and experimented with thinning it down using my own homemade acrylic thinner and spraying it....that did not work whatsoever. It clogged the nozzle almost immediately and splattered far worse than the Testors paint which caused the original issue above. I next tried Model Master gloss black, thinned about half way. This worked like a charm and produced a great glossy smooth surface for application of Model Master metalizer "aluminum plate." I also dipped the canopy in future which really imporved its clarity and shine. 




I then mixed up my take on aotake. I took an empty bottle of Tamiya x-22 clear and used this as my mixing/storage bottle for aotake. I mixed 4.5ml of Tamiya x-23 with 2.5ml of Tamiya x-25 and 3ml of Mr.Color leveling thinner. I then thinned this further about half and half in the airbrush cup and applied light coats, building up the color on top of the silver base. In the future I might add a little more blue to my aotake mix but seeing as aotake ranged just about anywhere on the spectrum between clear blue and clear green, I'm calling it good.






In the meantime I finished up the kit's representation of the Homare 18 engine. 




Finally I detail painted the interior using a wash of burnt umber, drybrushing, and picking out some dials and buttons here and there. The decal harnesses were applied with the help of Tamiya Mark Fit Strong and a flat coat was applied over the harnesses when dry. I also added the radio and various dials from the Hasegawa 1/72 B5N Kate and the kit decals.








Time to get the fuselage halves together and start airframe assembly for painting!

Edited by EZhotshot511
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks gents! I appreciate your kind words. I've been attending med school interviews so I haven't been able to get much time in on the Grace but I managed to get the fuselage all buttoned up and am working on removing the seams with sanding and Mr. Surfacer 500. Also got the landing gear all painted and have started work on the inert practice torpedo (from the Hasegawa B5N kit) that I'm going to attach externally.




As you can see I used a fine sharpie to put some color into the ledges of the seams, that way once I've sanded away the black ink I know I have a smooth surface. The bomb bay door does not fit very well and more work will be required here. Fujimi molded this door devoid of detail so I'm going to have to scribe in some hinge lines as well. 




Thats all for now. This will actually be the first build in a long while that will most definitely make it to completion so I have to figure out some finishing techniques that I've never actually put to use...most pressing being masking that canopy without an aftermarket set....

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