OK, I think we’ve spent enough time on this engine now.  Time to move on to more interesting things like the first part of the fuselage structure with the cockpit installed.

But, first, let’s visit the engine one last time and see what was done to change it between the last report and now.

First, I did install the Eduard set for this engine, but I have to confess that it didn’t do a lot for it except for the funny little “hats” on the cylinder heads and the engine wiring.  I had a bit of a conundrum when it came to the wiring.  The wiring itself is aluminum.  All of the photo evidence I could find supported that.  But, there were several photos with differing takes on the ignition harness; some had it aluminum, and others in that blue gray color of the crankcase.  I opted for the blue gray color because it made sense to me, in spite of the fact that Tamiya disagree with this interpretation.  The instructions for their kit clearly call this part out as “aluminum”.  Oh well.

So, here is a photo of the front of the engine with the wiring installed and the cylinder heads attached. 

Please note that this is still unweathered.

I decided to weather the engine pretty heavily from a lot of training use in preparation for Pearl Harbor and a rough transit of the north Pacific prior to the attack.  I used grey, grime, and rust washes and simply rubbed off what I thought was too much.

Here are the final photos on the engine.





If you build this kit like the manufacturer intended, it would all be stainless steel PE and white metal…. no painting.  But, Ross Armstrong paved the way on his Fine Structure P-51 Team Build by painting some of the internal parts to enhance the over all appearance.  It was a great idea, and I followed suit with my own P-51 Fine Structure.  (See Ross’s Build in the Team Build area and mine in the Air Gallery)

So, I’m doing the same on this kit, and I am going to paint the cockpit, fuel tanks, machine guns, and cannons.  That’s a lot of priming and painting and I don’t want this build log to get bogged down waiting for an update, so I decided to skip ahead in the instructions to build the wings where we could make some real progress while I do the cockpit detail painting on the side.

And, I made a discovery.  Just out of curiosity, I wondered if Tamiya paints would adhere better to metal than the Vallejo since I’m using Tamiya for this build.  So I airbrushed one of the bulkheads behind the cockpit area without priming and when it was completely dry, tried to scrape it off with my finger nail.  No way!!  So, Tamiya paints can be used for the PE parts anyway without priming…. Wow, that will save a lot of time.  I haven’t tested it with the white metal parts, but that’s next on the list.


The wing build can move quickly since there is no painting except for the cannons and the fuel tanks, so let’s get to it.

First on the list is to get the parts off the “sprues” (I’ll use that term for the PE Sheets), and clean them up ready for installation.  They have to be completely smooth or else it will interfere with the CA join.  So they require close trimming and some filing to get there.

Here’s a photo of the wing rib sprue, we are not installing all of the ribs for the wing in this step, but it’s a start.


And here are the instructions for this step.  Note that the instructions only show the left wing installation, but give the part numbers for the right wing next to the left wing part numbers.  You have to visualize the mirror image for the right wing and install the ribs accordingly.  It pays real dividends to pay close attention to the orientations shown in the instructions and to think ahead about what may be connecting to the assembly you are currently working on.


Here are the wing ribs for this step after being cut from the sprue.  Note the stubs that need trimming and, again, it’s really necessary to stay organized by numbering the parts on the paper before they are installed.


And, one of the ribs after clipping and filing the stubs off.


 First off, are the leading and trailing edge spars.  And another short discovery.  CA accelerator has a shelf life!!!  I had just refilled my small accelerator bottle and it simply didn’t work when I started installing the wing spars.  Wow, I was befuddled about the problem until I considered the that accelerator I was using was from a pretty old bottle.  Used some new accelerator and everything worked just fine.

Having everything trimmed and ready to go, it’s time to start building (Finally!!!).   Here’s the left wing lower skin with the LE and TE spars in place.


At this point, it’s very fragile, but as we install the wing ribs it gets stronger and rigid as you might expect.  

Wing ribs glued in place:[Left-Wing-Ribs-1_zps51bc85fb] 

Now, a short story about why it’s necessary to think ahead on these Fine Structure kits.  I think the biggest difficulty is that the English translation of the Japanese instructions is pretty poor.

As an example, rib A26 with is the outermost rib on the wing (at this point) has instructions that say to glue it on the “face” of the “frame”, which begs the question of what on earth are they talking about.  What does “face” mean and this is the first (and only) use of the term “frame”.

I know that this isn’t a square wing Zero, so I looked ahead in the instructions to find out what the wing tip looked like and how it was installed to give me a clue about what to do with rib A26.

Here’s what I found:


Note that the wing tip is built-up and is actually movable for aircraft carrier storage just like the real thing.  That means that A26 has to be at the outside edge of the lower wing skin for the wingtip to be flush when it’s folded down.  If you look closely at the instructions above, it shows that correct orientation.

Now, I knew how to install A26:


And, just one last quick note.  I mentioned at the start of this build log that I was going to use RB productions seat belts for the pilot seat.  Well, I changed my mind after seeing the HGW item.  The RB item is great, but this HGW set is more pleasing to my eye.  You may feel differently.  Something to work on in my spare time LOL.


So, here we are with all the wing ribs installed on both the right and left wing.  Also, the 20 mm cannon and fuel tanks are in place. as required at this point in the build.

Here are a couple of photos of the ‘completed’ wings:


Note that the wing tips, ailerons, flaps, and landing gear are yet to be done, and the top ‘skin’ on the wing will be one of the last things done in the build, so the wing is far from complete.

Here are a couple of photos of the 20mm cannon in the left and right wings.  These are white metal parts, as are the fuel tanks. The cannon were painted with Alclad gunmetal, and the Tamiya Aotake mixture was used on the fuel tanks.  AND, I found that the Tamiya paints and Alclad 2 did not require primer on the white metal, just as on the PE as I posted last time.

Just as a side note, I wish that these wings were as dramatic as the P-51 with the ammo belts and machine gun bays.  Instead, it’s pretty simplistic since the Japanese mounted their ammunition inside closed metal drums (the round ‘things’ in the photos).  The cockpit will be much more interesting.



Those cannon barrels in the photos are NOT what is specified in the kit.  The kit uses simply a couple of pieces of tubing cut and glued in place for the barrels.  I substituted 20 mm Japanese cannon barrels made by Master for the kit items.  That requires drilling out the part of the cannon assembly to mount the Master barrels in place, a bit of a tricky operation, but the results are worth it, and a little Bondo can cure a multitude of problems.  

Also, rather than painting that beautiful brass on the barrels, I used Blacken-It to chemically change the color to a ‘grimy’ black color.  It’s a pretty simple process; simply drop the barrels into the Blacken-It solution for about 1 to 1.5 minutes until the color looks right to you, and then remove them and place them in water to stop the reaction.  I did this with my P-51 build and was very happy with it.  Blacken-It is available from many sources including Micro-Mark and probably most railroad hobby shops and web sites.

I’ll be doing the same thing with the 7.7 mm machine guns in the cockpit and nose of the aircraft.  Much prettier than the kit supplied stuff.  I’ll show detailed comparison photos of those when we get there.

It will probably be a week or two before my next update, because a little bit of ‘real life’ is intruding.  We are getting a new puppy next Tuesday to fill the emptiness left by Maggie’s passing.  Another Border Collie (our favorite breed); a male this time and his name will be “Shep”.  He will require a lot of care and attention in his first weeks at home, so my build time will be affected.  I’m sure you will all understand.  I’ll post a photo of him with my next update.  He’s going to be my new modeling companion.

Until next time……..