Part 2: The Build Starts

I first removed the roll-over bar from the top of each fuselage half. I then began work on the cockpit over the weekend. Many of the smaller, cylindrical parts suffered from mold misalignment.  I spent some time returning them to the proper shape.  For the Aotake blue, I first sprayed Model Master non-buffing aluminum, followed by a coat of Gunze clear blue mixed with Future.  I prefer this to the out-of-bottle colors, as it more accurately reflects (pun intended) the nature of the anti-corrosion coating.  I mixed Model Master enamel Insignia Yellow, RLM 62, Aircraft Interior Black, and Flat White to match the color of my old Aeromaster acrylic Nakajima Cockpit Color.  There are still more detail parts and painting remaining to be done.  I dry fitted these parts to give an idea of the level of detail in this area.  It matches well references I have found on the web.  This cockpit will look very realistic with a wash and dry brush.

The kit does not include belts.  For these, I scanned a pair of Eduard 1/48 IJN belts, increased their size by 200%, and printed them.  This served as a template for the 1/24 belts, made from lead foil, micro solder, and copper wire.

All of the parts thus far have fit very well.  Alignment, in this large scale, has been very easy to achieve.  The ejector pin marks in the seat were filled with typewriter correction fluid, and sanded smooth.  I only filled the first couple of rows of pin marks on the fuselage halves.  Putting the halves together, with the cockpit rear bulkhead in place, reveals that the marks are nearly invisible.

So far, I have devoted ten hours to this project, with three of those going into the seat belts.  Next, I will assemble the major portion of the engine, and paint all of the metallic parts with Alcad II.

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