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Tamiya's 1/48 scale
Nakajima J1N1-Sa Gekko

by Chris Wauchop

 

Nakajima J1N1-Sa Gekko Type 11 Kou (late version)

images by Brett Green


Tamiya's 1/48 scale J1N1Sa Gekko is available online from Squadron.com

 

Construction

 

Here is Chris Wauchop's Nakajima N1J1-Sa Type 11 Kou Gekko late-version night fighter from Tamiya in 1/48 scale.

Chris reported that this kit was beautifully engineered and that construction presented no problems at all.

The only correction required was the position of the upward-firing armament. The guns look great with the access hatch open, but when closed there is no way that it could be opened past the barrel of the rear 20mm cannon. As Chris wanted to maintain the streamlined profile of this attractive aircraft, he decided to close this hatch.

It was not much of a challenge to correct this problem. The opening at the front of the hatch was enlarged, and the barrel itself was shortened to match reference photographs.

 

 

Riveting was applied to the fuselage and most of the wings using MDC's 1/48 scale Rivet Making Tool and a small pounce wheel.

In the cockpit, harnesses were added from strips of lead foil.

The interior of the cockpit was painted per kit instructions.

The radar dipoles were cut from the mounts. Holes were drilled into the mounts and the dipoles were replaced with very fine brass wire.

Grab handles were added to the fuselage from small pieces of stretched sprue.

The struts holding the canopy open were added from stretched sprue. Stretched sprue was also used to represent the small horizontal brace on the tail wheel; the handholds protruding from the fuselage sides and the rear guard on the tail wheel.

 

 

Strip plastic was used landing gear indicators on the wings as these appeared to be flat, not round, in cross section.

Gun barrel ends were hollowed out with a scalpel blade. The gun barrels were painted Tamiya Flat Black then burnished with a 2B lead pencil. The ends of the many exhaust stubs were also drilled out, this time with a motor tool.

The solid clear styrene tail light enclosed within the rudder was drilled with a pin vise to represent a light bulb. This light did not receive any further painting.

 

 

Boots were added to the main undercarriage oleos using strips of Tamiya tape. Tyres were flattened with a sanding stick and solder was used for the brake lines.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

After careful examination of a colour photograph of IJN aircraft at Atsugi Air Station in August 1945, which includes at least a half-dozen Gekkos, Chris concluded that the colour balance was roughly correct and that most of the aircraft present were very dark - almost Black -Green.

As a result, Chris mixed his own blend of 2 parts Tamiya XF-27 Black Green to 1 part Gunze H59 IJN Green. This mix is still not as dark as the colour seen in the photo, but darker than in most other references.

The engine cowls were painted with a 50:50 mix of Tamiya XF-8 Flat Dark Blue and XF-1 Flat Black. These parts were then carefully polished with a nail buffer prior to assembly. Gunze Rust was used for the flame dampers. The basic red colour was weathered with Chris's thin black/brown mix.

 

 

Propeller blades are Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown, subtly shaded along the edges with black.

The interior of the canopy was masked and the frames were sprayed with the interior colour, Tamiya XF-71 Interior Green. The outside was then masked and sprayed and a very thin wash of Tamiya X-18 Semi-Gloss Black was run around the framework.

All national insignia, leading edge stripes, propeller blades and tail striping were masked and sprayed. Otherwise, kit decals were used for the tail number and the kill marks on the fuselage, exclusively with the assistance of Gunze Mr Mark Softer decal softening solution. Chris mentioned that, although many people comment about Tamiya decals being thick and difficult to use, he never has any trouble with the kit markings.

 

 

All paint was applied with the Testor Aztek A470 airbrush fitted with the fine tan-coloured tip.

Smoke-coloured invisible mending thread (nylon monofilament) was employed for the aerial wires both underneath the fuselage and also from the starboard wingtip to the starboard aileron tip. The highly exposed location of this wire almost guarantees that it will be snapped off by a careless handler in the near future!

Chris employed his usual method of post-shading the panel lines for the model. This method comprises airbrushing a very thin mix of brown and black along the panel lines. This is followed by a thin semi-gloss black heavily thinned with water, applied directly to all panel lines using a 10/0 brush.

 

 

The impressive paint chipping effect was achieved exclusively with a silver artist's pencil (Sanford Prisma-Color PC949).


Model by Chris Wauchop
Text Copyright 2006 by Chris Wauchop and Brett Green  
Images Copyright 2006 by Brett Green  
Page Created 07 April, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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