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1/16 scale figure from Miniature Alliance
Japanese Naval Aviator

by Bobby McElroy

 

Pride of the Japanese Fleet



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Background

 

From the infamous day on the 7th of December 1941 until after the Battle of Midway in 1942 the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Forces reigned supremely in the skies over the South Pacific. Years of intensive training and a wealth of combat experience from the war in China these young pilots were some of the best in the world. For a time they seemed unstoppable.

 

 

Construction

 

The Kit

Miniature Alliance, the maker of this particular figure, has done a good job in capturing the pride, honor, and confidence of the Japanese Naval Pilots with this kit.

The parts of the body are made of resin, which were cast with a great deal of detail. Each part comes attached to the spruce of the mold but these areas are attached where they will not be seen when the pieces are glued together.  The only parts that were a little difficult to clean up were the back of the neck and the outer edges of the arms. I carefully filed away the flash from these areas.  I used a small amount of CA glue to fill in the few holes that were in the pieces.

Overall the pieces fit together well with minimal filler being added.

This kit has a few metal parts as well. The Type 14 pistol is rich with detail and needs little work to clean up, but this item adds to the realism of the figure. The pilotís glove and left hand are made of metal and they too like the pistol need a little clean up on the outer edges nothing major though.  A small amount of lead sheeting is given in the kit and one may use this to complete the belt on the Kapok where the weapon fits in, and to complete the ties at the ends of the figureís floatcoat.         


        

Problems

While nothing major, gluing the figure together in the torso area as well as the pilotís noggin (head) took a little more patience and time. Regular CA glue was not strong enough to bond these parts, so I chose to use 5 minute epoxy. This worked really well. Not only did the epoxy allow me to move the parts into exactly the right position, the epoxy also acted as filler. Between the upper and lower halves was really the only place that needed filling.

 

 

Painting

 

Using a combination of both enamel and Acrylic paints by Model Masters I airbrushed and brush- painted my figure. All of the larger areas I used the airbrush. The airbrush also came in handy on a fair share of the shading. When it came to detailing the figure I used my brushes. This is my favorite part, be it a model A/C or a figure. For me the detailing is the best part, it brings the model to life.

After assembling the major parts of the figure I gave the kit a complete primer coat with Anthracitgrau RAL # 7016. I have used this before as a primer and have had nothing but good results. It highlights the areas that need attention while helping to fill in those areas that have very small imperfections. The added benefit is that this prime coat works very well with all the other applications of paint both enamel and acrylic.


 

Sources

  1. Japanese Naval Aviation Uniforms and Equipment 1937-45.  Gary Nila, Ill. By Bill Younghusband.  Osprey Publishing 2002. Elite Series ISBN 1-84176-465-5.
  2. Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Uniforms & Equipments 1975. The rest of the book is Japanese Sorry!

 

 

Conclusion

 

Overall I think that Miniature Alliance did a really nice job on this kit and in my opinion although a little tough on the wallet, I found it to be worth the purchase. This is only my third time building and painting a figure. And Iím no expert by any means. But I had so much fun tinkering with this pilot and I was able to try many new techniques that have crossed over to help me do a better job on the A/C kits I build.

I can highly recommend this kit to both the professional and amateur figure builders.

In the future I would really like to see more Japanese Pilot figures from this and other companies. 


 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2004 by Bobby McElroy
Page Created 04 August, 2004
Last Updated 03 August, 2004

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