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Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko

by Chris Wauchop

 

Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko Type 11 (early)

images and text by Brett Green


Tamiya's 1/48 scale J1N1S Gekko is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

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

Chris reported that this kit was beautifully detailed and that construction was effortless.

 

 

Construction

 

Tamiya's 1/48 scale Gekko was built basically out of the box, with the only additions being simple enhancements from material at hand.

In the cockpit, harnesses were added from strips of lead foil. Buckles were not visible in reference photos so were omitted.

The interior of the airframe received a base coat of Tamiya's recently released Titanium Silver enamel paint. Chris was very impressed with the finish and the smooth application out of his Testor A470 airbrush. A mix of Tamiya Clear Blue and Clear Green in equal portions was sprayed over the silver base coat for the Aotake sections.

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 landing gear indicators on the wings..

 

 

The cover for the oblique cannon in the fuselage was left unglued. The fit was so good that there were no gaps when the part was pressed shut, and it can also be displayed open when desired.

Gun barrel ends were hollowed out with a scalpel blade. The machine gun assembly, framework and gun barrels were painted Tamiya Flat Black then burnished with a 2B lead pencil.

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.

Tyres were flattened with a sanding stick and solder was used for the brake lines.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The overall camouflage colour is a mix of Gunze IJN Green and Tamiya IJN Green, warmed slightly with Tamiya IJA Green. The mix consisted equal parts of the three colours.

 

 

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 centre of each panel was lightly oversprayed with the base colour mixed with Tamiya Yellow Green. This was very thinly and lightly applied. Vertical streaks were also added using this same colour.

The engine cowls were painted with a 50:50 mix of Tamiya Flat Dark Blue and Flat Black. These parts were then 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 impressive paint chipping effect was achieved exclusively with a silver artist's pencil. Even the heavy wear on the wing roots was applied by gradually building up tiny dots from the tip of the silver pencil.

Chris has just started dipping his canopies in Future to improve shine and clarity, but he has not had much luck so far. Although he is using Future from the same bottle as mine (I decanted some of the original American formula into a jar for him) and using Tamiya masking tape as I do, he has had problems with the Future lifting from the clear parts when the masking tape is removed. He encountered that problem on this canopy too - on the port quarter window of the windscreen - but managed to hide the resulting flaw. This is a bit of a mystery, as I have never had any such problem. I am sure that Chris would be grateful for any suggestions to avoid this problem!

The canopy frames were masked with Tamiya masking tape. To further highlight this prominent area, a thin wash of acrylic black paint was run along the edges of each canopy frame. The effect is subtle, but certainly adds depth to the framing.

Kit decals were used 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.

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!

 

 

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model by Chris Wauchop
Images and Text Copyright 2003 by Brett Green  
Page Created 08 April, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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