New year, new build. This time it’s the Italeri rebox of the Accurate Miniatures’ 1994 release. The Italeri boxing was released in 2013 with new marking options. Boxart is quite striking and the box is quite big but it turns out the 4 runners really only barely filled 1/2 of it.
Interior details are nicely detailed though not quite as sharp as more modern kits.
The nose if molded as a separate piece of 2 halves and the instructions call for the these to be put together then connected to the fuselage which is also made up of 2 halves. I decided to attach each nose half to each fuselage half instead which should reduce the chance of any steps from occurring at the nose-to-fuselage joint later.
The sidewall details are nice and more than adequate for my needs.
So are the details in the landing gear bay.
What makes the A-36 an A-36 (and not simply a re-named P-51) are the additions of dive brakes on both surfaces of the wings. These add the capability for the A-36 to divebomb. Though nicely done, they are unfortunately molded in place.
The pilot seat attaches to the floor with only 2 thin rods. I don’t think that will be strong enough so I decided to reinforce how they join.
I added plastic plates onto the bottom of the seat. These plates will attach to the control stick rod on the floor plate and add 1 more point of connection.
0.8mm of spacers was enough for the seat to er… seat properly. And they are small enough not to be visible from above.
The rear wheel comes molded as 1 piece and will need to be attached at the beginning of construction. There’s no practical way to modify it to be inserted at the end of the build instead so I really hope it doesn’t break off…
The horizontal stabs and the landing gear were quickly prepped. Italeri provides both weighted and non-weighted wheels as options in the box. I do believe that this is the first kit I’ve done that has weighted wheels.
The kit comes with pair of 500 lbs bombs made up of 6 parts each. The 4 fins on the back are fiddly though since they are butt jointed. It took a bit of eyeball 1.0 to get them to line up properly.
A dryfit test shows that the kit should fit fine except for the bottom of the left wing being slightly warped and sink marks on both top and bottom sides of the nose.
Painting the cockpit is next and I can start cementing everything together.
Before painting, the tedious task of fixing seamlines and sprue marks begin. I’ve been turning to using an old bottle of Tamiya IJN Gray as a primer coat to reveal the problem areas. Various fillers were used including AK Interactive putty, super glue and epoxy putty.
Painting can then begin! I decided to go with the default colors with a bit of variety by making the red areas 2 tone. As is usual by now, I primed all the parts in black. Then I added a marble coat using white paint. I hope that the main colors will be thin enough for this marble coat to show through and add some ‘texture’ to the paint job. The 2 tones are done with a base of darker red, masked with blutack, then straight red over.
However, the 2 shades are a tad too similar so the 2 tone effect is quite subtle. I think it looks OK though and since I managed to get the marble coat underneath to show through, I’m moving on.
The 2-tone reds are more obvious on the shield though not by much. Blink and you’ll probably miss it.
With the modifications, the kit is now taller and compares nicely with the Jegan. Pre-mods it’ll probably only reach the Jegan’s shoulders.
Painting is now done and finishing is next.
After a gloss coat, I added decals. Weathering begins with a going over with sponge chipping using dark brown, medium gray and white paint.
After a gloss coat, panel washing, streaks and fading are next to finish this kit.
As is now usual, I start with a base of black.
Next is a white marble coat.
The main color is Panzer Grey with red for the chevrons. These were sprayed slightly thinned so the marble coat shows through.
The decals come from the Wave PKA Konrad kit as the original Nitto ones have yellowed and were unusable.
For weathering, I went with oil paint dots of yellow, blue, white and red.
I randomly dot the whole kit with various colors then blend together with a brush soaked in turpentine.
I also used white to add streaks.
This method ties the 2 contrasting colors together. It also adds subtle variations to the overall paintjob and makes the whole thing look ‘lived in’.
Next I start to ‘beat up’ all the surfaces with various filters, washes, sponge chipping and streaks. The clear parts were also given a wash with white and dust colored oil paints to grime them up.
The base was done with various grades of sand from Woodland Scenics. These were painted with various shades of brown then given brown and dark gray washes. Tufts of grass were added to break up the monotony.
Once attached to the base, I did additional weathering with dust and brown colored pigments.
I gave the kit a half day to cure and misted a flat coat to knock down some of the remaining glossy areas. All done!
Next up is yet another kit that I have finished snapfitting for a long time. It also continues my EFSF grunt mobile suit collection (what a mouthful).
This is one of the earlier HGUC releases so it suffers from the typical problem of its vintage: overly large hands, limited poseability and a somewhat squat stature. I decided to modify this kit slightly. I began by extending all the limbs: forearms, thighs, lower legs and the front skirts. These were extended between 1.5mm to 2mm by simply chopping them in half, inserting plastic card between the halves, then trimming them. The front skirts were also separated so they can move individually.
The overly squat chest also needed some modifications. To ease painting, I cut off the connections for the lower torso.
Doing it this way lets me paint the torsos separately and I can insert the lower to the upper torso later.
I also modified the neck by moving the polycap up 1mm and holding it in place with a wad of epoxy putty. The lower torso was also extended by about 1.5mm by stacking plastic card on the bottom.
I definitely prefer how it looks now.
The EFSF logo is embossed on the shield and like my previous GM Command build, I trimmed this off and will replace it with a decal.
Much to my ‘surprise’, I managed to lose the left ‘ear muff’ so I replaced it with a Kotobukiya round mold with 2 0.5mm brass rods inserted as antenna. After I was done, the missing part turned up. Oh well.
Another part I lost while this was in storage was the cockpit door. I fashioned a new one. It looks sufficiently different from the original but I like it this way so it differentiates the space from the ground versions.
Since this is the space variant, I added additional vernier and round molds to the legs.
I closed up the hole on the right forearm since it won’t be carrying anything there. I also closed up the hole for the antenna on the right shoulder.
Ready to move on to the next step!
The kit decals went on OK. Some are robust and took handling and adjusting well but others did tear and some careful re-alignment was needed.
I also made a big mistake in putting the SMS logo on the wrong side of the tailfins. I had to carefully re-hydrate them to move them to the correct side. In the process I managed to strip the black color on one of the tailfins. So I carefully sanded and buffed the area, masked off the existing decals, then re-sprayed black. It looks OK now.
The whole point of going with Ozma Lee’s VF-25S colors is the very cool skull logo on the back of his VF-25. Thankfully Hasegawa designed it in 3 parts. Due to their intricate design, I went with decals for the yellow and black chevrons. The other yellow markings were masked and sprayed. The 2 shades of yellow don’t quite match but I’ll live with it.
Once the decals have cured, the kit was wiped down, dusted and sprayed with another gloss coat to prepare for the panel wash and weathering.
Weathering begins with a panel wash using Mig AMMO Deep Brown wash. Is it better than the usual oil paint sludge? Not really. But it’s ready to use out of the bottle.
I’m not neat about it at all. What matters more is that the wash gets into all the panel lines.
After 30 minutes or so, I wipe down the kit with a paper towel lightly dampened with odorless turpentine.
I tried my best to wipe from the front to back direction. This follows the direction of airflow (er… yeah even though these things usually fly in a vacuum).
Next I added filters, discoloration, faded the decals and streaks using the same brown wash in addition to white and black oil paints. The efforts are more obvious in the light gray areas.
I made sure to add streaks on the wing actuators.
The overall markings and (especially) the skull doesn’t look as stark now.
Final assembly of the parts is next and I can call this done.