Eric Larson posted this great build on the Agape Models forum- great stuff Eric!
Just put the finishing touches on tonight. Here’s a recap and description of the final steps.
This is the first model on which I used Tamiya paints for the main colors. I absolutely love them! Thinned with PPG 876 Acrylic Lacquer Thinner, they airbrush beautifully and give a satin smooth finish. The model was first primed with Alclad Gray Primer before applying the color coats.
After reading all kinds of articles on the proper Nate color, I settled on using Tamiya XF-76 IJN Gray-Green straight from the bottle. The red on the nose and tail band is Tamiya XF-7 Red. Decals are a mix of Aeromaster for the national and unit markings and the kit’s for the stenciling. I have Aeromaster’s “Eagles of the Rising Sun” collection and it includes markings for a Ki-27 flown by ace Hiromichi Shinohara. There are 10 red star kill markings on his plane. I intended on doing his plane until I found profiles, from two sources, of one flown by ace Kenji Shimada. Shimada’s plane is almost identical to Shinohara’s except the latter’s does not have a tail band and Shimada had only 8 kills marked, also red stars. I liked the extra bit of color of the red tail band so by clipping two of the stars from the decals, I was able to to Shimada’s plane!
Pre- and post- decal gloss coats are also Tamiya but thinned with their thinner. After the final gloss coat was dry, I gave the entire model a wash of Burnt Sienna artist’s oil paint thinned with Turenoid. After letting that dry overnight I wiped off the excess with a soft cloth and cotton swabs lightly moistened with Turpenoid. This was all then sealed with Floquil Clear Flat, which actually dries to a satin semi-gloss sheen. I did not want a dead flat finish on this model as photos of the real planes appear to have a semi-gloss look. I could not see any chipping or wear in most Nate photos so there is none on the model. In fact, the planes in the majority of the photos I saw are quite clean. I used additional oil paint wash to do a bit of staining around the rear of the cowling.
Exhaust stains are airbrushed with a highly thinned mix of Tamiya Red-Brown and Black. I also did something I picked up from another Nate build article I found and that was to airbrush a light coat of dirt along the rear bottom of the fuselage and tail planes. I used PollyScale Railroad Colors “Dirt” for this. These planes flew from fields and unpaved dirt strips (note the tail skid) so there would be a coating of dust, dirt, and crud on the underside.
The trickiest part of the fiddly bits was the gun sight. Since I used a vac-form canopy, I had to drill a hole through the windscreen for the sight tube. As it comes in the kit, the sight is cast with its mount which fits into a slot in the fuselage. The kit canopy has a slot which then allows it to fit down over the tube. I had to remove the tube from the mount, which allowed me to install the base and clean up the seam. But, I then had to make mounting pegs and install the sight tube after the windscreen was attached. The rear mount is just a bit of styrene sheet but the forward mount is a little more complex. Based on photos and drawings from the Maru Mechanic book, I scratch built a bit from a chunk of styrene, sanded to a wedge shape, then a piece of brass wire inserted into a hole drilled into the tiny wedge. Crazy, I know, but it turned out good!
The wing walkway is painted using Floquil Weathered Black and stained with pastels and tan and brown acrylic craft paints thinned with water and dabbed on with cotton swab and paint brush.
The antenna wires are smoke colored “invisible thread” attached with super glue. Insulators are dabs of craft glue (like Elmers) painted an off-white.
The kit pitot tube was replaced with one made from styrene rod, hypodermic tubing, and the elbow section from the kit piece.
As you can see here, very little of the engine detail is visible past the oil cooler radiator. I added thin strips of styrene to the back of the oil cooler to move it out from the engine to a position that matches photos of the real thing. I also added brace straps from thin strips of Evergreen styrene. I added push-rods from styrene rod but they are pretty much totally hidden. Oh well, I know they are there!
All in all, a fun build and a kit that even after all these years can hold its own with the latest and greatest releases!