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  1. I've an abiding interest in the Gloster Gladiator, and in China's pre-Communist history. These overlap, since the first time Gladiators were flown in combat was on the south coast of China early in 1938. They had been more or less smuggled in crated from Hong Kong, surreptitiously assembled in the environs of Canton, and dispersed into the provincial hinterland. In February, the 28th Squadron and 29th Squadron of the CNAF had between them about a dozen operational Gladiators at Nangxiong, deep in the interior of Guangdong Province. Japanese naval aviation off the coast at this time comprised the aircraft carried on two seaplane tenders, the Notoro and the Kagu Maru. On February 24, these sent a dozen Nakajima E8N Type 95 floatplanes to bomb the Nangxiong airfield. Their long flight in gave adequate warning, and all operational Gladiators were off the ground and high enough to engage when the Japanese arrived. I've had an Airfix Gladiator earmarked a while for a Chinese example, and when I found there was a kit of the E8N, I liked the idea of doing a sort of 'dogfight double' build. It's proved possible to identify a plane from each side which took part in the initial clash: the Gladiator flown by the deputy commander of the 29th Squadron, and the E8N Type 95 flown by the leader of the Notoro's contingent. I've started the project with the Type 95 floatplane, and not just the kit but the base. I don't like the 'dollied' look for floatplanes, and there's not much stand alone space on a tender. If it's on a sea base, it has to have a crew, they didn't lower these overside empty. And the crew shouldn't just sit there like lumps, either. So the first thing I did was see if I actually could make a decent sea base. With some help from gentlemen who frequent the diorama forums here, I learned of a cheap and cheerful way to do it. This is layers of facial tissue, six or seven deep, soaked in diluted white glue. It becomes a sort of gel which can be pushed about to take and hold a shape. It's backed by a disk of styrofoam, but anything would do. A cavity for the float was cut out of the backing, and then 'surface' over it was cut away. The surface was colored with thinned coats of dark green, light brown, and dark blue. With the float pressed in place, a bit more 'surface' was added, and the whole thing given a final few glossy blue glaze coats, with some shading and highlights picked out. The kit has a nice interior, and fit together well. Locator pits for struts need enhancement, I think. I've done the interior in the dark blue I understand to have been used pre-war by Nakajima, and have left out a few items figures will render extraneous. With the kit at the 'starts to look like an aeroplane' stage, I've made a run at perching it atop the float set in the base. The kit's forward float struts seemed a bit long, fiddling with one I dropped it, and since I had to replace one, I did them all so they'd match. Their attachment to the float is permanent, the fuselage is held atop them at present only by white glue. The colors are home-brew, brush-painter's pre/post shading done with a school pencil. Color coats are artist's tube acylics cut thin with Future and water and a touch of dish detergent, each of several coats is gone over a while with a 5000 grit sponge-pad when dry. I'm getting started now on the Gladiator. I'll be making use of the ExtraDecal Gladiator sheet markings in part. Having committed to a vignette arrangement for the Type 95, I'll be doing some more elaborate groundwork, and will finish the Gladiator with the hood and port panel open for a boarding pilot.
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