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First 'WIP' thread - Admiral/AZModel 1:72 Mitsubishi Ki-30 'Ann' Bomber


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Hi all, well here goes: my first 'WIP' thread on this forum.

In truth the plane is all but complete (in my eyes anyway) but I have amassed a collection of progress pics along the way which I have now managed to upload to Photobucket. I won't post them all at once, instead I will drip-feed the pics here - mainly because I'd like to gain maximum benefit from people's suggestions, hints, tips, ideas etc along the way.

For a bit of background, this is my first WW2 build in about 20 years, and although I know already of some mistakes I've made, I can at least say that it's a significant improvement on the one I made 20 years ago. I hope that by posting my progress here I will learn more about how to make even better models, from those who have obviously been there and done it all.

So, having spent a considerable while building a stash of models of various scales, subjects, manufacturers etc, I sat down one weekend in January this year with one box, which looked interesting. Also, from online searches it appears not many discussions were being had regarding the making of it, so if nothing else at least I was trying something unusual. The down side of that was, no real experience to learn from. Ah well, here goes.

To start with (and to prove to myself I have this 'embedding images' lark sorted) I offer the box-art:

 

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I will be honest and confess my ignorance here, I had no prior experience of manufacturers other than the 'big' names e.g. Airfix, Revell, Tamaiya etc. It further confused me to see on the instructions, the name 'AZ Model', which I had only vaguely heard of. Foolishly I neglected to take a picture of the sprues prior to commencing the build, but I can at least report that the moulding detail is fairly good, with little in the way of flash. The main annoyances were:

1. The instructions only give an diagrammatic indication of the part numbers at the start - no part numbers on the actual sprue itself. More than once I found myself looking at the diagram of what I was supposed to be building, then look at the sprue diagram to see where that part number was located, then to look at the actual sprue to try and find it.

2. There are no locating lugs anywhere for wings or tailplane, fuselage halves. So lining the parts up and keeping them there presented challenges a-plenty.

3. The undercarriage leg positions were 'helpfully' marked on the underside of the wings, however according to the paint diagram on the back of the box (which I neglected to notice until too late) said undercarriage should have been about 5mm further forward, such that one should be able to see the front of the wheels when viewing the aircraft from above. In my case, one definitely does not!

Other than that, though, it was an interesting kit to build - although as I mentioned, I haven't quite finished it yet.

OK, before I go any further I am going to post this to see if I've got the hang of this. If I have, then I will endeavour to post my pics at suitable intervals to allow for comments, questions etc!

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OK, that seems to have worked, so I will crack on.

I first sprayed the sprues with a car body spray primer, grey. Again I neglected to take a pic of that, but I dare say you will be able to conjure up a mental image, something not too dissimilar from the truth!

So first up, the flight deck, comprising the pilot's position and the rear gunner's at the back. The pilot is evidently of sufficient importance to justify a seat with a head rest whereas his colleague is not...

 

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It took a bit of getting used to but the instructions for each stage gave indicating code letters for colour schemes for the various components. Again, this meant constantly flipping back and forth trying to map between instructions, paint key and sprue whilst trying to paint the various small parts on the sprue.

At the moment I have no dedicated space to call my own where modelling is concerned, therefore I have yet to start building up a stock of realistic paints etc. What I do have in the meantime are a variety of Games Workshop acrylics, which I have taken to using by way of an approximation:

 

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Similarly for the fuselage interior, which has a modicum of detail moulded into it:

 

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I'll leave it there for now - a slow start, I admit, but I hope the story will start to take shape over the next couple of posts :)

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Hi Clive,

Off to a good start! :) How were the parts on the sprues, was there much in the way of flash, sink marks and so on? AZ seem to be pretty good.

All best regards

Tony

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Hi Tony, thanks. My first exposure to Admiral/AZModel, and all in all the moulding quality was pretty good. You can probably see some flash in my previous pic, around the edge of the cockpit. There was also some on the prop blades, but nothing major really.

Where the parts were connected to the sprue runners, the 'joins' were quite thick, which actually caught me out when I tried to remove the machine gun. Stupidly I used a craft knife, and too much pressure, which caused the part to 'ping' off into the unknown -where the legendary Carpet Monster was lurking ready to swallow up anything in its path...

After some good old Anglo Saxon invective to vent my feelings on the matter, I had a go at making something from a bit of brass wire and some odds and sods of plastic sheet:

 

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I acknowledge it looks as rough as a badger's derriere, but I figured that it was better to have something there than nothing at all. With a lick of paint, it didn't look too bad when one adopts the '2-foot' rule:

 

33507717081_84eb0813ea_b.jpg

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Some details were then added to the crew floor plate: instrument panels, joystick, rudder pedals, rear gun mounting. I also added some seat belts from some Kneadatite Duro, otherwise known as 'Green Stuff' (or in this particular case, 'Grey Stuff'):

 

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Then, prior to assembling the fuselage, the interior details of each half were painted:

 

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The problem I didn't appreciate at this time (but turned out to be a recurring theme) was that there were no obvious locating lugs for the floor plate to align correctly within the fuselage. This would catch me out later on, as you will see.

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Next up, I made up the wings - the usual thing, each wing in 2 halves. Again, the absence of any locating lugs made alignment a bit of a challenge. Fortunately the application of several clamps held it all together. I did, though, have to chop out a sizeable lump of plastic from the inside of each half before they would meet fully - presumably a by-product of the mould process ensuring the moulding was complete. Aside from that, there wasn't much in the way of flash, the moulding of the panel lines on the exterior looked pretty good to my untrained eye:

 

33253004320_afe6949b0b_b.jpg

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Fuselage was then put together with the assembled flight deck inside - very fiddly, and not helped by the absence of any locating lugs inside the fuselage halves. It's not apparent here (and neither was it at the time of course) but my attempts to keep the deck level failed, and as a consequence there is a slight list to port. I guess I am annoyed more with myself than anything, I should have cemented a piece of scrap sprue or something along the inside before assembling the 2 halves. Ah well, hopefully a lesson that someone else will benefit from eh:

 

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A small amount of filler was needed but that was ok. From this pic you get a better idea of the lean to port on the pilot's head-rest:

 

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Incoming 'annoyance alert'...

 

The prop spinner.

 

Now, I admit I am of, shall we say, a certain age. However, I still have childhood memories of making model kits and engaging in miniature dog-fights out in the street with similarly minded friends. Like you do... no? OK just me then. One of the earliest lessons I learned back then, was to always make sure you assembled your aircraft so that the prop always spun freely - preferably in such a way that merely running with one's charge held out in front (facing into the breeze of course) was sufficient for the prop to spin of its own accord. Dire consequences awaited anyone entering into battle with a glued prop. For one thing you got laughed at! Well it is a universal truth that old habits die hard, and so it was for me with this kit.

 

With this kit, there is absolutely no provision for the spinner to turn. The spinner shaft is only about 5mm in length, sufficient only to fit into the locating hole on the engine casting (which is one of the few resin parts in a mostly plastic kit). So, with outrage giving way to resolution, I decided I was going to make that spinner turn. I drilled out a hole through the engine, and similarly with the spinner shaft - and introduced a piece of brass wire about 1.5mm diameter - reasonably sturdy, but thin enough to allow me to drill a hole in the spinner to receive it. A bit of CA glue to hold it in place: job's a good 'un:

 

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I confess I did rather attract some attention as I ran up and down my street testing how freely it spun, but well I have certificates to prove I am not dangerous to the public so it's all good.

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I was about to fit the wings, when it occurred to me that the tailplane was going to need clamping in order to keep it aligned at the correct angle (no tabs or slots here either!) - so I elected to do that first:

 

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Once that was dry, then I was good to go with the wings - again the absence of tabs and slots etc meant that I had to ensure the wings were supported at the correct angle whilst the glue dried:

 

33253004670_78484107d2_b.jpg

 

With the best will in the world I was unable to get the wings to fit absolutely perfectly all round, as you can plainly see. So I put my trust in good old filler, and applied some once the wings were on securely:

 

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Once that had all gone off, it looked a lot healthier after a bit of sanding:

 

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Finally I was able to add the rear wings:

 

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Starting to look like it might fly...

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Prop assembly - originally I was going to bend the brass wire so as to lock it in to the engine block, but decided against it, in case for any reason I needed to remove the prop. The engine exhausts were essentially 2 blobs of plastic which didn't really do the look of the thing many favours. Yet again with the annoyances: the fitting of the prop nose cone was down to 'suck it and see' - I managed to get it more or less central so that it wasn't wobbling all over the place when the prop was spinning, but it took several attempts and yet more Anglo Saxon encouragement:

 

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A bit of drilling out made for a slightly better look on the exhaust, though:

 

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Note that also in this shot you can just about make out 2 small hatched areas adjacent to the wing 'fold', which serve to indicate where the undercarriage legs are to be located...

Edited by clive_t
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Nice work.

I especially like the seatbelts, most people use masking tape or lead foil.

If wings don't have tabs, to go into slots in the fuselage, you can use metal rod (inserted into holes drilled in he wings & fuselage) but you seem to have got on well without doing that.

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Thanks Mr Beard. Yes, I made those seat belts before I'd found this forum. As they stand they look a little on the thick side, but I will maybe try something else a bit thinner next time - masking tape sounds a good idea.

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Talking of undercarriage legs, that was the next stage. The "let's not allow anything to move on this model" philosophy on the part of the manufacturer apparently extends to the undercarriage wheels. No axle, nor any holes in the wheels to allow for it. Oddly enough, each wheel leg comes in two halves (no lugs, no tabs, no slots etc you get the picture). Like the engine, the wheels are also of resin, and not by any stretch of the imagination are they anywhere near circular!

 

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But flushed with the success of making a spinning propeller from a sow's ear, I sought to make wheels that would actually rotate, if not freely then at least with some modest encouragement. Cue another combined operation courtesy of the drill and brass wire:

 

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So then it was time to fix the wheels to the wings - it occurred to me that simply glueing the undercarriage to the wings was a bit of a weak joint and would therefore be at risk of breaking off. So I undertook to strengthen the joint with some brass posts:

 

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A bit of filler and all was looking good:

 

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There were still some small bits and pieces to fit, but their delicate nature demanded that I leave them until the last possible minute. So next stage was painting.

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I had seen elsewhere photos of models where people had deliberately sought to model the exposure of bare metal underneath the aircraft camo scheme, and it looked kind of neat to I thought I'd give it a go. With that in mind, I first applied a coating of Games Workshop 'Chainmail' - I guess a sort of moody silver colour. I had also been interested by various examples of 'pre-shading' panel lines to accentuate them when the camo coat was applied. However, everyone I'd seen do it, had done so with an air brush. I do possess one of these, but unfortunately it's in a toolbox languishing at the back of an extremely cluttered garden shed. So I obtained an black acrylic 'pen' with a very fine tip, to try as an alternative. The result was this:

 

33253005740_3edf4802e5_b.jpg

 

The other thing you may notice is the sudden appearance of something sticking out of the nose cone... another accidental discovery from elsewhere on the interweb was the fact that quite a few aircraft sported these little protuberances; I had assumed in my ignorance that it was some sort of gun. Not so! It is apparently part of the starting mechanism, known as a Hucks Starter. Essentially this was a lorry or similar with a starter motor on the back, which connected via a long rod to this connection on the prop nose cone. Ah well, one lives, one learns - and one curses for learning slightly later than one would have liked.

 

Of course, the kit instructions only made a passing reference to the presence of it - on the paint scheme diagram - but nowhere in the build instructions! Cue yet more cursing, drilling, glueing bits of brass wire etc...

 

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One other bit of painting at this stage - the bit of the fuselage covered by the canopy was meant to be black, so I duly obliged:

 

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Thanks for reading this far!

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Once the 'bare metal' base coat and pre-shading had dried, I sealed it with some 'Klear' floor polish - another new technique for me.

 

Then once that had dried, I set about applying some blotches of Maskol at various points around the fuselage, This would, I hoped, allow me to peel away some bits of the camo when the time came, to give a look of wear and tear.

 

One thing I learned whilst doing this, was the amount of money I paid for a small jar of Maskol must have paid for the addition of the pretty lilac pigment. Strip the colour away, and you're left with what I used to know as 'Copydex', and what my dear mother referred to as 'fish glue'. The smell is a dead give-away! I tried to be sparing in my application of it (I used a dish washing sponge to try and randomise the coverage a bit), however as it dries the Maskol became all but invisible, so the end result was likely to be very hit-and-miss. You can just make it out as streaks of purple in this pic:

 

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... I wonder if Copydex could be dyed with food colouring?

Possibly, although I imagine you'd have to maybe make up a small batch of it and get it in some sort of sealable container before it starts to go off. I think in my situation, had it been coloured black then it might have been easier to spot where I'd already applied it :)

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The box art on the other side of the box gives details of 3 different paint schemes to choose from (sorry for the blurry pic, taken with mobile in poor light):

 

32794159574_80edcb9239_b.jpg

 

This put me in a bit of a quandary, as I quite liked the ornate decals with options 2 and 3, but the overall paint schemes in those cases were a bit plain. So instead I went for option 1, on the basis that 3-tone camo subjects are, to my knowledge at least, quite unusual:

 

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Interestingly, the pen-drawn pre-shading seems to show up better than I'd expected. Similarly for the underside:

 

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This was followed up with a quick covering of Klear floor polish to seal it in again:

 

33253006950_41265f75ac_b.jpg

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With the painting done on the aircraft, I then looked at the canopy. This was a single moulded piece of clear plastic, which was a bit on the thick side. As I saw it, this presented me with 2 problems:

 

1. All my hard work detailing the cockpit was rendered all but hidden

2. The gunner was going to have a bit of a hard time shooting at anything, as according to the box art the rear part of the canopy had to be open in order to point the gun out.

 

So, I cut the canopy into the required sections and tried sanding and scraping away at the inside, making it thinner so as to allow for the pilot's canopy cover to at least sit in a 'slid back' position, and for the gunner's canopy to be tilted back into its open position. I had heard that dipping the sanded/scraped canopy parts in Klear made them all clear and transparent again. Possibly I did something wrong, as I didn't get the clarity I'd hoped for.

 

In the end, I abandoned the pilot's section and made my own from a thin piece of clear 'blister packaging' and some thin Plasticard strips:

 

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Then I masked the panes with masking tape (another first for me) before painting the camo onto each piece:

 

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I definitely did something wrong here, as the results with the masking tape removed were less gratifying than I was hoping for:

 

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For one thing I forgot to prime it using my usual grey spray primer; also, I think painting by brush probably didn't help; and to round it all off, I didn't really give the various layers of paint a chance to dry off and harden fully before attempting to remove the tape. Still, lesson learned and all that...

 

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Thanks Jake, I too am interested in unusual subjects or unusual variants on an otherwise popular theme. Anyway, in the matter of the decals I will keep you waiting just a little longer sir!

 

My next step was to gently remove the Maskol I had applied prior to painting the camo, and in doing so, learn exactly how much of the aircraft I had covered with it :). The answer: quite a bit :

 

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The next step was applying the decals. The complete set:

 

32794159304_619662eb3a_b.jpg

 

The decals are very thin, and cling to the rivet/panel detail quite well without obscuring it or the need for decal-fix - just as well, as I don't possess any! I would say the downside of that, particularly with the red circles on the upper wings, is that they look a little darker than I'd hoped for, probably because of the dark-coloured camo scheme underneath:

 

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I think in hindsight I might have been tempted to paint a white circle on the upper wings where the decals would go, to lighten them up a little. The underside:

 

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The other minor gripe I have with the white 'service' band decal around the fuselage: it's not long enough to fit entirely around the fuselage at the point prescribed by the painting/decaling instructions. But, it's a minor point I guess, I managed to get it to fit just in front of the tail section. Once they had been sealed in with yet more Klear, I then tried scraping with a craft knife, to show a bit of wear and tear on the insignia:

 

33253007850_73f0cd5300_b.jpg

 

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A bit of 'exhaust smoke blackening' on the underside:

 

33253008050_5588ec2c90_b.jpg

 

Then, another new technique for me: the use of thinned oil paints and 'pin-washing'. At this stage I also added the two bombs (more resin components):

 

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Then I fitted the canopy pieces, with the pilot's sliding canopy and the gunner's tilting canopy both in the 'open' position:

 

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So that's where I am with it as of right now. Hopefully more pics to come when I get round to completing it.

 

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I suspect that you've used ordinary household masking tape, which has coarse edges that allow paint to creep. The higher quality modeller's tape (eg Tamiya) is more expensive but holds a sharp line better.

The model is an AZ rework - clearly only slightly reworked - of an early Pavla kit. I think you've discovered why these weren't very highly rated. Even the early AZ kits were better than this one (i have one unfinished, but will get around to it sometime). They used a plastic that was hard, glossy, and difficult to work; at least that aspect is better on the rework.

The poor quality of Japanese paints is something of a myth, based on pictures taken at the end of the war when shortages of materials had begun to bite and aircraft were being painted without any primer. However it's a very interesting experiment that you've tried. Yes, Maskol and its various derivatives are basically the same PVC glue that you can get much cheaper. I must admit that I haven't actually tried using household products on models - apart from the classic Turps Subs and Kleer, of course.

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Nice kit you have there. Interestingly I'm doing my first WIP on here too, so we're in this thing together.

What masking tape did you use on the canopy? If it wasn't Tamiya then may I suggest you get a roll, it's the best darn masking tape I've ever used, let it dry too. Also a lesson I learned early on is to prime everything. Seems like a pain at the time but it pays dividends later on with paint coats staying in place while weathering.

I'll look forward to the decals going on. All the best sir.

( OK loads of posts just popped up, I'll give them a read. Dang! The curse of page 2. 🤓 Sorry if this post seems a little out of date. 😁 )

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