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Double Japanese build! Ki-44 and Ki-84 -- 1/72


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I've been planning to do the Ki-44 Tojo for a couple of months now and it has finally bubbled up to the top.

 

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This *might* be the kit that I've had longest in the stash.  It was from my first year of college when my parents gave me all the Hasegawa fighters for Christmas (my recent Tony was also from that Christmas).  There are a couple other in the stash that are about as old, so I'm not certain.  At any rate, I also have a Ki-84 Frank sitting around (also from that Christmas, but made shortly after that) waiting to be rebuilt.  I realized that most of the painting tasks would be the same on both models, so it's a double build.

 

About a week ago, I put the Frank in the freezer and after sitting there overnight parts were actually falling off!  I took it apart as much as I could and then gave it a bath in Simple Green, which made short work of the paint.  I left the landing gears alone as I usually end up breaking them somehow.  Here's where it was at when I started this build:

 

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The decals are from the replacement Frank build I did a couple months ago.  Before disassembly and stripping, the Frank looked like this:

 

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The prop was unpainted because I'd already nicked it for the replacement build.  It wasn't a bad build or finish, I just know about NMF now and the old kit was just spray-bombed with Testors rattle-can silver.

 

I've spent what little time I've had this week making cockpits.  I think it was mostly a fool's errand, especially for the Tojo because it has such a small opening. 😕 But I really couldn't help myself, first because I got some new tools and supplies and second, this was the stock cockpit:

 

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I just couldn't let that be.  :D  A few minutes with my files, Dremel and razor saw and I had this:

 

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The floor was very narrow compared to the width of the fuselage, so I had to make a new floor:

 

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I then fabricated a new seat mainly by eyeballing some pictures and using various thicknesses of sheet styrene:

 

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Using reference photos of mainly aftermarket model cockpits, I started making the various levers and doo-dads to go in the cockpit.  I was having fun with my new micro drill bits an lead wire:

 

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The Frank cockpit is not nearly as bad, but the seat isn't terribly accurate:

 

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I decided not to put too much effort into it because, looking at my other Frank, it's hard to really see how inaccurate it is when installed.

 

 

I used my new drill bits and hand drill to put the appropriate holes in.  As with the Tojo, I used reference photos of mostly aftermarket model cockpits to make all the necessary levers and such.  The Tojo and Frank cockpits are very similar (probably since they're from the same manufacturer) which is a good thing because when I was done with the Tojo cockpit I realized that I was looking at the Frank cockpit picture! 🙄 :facepalm:  So, the Tojo cockpit has an extra lever on the floor.  Turns out you can't see it anyway.

 

Here's where they were at when I was done slinging the styrene around:

 

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Frank on the left, Tojo on the right. 

 

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I then turned to the side walls.  Here's the Tojo sidewalls:

 

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The Frank was a bit of a challenge because I was not able to get the fuselage halves apart without a lot of force and I didn't want to break anything.  So I added the side wall detail from underneath.

 

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So last night I painted and added tape seat belts and here's where I'm at now:

 

Frank:

 

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Tojo:

 

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The Frank sidewalls:

 

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And the Tojo sidewalls:

 

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Sorry for the picture heavy start, but I may not see the cockpits again! :D 

 

My plan is to paint the national markings on both aircraft.  Both have the Hinamaru with the white "bandages" and the Tojo decals are too yellowed with age, while the Frank's Hinamaru were used a couple months ago!  After getting the fuselages together and seams prepped, I'm going to primer, paint the white "bandages" on, followed by the Hinamaru, and then mask those prior to starting the NMF.

Edited by opus999
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Didn't quite get to where I wanted last night.  My goal was to have both fuselages together.  Instead I got the Frank's fuselage together and the wings on

 

f8CjVo4.jpg

 

I even remembered this time to fill in the seam where the wings meet the fuselage (between the flaps).  I can't believe that I missed that on the last Frank build (well, maybe I can... with all the disaster around that build).  Every time it comes up on the screen saver I grit my teeth. 😠  On the bright side, its probably one of the easier fixes you can make after the build is done.  Well, at least I avoided it this time!

 

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One thing I didn't avoid though.  I kept telling myself to remember to put the instrument panel in before gluing the cockpit in.  So guess what I forgot!  I thought I might be able to pop the cockpit back out, but it is stuck in there good!  I eventually got it in there and in place, but it took a half hour or more. Since I couldn't get the fuselage completely separated, I had some extra seam work fixing my carelessness from the first time I built it.  It took longer than expected.  The cover that goes on the front of the cowl was remarkably easy to fill and shape this time around.  Also much easier this time compared to a couple months ago were the wings.  They fit beautifully! On the kit i built a couple months ago it seemed to be a fair amount of work to get them to look right, but no sweat this time.  I don't know why that is.  This kit is older, which means the molds were newer... maybe the fit on the older kit is better for that reason?  I dunno...

 

On the Tojo front, all I accomplished was painting the engine black (in preparation for covering it with pencil lead) and getting the decal on the world's smallest IP:

 

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I hope to have the Tojo at the same stage as the Frank today.  Ideally I could do a little painting, but it will be hard to say if I will get there.  Lots to do this weekend, and at some point I need to swap out a hard drive in one of my kids' laptops, which looks like a real bear from what I see on some videos i watched.  Not the most well designed laptop. :( 

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Thanks Mark! Glad to have you!  I'm happy with the cockpits -- too bad they aren't easily seen. 😕 but I just can't help myself... I'm too compulsive! :D 

 

Too bad you used "I think I'm turning Japanese..." already!  🤣

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36 minutes ago, opus999 said:

Too bad you used "I think I'm turning Japanese..." already!  🤣

It's not copyrighted (at least not by me!) so feel free :) 

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I set my sights on the Tojo today.  It has finely engraved panel lines, as opposed to the Frank, which has small raised lines.  All of the Tojo parts looked good, except for this part which seemed to have sunk along the seam:

 

XyMxcbO.jpg

 

In the end, that was easily sorted out with some CA and a little sanding. 

 

The fuselage fit together nicely with practically no sanding.  The wings, however really gave me fits.  The underside wing tips had a step that took a lot longer to fix than I liked.  Where the wings met the fuselage toward the back, the seam was pretty bad, which seems to usually be the case.  After quite a bit of sanding and filling, I finally got it looking OK.

 

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Surprisingly, despite the troubles the wings were giving me, the wing root joints needed practically no work.  

 

The gear bay set up is a little strange.  Where the wheel goes, there is nice detail, but then where the rest of the gear sits, it's open to the top of the wing.  Although it's probably not very accurate, I put a little ribbing in to give it some visual interest.  I was trying to figure out a way to fill that bay in, but I couldn't come up with a good solution, so this will have to do:

 

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So, here's where it is at tonight -- pretty  much the same stage as the Frank.  The cowling is tacked on.  I think I will keep from permanently attaching it until the end so that I can paint details like the exhaust stacks and under the cowl.

 

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For fun, when I took the Tojo wing off the parts tree, I put it on top of the Frank's wing.  What a difference!  Wow!

 

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Hopefully I can start painting tomorrow, but I need to fix the kiddo's laptop and I don't know how long that's going to take.  So who knows?

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Well, the Shoki sure has small wings! Seeing this I can understand why Japanese pilots didn't like it, that small wing must have high loading and can't generate enough lift in tight turns. Definitely an oddball for the IJAAF but I really like that small, stubby plane.

 

Looks good so far, thumbs crossed you don't have any issues on this build!

 

Still amazed you're rebuilding that Ki-84, it already looked better than the models I make! 🤣 

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On 4/2/2021 at 3:24 AM, opus999 said:

Sorry for the picture heavy start, but I may not see the cockpits again! :D 

No. Pictures are good. In fact tbh sometimes I just look at the pictures I n the threads and don’t read the text.

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4 hours ago, Ventsislav Gramatski said:

Well, the Shoki sure has small wings! Seeing this I can understand why Japanese pilots didn't like it, that small wing must have high loading and can't generate enough lift in tight turns. Definitely an oddball for the IJAAF but I really like that small, stubby plane.

Isn't it amazing?  It's like the IJA version of the F-104. 🤣 Still, like you said, its odd design has really won me over... I really like its look!  Glad I've got another in the stash. ;) 

 

4 hours ago, Marklo said:

No. Pictures are good. In fact tbh sometimes I just look at the pictures I n the threads and don’t read the text.

Ah good... frankly there are days I just want to post pictures and not write...

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  • 4 months later...

Well... it's been a while, hasn't it?  I don't know what started it, but I hit a slump.  I just didn't want to work on these, or any other models, or even bother to log in and look in on the builds I was following.  Which is weird because I've been an aviation/modelling geek since I can remember.  The same thing has happened with my other interests too.  Not all, but most.

 

So here I am again.  I don't really feel like restarting work on these, but my wife thinks that doing a little work might get the interest started again.  Maybe, but I have sat at the bench at various times in the last 4 months and tried to get going, but it just felt like... work.  Can you be bored by something you like to do? 🤔

 

If I had been working on these, progress would've been slow since it was a busy summer.  My oldest graduated from high school, and we had various in-laws staying with us until the 4th of July.  Plus various other activities since then.

 

The part that bothers me is that being away so long means there's a good chance that people don't remember me.  Let's face it, on-line, where people can't actually see your face, it can be really easy to forget people if they don't make their presence known.  I felt like I was starting to make a couple friends, too... :( 

 

The other disappointment I have is that my enforced telecommuting has given me the opportunity to thin out the stash a bit and actually confine it to a single cabinet again (instead of spilling out to other areas).  One of these days I will be told to go back and I can kiss at least an hour of each work day goodbye thanks to commuting, and that will mean no more week-day modelling.

 

But, that's all under the bridge and now I'll do a couple tasks on these and see if I can't get some enthusiasm back...
 

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You can try summoning the demons from Selzar to regain some enthusiasm!

 

Back to reality, try looking at some documentaries about Japanese (or another nationality) aircraft. That may givr you more interest in your projects.

 

Edited by Sturmovik
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Hi Opus!

 

Great to see you post again! I've been wondering about you on and off for a while, particularly when I've hit a snag and seen you overcome something similar. Most recently I've been thinking about a couple of old Heller kits I'd like to build that have raised panel lines, so I've been re-reading your Monogram P-51 build.

 

We all get lows in every aspect of life, and the thing is to not beat yourself up about it. And that includes the fun things, too - things like modelling are about enjoyment and relaxation, and when they seem like a chore a break is the best tonic.

 

Sounds like you've been having a pretty busy time of it, too, and that's a massive pressure on free time. How's your son doing? Good, I hope! And congrats on the graduation.

 

Sounds like your wife is very supportive of the modelling, and she's right that a little bench time will rekindle the enthusiasm. But, if I may say so, perhaps a simple OOB shake-and-bake kit might be a good starting point? Something completely new that can be finished in a short period of time if you feel like it.

 

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! It's great to see you back, and don't be under any misapprehensions - you've got a lot of friends here on BM, and I'd like to consider myself one of them!

 

Take it easy!

Mark

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12 hours ago, opus999 said:

 Can you be bored by something you like to do? 🤔

Absolutely. How many times do you see people post mojo restorers, myself included.  Take a break or try something totally different.
 

It’s been a weird eighteen months and everyone is showing the strain. 
 

Oh and if it’s any consolation I do remember the sig.

Edited by Marklo
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On 8/15/2021 at 6:13 PM, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

No I still remember you, 😉

 

On 8/16/2021 at 6:06 AM, Marklo said:

Oh and if it’s any consolation I do remember the sig.

Well, that's nice to know.   This is the first real forum I've been on and it seems so easy to get lost in the mass of people here. :(

 

On 8/15/2021 at 6:15 PM, Sturmovik said:

You can try summoning the demons from Selzar to regain some enthusiasm!

 

Back to reality, try looking at some documentaries about Japanese (or another nationality) aircraft. That may givr you more interest in your projects.

 

I was poking around at the Aviation of Japan blog last night -- lots of cool stuff there to rekindle the enthusiasm.

 

On 8/15/2021 at 7:24 PM, 2996 Victor said:

Hi Opus!

 

Great to see you post again! I've been wondering about you on and off for a while, particularly when I've hit a snag and seen you overcome something similar. Most recently I've been thinking about a couple of old Heller kits I'd like to build that have raised panel lines, so I've been re-reading your Monogram P-51 build.

 

We all get lows in every aspect of life, and the thing is to not beat yourself up about it. And that includes the fun things, too - things like modelling are about enjoyment and relaxation, and when they seem like a chore a break is the best tonic.

 

Sounds like you've been having a pretty busy time of it, too, and that's a massive pressure on free time. How's your son doing? Good, I hope! And congrats on the graduation.

 

Sounds like your wife is very supportive of the modelling, and she's right that a little bench time will rekindle the enthusiasm. But, if I may say so, perhaps a simple OOB shake-and-bake kit might be a good starting point? Something completely new that can be finished in a short period of time if you feel like it.

 

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! It's great to see you back, and don't be under any misapprehensions - you've got a lot of friends here on BM, and I'd like to consider myself one of them!

 

Take it easy!

Mark

If you have any questions about the P-51 I'd be happy to help,although, truth be told, I put half that stuff in my build log just so I'll remember! :D 

 

It has been busy.  My son is doing very well -- he visited his cousins in Minnesota this summer (he and his cousins are vaccinated) and was able to navigate the joys of air travel as an unaccompanied minor and was very responsible managing his diabetes the whole time.  I was proud -- not sure if I could've done that at 14!  He just got an insulin pump, so that is making things easier.  He just got his booster shot yesterday, so that's a load off my mind now that school is starting in a couple weeks.

 

My wife is pretty supportive of my habit :).  She was trying to get me back to the bench off and on.  My home office desk is opposite the modelling desk and while I was "at work" a few times she'd come down and sit at the modelling desk and look at the planes and ask things like "so what's the next thing you have to do on these?", or "What color are these going to be again?" or "What's the next plane after these?".  Bless her!

 

On 8/15/2021 at 7:24 PM, 2996 Victor said:

you've got a lot of friends here on BM, and I'd like to consider myself one of them!

Indeed!  Same here!

 

On 8/15/2021 at 7:28 PM, Jackson Duvalier said:

 

Absolutely.  But the mood usually returns.  

 

Good to see you back!

Thanks Jackson.  We'll see how these turn out -- I'm already starting to remember my nefarious plans for finishing them.

 

On 8/16/2021 at 6:06 AM, Marklo said:

It’s been a weird eighteen months and everyone is showing the strain. 

Oh, boy that is so true.  And maybe one reason for my disinterest.

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So there were several suggestions to ease myself back into the hobby with a quick'n'easy kit.  The idea is appealing because I feel like there are a ton of details on these birds.  It might be nice to do something simple and blow the cobwebs out.  I was down looking at the stash and trying to whittle down my choices: low part count, decent quality to minimize the amount of filling and sanding and a straightforward paint scheme.  Oh, and I need to have the paint in-house!  For the zillion kits I have, I only had about 4 that checked all the boxes.

 

In the meantime, I thought I'd make sure the airbrush is working OK and maybe paint the red for the Hinamaru.  I don't have decals for the Frank, and the Tojo decals seem awfully bright.  I figured that might be an easy little task to knock the rust off the ol' skills.

 

Plus, I want to start poking around again with the folks I follow and see what they've been up to.  My notification icon had a huge number next to it when I first logged on...

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I airbrushed the red for the Hinamaru.  I didn't post photos 4 months ago, but I had primered with Mr. Surfacer 1500 gray.  When I did my Ki-61 Tony, I had to paint the Hinamaru on, and it was so thick to get the red the right color that there was a ridge all around the outside.  This time I'm going to try to avoid that.  First, I made some mottling with a dark gray I had, and then sprayed Testors Insignia red enamel, which made a horrible mess of my airbrush, pipettes and thinner jar.  Jeez, that stuff is really hard to clean up!

 

But, here they are.  You'll note on the Tojo that I painted red on the tails and the leading edge of the wing around the guns.  This was Testor's Ford Engine Red enamel.

 

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Next steps are to paint the ainti-glare on top, the Yellow leading edges, then mask all of those and the Hinamaru and paint the white "Bandages" around the Hinamaru.  Then I will mask the "bandages" and it will be time for the main coat of paint.  The Tojo will have the same colors as the Frank I did last November (TS-30 Silver leaf, and Alclad white aluminum).  The Frank has been difficult, but I think I have it figured out.  The Aviation of Japan blog is a gold mine of info.  I read what they had to say about Ki-84 colors and I think Mr. Color H129 Dark Green (Nakajima) over bare metal bottom is the way to go.

 

So a good start back at the bench.

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9 hours ago, opus999 said:

If you have any questions about the P-51 I'd be happy to help,although, truth be told, I put half that stuff in my build log just so I'll remember! :D 

Thanks, Opus :) - I should've added "and GDR MiG-23", of course! But I'll definitely drop you a msg if I need to know anything!

 

Really glad to hear that your son has come to terms with his condition and he's doing well! I know what you mean about travelling at that age: I'm certain I wouldn't have been able to do that! And your wife sounds like she's an absolute star! My own better half, Jane, is quietly indulgent of the hobby - we can't really be luckier, can we?

 

And a nice bit of progress on the Ki-44 and Ki-84, too! The reds look spot-on and you've got the next steps planned out, which is something I really should do as I more often than not sit down at my bench and spend 20 minutes pondering what to do. It's no wonder I make such glacial progress :D Have you decided to do a "quick build", if I can call it that? By the way, what are the short-listed kits?

 

9 hours ago, opus999 said:

Plus, I want to start poking around again with the folks I follow and see what they've been up to.

 

If you happened to look at any of my threads, I'm afraid you'd be disappointed. Unless of course you're happy to wade through a whole lot of daft verbage and cat photos :D 

 

It's great to have you back!

 

Kind regards,

Mark

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So, I'm going to have to switch gears to another build after all! 😕 I was refreshing my memory about the Frank at the Aviation of Japan blog and realized I made a critical mistake.  My subject aircraft is from 1945, and the page I just linked to states: "late-war factory applied scheme of olive brown with painted under surfaces" as opposed to "earlier 'Depot' or field-applied scheme of dark green over natural metal".  I corroborated this with another page at Aviation of Japan which reviewed decals for Franks from the same unit and were the olive brown color.  Unfortunately, I didn't make that needed paint order four months ago so I don't have the color I need. Nuts. I don't even have a green that's close (or a brown for that matter).  So I made that paint order last night!

 

And.... I'll be switching to a different build.

 

I could work on the Tojo, but several of the paint tasks are the same on both, and I'll waste less paint if I do them at the same time.

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13 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

we can't really be luckier, can we?

Boy, I'll say!

 

13 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

Have you decided to do a "quick build", if I can call it that? By the way, what are the short-listed kits?

 

Well, as you saw above, it was decided for me.  The short list is:

  • Hasegawa Fw-190A-7,
  • Fine Molds Ki-100,
  • Tamiya Spitfire Vb (I have decals for Don Gentile's Spitfire, but I have some questions... so...),
  • Academy F6F (This one's low on the list because I think there will be a fair amount of work weathering it properly)
  • Fine Molds Bf-109K-4 (which has quite a bit of mottling on it...)

The Fw-190 and the Ki-100 are the most likely.  The Fw only has a little mottling on the tail, so it's an easy paint scheme.  The Ki-100 is olive green top/metal bottom, so it too is an easy paint scheme.

 

I'll put a link here when I start a thread.

 

13 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

cat photos

I thought I saw something about a new kitten?  Need to check that out -- kittens are always good for a laugh and lots of pictures.

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Spitfire is probably the quickest and easiest camouflage. The german stuff would all likely have mottle, and the Ki-100 would be more of the Japanese and probably not help the mojo issues. What are the Gentile questions, I might have someone who can help ? If not I can try and do the digging around ? 

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4 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Spitfire is probably the quickest and easiest camouflage. The german stuff would all likely have mottle, and the Ki-100 would be more of the Japanese and probably not help the mojo issues. What are the Gentile questions, I might have someone who can help ? If not I can try and do the digging around ? 

The basic question is if anyone has any good side pictures of MD-T?  I found a couple of pictures of him standing by the front that seem to be everywhere.  I found one taken from the back quarter on the starboard side and the "T" in the squadron codes was directly under the cockpit.  This isn't how it's usually depicted. So I wondered if the "MD" on the other side was under the cockpit too.  Or even if the picture was really of his plane (although there can't be many "MD-T"'s out there).

 

If all else fails, I can just go with the instructions, but that one picture really has me puzzled!

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Hoping this helps.. I will endeavor to keep looking though. 
 

https://modelersalliance.org/threads/don-gentiles-spitfire-mk-v.154313/

 

About 1/2 way down the page (15th photo) there is a full on starboard photo of Gentile’s MD*T. 

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle
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All nice options - I've got the Fine Molds Ki-100 so if you do that one I'll be watching very closely! But I think Gentile's Spitfire Vb would be a great thing to do as it'll stand alongside the P-51B! And being Tamiya, it'll go together like a dream :) Either way, I'll be along!

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

BTW, our new kitten's name is Arthur: he's a complete buffoon :D last week, he got himself stuck 30ft up the tree in our garden. Guess who had to go up after him? Not great when you're carrying a significant lockdown weight penalty :D 

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