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F4F-4 Wildcat B5N2 Kate Airfix Dogfight Double


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Painting a B5N2 from the Midway era requires a lot of research as much primary source evidence is missing or are USN photos taken during combat action--I think the goal of research for this subject should be to make one comfortable of color choices vice a definitive color choice as much more seems to be left to interpretation compared to some contemporary Allied subjects.  To further complicate color selection, Hiryu's famous B5N2 BI-310 flown by Lt Tomonaga is a known Pearl Harbor strike participant but no photos exist of it--I hear Johnny @The Spadgent's wonderful lesson on photo evidence--once you think you cant find the photo & build the model, the photo you were searching for will turn up🤣

 

It is known that many of Hiryu's Kate's were overpainted with a dark green topcoat to assist in their strikes on Pearl Harbor's shallow waters.   Based on @Greenshirt's/@Marco1965 builds and @Nick Millman's comments on @coolhand's Kate Top Color thread along with his work on the Zero available for purchase/his SAM Combat Colours  No 9: Mitsubishi Zero I decided this B5N2 was both well maintained and well used.  The base photo I used of Hiryu's BII-307 around the time of Pearl Harbor seems to be relatively familiar to Kate enthusiasts,  but I will link it below for reference.

 

k6r7a67aht361.jpg

 

 

 

As I think my way forward, I think I need to shoot for 2 schemes--the factory applied Nakajima Amber Grey topped with unit applied IJN D1 Deep Green Black.  The Deep Green will need to look worn, applied without primer and well maintained--indeed many of the blury stills from Midway of Kates appear to be more solid green vice patchy--this probably due to the nature of carrier operations--just compare photos of land based F6Fs to carrier based aircraft (albeit with only factory applied paint).  I decided that the cowling would be what most term to Mitsubushi Cowling Color, as it appears from Nick's research this was an IJN standard for their aircraft.  Given the overpaint, I decided that I needed to paint the Hinomarus, walk ways and red brown hinges/landing gear indicators. I also determined the fuselage area under the canopy was painted Nakajima Amber Grey at the factory and not overpainted in D1 green. With this as the plan I decided on the following paints:

 

 - Nakajima Amber Grey--MMP-110 Gray Japanese Zero Amber--very close to ACJ17 Nakajima Amber Grey (trying to use waterbase as much as possible)

- Amber grey for cloth surfaces--Tamiya XF-11--I went with this as I was looking for a worn look on the cloth surfaces

-  IJN D1 Deep Green Black--MMP112 D1 Deep Green Japanese WWII--very close to Nick's D1 IJN Green Chip to my eye

- Faded IJN Deep Green for cloth surfaces--a mix AK IJN D1 with Ak off white--looking for contrast

- Tamiya XF-1--scalloped area befind engine

- Cowling Colour (Mr Color)--cowling

- Light grey  XF-66 (Tamiya)--walkways

- Red brown XF-64--hinges, landing gear indicators

- ACJ20 Hinomaru Red--national markings

 

As my goal is a well used machine operating from a carrier I turned to the idea of chipping the green topcoat while minimal weathering for the factory applied colors.  In order to achieve this I will use chipping fluid and salt above the Japanese Zero Amber.  My first step was a coat of Tamiya Aluminum to catch scratches and the like--also note the wire to replicate the front canopy rail (great thanks to @Marco1965 for pointing this noticeable detail that Airfix overlooked in his build)

 

DSCN3493

 

Not sure as to what canopy version I wanted, I decided to test and build my skills and mask all of them.  I followed @Marco1965's build along with others from @The Spadgent, @giemme, and @billn53 and masked the interior framing given the complexities of an opening canopy's framing. 

 

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Satisfied with masking and the elimination of scratches revealed by the aluminum paint, I sprayed on Mission Models Grey primer.  

 

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I then pre-shaded using black XF-1 and XF-66 on some panels--I focused the black on the wings around the wing fold area along with the typical control flaps.

 

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I then painted control surfaces Tamiya XF-76 about 70% thinned and the overall Nakajima Amber.  Of note, Mission Models are very unique with thinning--I thinned to about 40% with poly--I find consistency becomes difficult beyond this ratio.

DSCN3530 DSCN3531

 

Next up will be the canopy install and factory details before moving on into green overcoat--thank you all for your inputs-- @opus999 will be happy to see a stencil to help with the unit applied paint scheme 🙂 Best to all & always thoughts on how to improve or deepen my skills always welcome Erwin 

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Happy New Year and I hope everyone is doing well.  The Kate build continues at my typical glacial pace 🙂  Inspired by efforts from @giemme, @The Spadgent, @billn53, @opus999 or @RidgeRunner I decided to paint on the Hinomarus, wing fold mechanism, anti-glare area and walkways to assist in future masking and weathering.   My objective is to ensure that these look like factory applied markings that the depots or units who applied Pearl Harbor cammo colors attempted to conserve.

 

First up is the black anti-glare scallop (note I removed the unglued cloth surfaces--Airfix did a great job with the tolerances here and simple friction is holding these parts in place). I used the picture of Hiryu's BII-307 as a guide and sprayed Tamiya flat black at 50/50 at about 10- 12 PSI from my Badger Patriot.

DSCN3537 DSCN3539

 

Unmasked and with aircrew heads back on 🙂.  Please note the firewall is masked and it will retain its aotake finish on the finished model.

 

DSCN3541DSCN3542

 

Inspired by one of @opus999's recent Japanese builds, I will paint on the Hinomarus.  My goal with painting these markings is to replicate the rough "halo" @Marco1965 shared here of Pearl Harbor Kates in his build with silly putty, salt and chipping fluid.  I just dont think this particular marking  will look right with a decal added at the end of the build. Also, I do not think the decal will stand up to all the weathering if I put it on at this point in the build.

 

w6scJYb.jpg

 

This is also my first use of Colour Coates since I was able to acquire their thinners--really looking forward to this given all the rave reviews on this paint. Given that I do not trust my circle drawing skills, I sprang for some Dead Design Models masks and re attached the cloth areas for painting.  As expected, Colour Coates preformed flawlessly at a 40 paint/60 thinner ratio at approx 10 - 12 PSI.

 

DSCN3554 DSCN3557 DSCN3558 DSCN3559

 

Red-brown wing-fold mechanisms parts (I think this is what they are) and light grey walkways. Also note the torpedo sight 

 

DSCN3567 DSCN3568

 

The Kate's lines in a near factor scheme are clean and elegant--this feature was always clouded by the splotchy cammo schemes in the photos I have seen.  I also am super impressed with painting markings--will be looking for opportunities to mask markings again in the future--however, finding masks for 1/72 markings seems harder than 1/48 & 1/32.  While it will be sad to see the clean factory appearance disappear under cammo, I am excited to attempt replicating a heavily weathered, well maintained and field sprayed top coat of J1 Deep Green.  I will be using AK Chipping Fluid and salt to assist in creating this effect.  Look forward to everyones thoughts on where I can improve--again, Happy New Year!  Best, Erwin  

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Wow! That is really looking gorgeous!  I can see why you will be sad to cover up the factory finish, it really looks sharp.  The Hinamaru came out really well -- good call on getting pre-cut circle stencils!  I can tell you from experience that cutting  your own circles can be a very frustrating experience at times.

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Great choice about painting the markings, Erwin! :thumbsup: Looking splendid :clap: 

 

Happy New Year to you too!

 

Ciao

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Thanks to all who looked & appreciate comments from @opus999, @Jackson Duvalier & @giemme.  Jackson, thank you for the comments on the figure painting--these are my first IJN figures since I really got back into modeling.  Basically I took advice G gave me on my F-4 build (I believe) and started with a wash, from there I went to some of the Tamiya websites on how to paint figures--appreciate the compliment--best to all, Erwin

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Time to season things up😎 (pun on the salt effect--sorry I did not know how to start this off) After catching up with Johnny @The Spadgent's update, I felt inspired to get into gear and post an update about my progress on the Kate combining Kosher Salt, AK Interactive's Worn Effects and Silly Putty and Tamiya tape.  First, I masked the Hinomarus with the silly putty and the walk ways, anti-glare panels and wing fold (I think) bars with Tamiya tape.  I used Silly Putty to create the effect of soft/worn masking  around these marking at the unit level--rationale is I wanted to create a warn effect around factory markings while trying to achieve field painting conducted by a professional fighting force.  Additionally, I attached the canopy because I did not want the IJN D1 Green in the interior underneath the canopy.  I can not begin to thank @Marco1965 and @Greenshirt for their amazing builds chocked full of information and inspiration on B5N2s.  

 

I do believe the Hiryu's Kate's were painted by well seasoned carrier maintenance crews in 1941. Given this, I believe these unprimed but well maintained paint schemes used through the Midway operation in 1942 presented a different worn effect than those seen after the Imperial Japanese Navy had sustained grievous losses to both air and maintenance crews in late 1942 and after.  I also note that, most pictures of Kates taken by USN photographers in 1942 show aircraft with rather uniform green (likely IJN D1) tops.  Inspired by one of @opus999's Japanese aircraft builds, I also intended to use a camo stencil to further randomize the effect of wear and tear on a well used, but well maintained Pearly Harbor strike veteran operating at Midway in June 1942. 

 

One back and forth I went through was what to do the with the data plate in the back of the fuselage.  After reviewing info posted in the earlier links along with info from Nick Millman on the Zero, I decided that if this was visible, the IJN D! Green would have been painted around it.  While possible, I do not think that IJN crews would have over painted Nakajima's information and then reapplied.  Regardless, I decided to go with my gut and masked a square in the data plate's location.  

 

Here are the photos:

 

Canopy, Salt, Ak Interactive Worn Effects, Silly Putty,  Tamiya Tape applied

DSCN3571 DSCN3572

 

Mission Models IJN D1--thinned about 60% paint 40% thinner--4 drops of poly.  Sprayed at 12 PSI from Badger Patriot 105 (medium needle)

 

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AK Interact IJN D1 Flaps (lightened)  

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Initial masks removed--to touched up with AK Interactive IJN D1/Tamiay XF-11/Mission Models IJN D1 and chip with AK Interactive Worn Affects and white drift lines airbrushed on tail

 

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Overall I am happy with how this is turning out.  Beyond the folks mentioned, I really appreciate @giemme and @billn53 who always post the learning points on their blogs.  I would also like to thank @RidgeRunner many years ago for pushing me to thin my paint--what a journey you started 🙌  I also want to thank Johnny @The Spadgent for his approach of going with what info you got and enjoy the build.  While we can thank individuals like @Nick Millman for reducing the amount of guess work in interpreting Imperial Japanese WW2 aircraft, there is a lot more room for interpretation than I am used too--to my surprise, I enjoyed this aspect of this airbrush project.  Up next will be chipping, and touch ups. 

 

2 things I would certainly do differently on this build--1) Grind the kosher salt finer--as you can see some of the salt effect is a little pronounced for 1/72 scale for a early/mid 1942 Kate (in my opinion anyway) and 2) I think I will be on the hunt for a finer point airbrush and air control valve--I think these features would have come in handy for this portion of the build.  That said, I am grateful for @opus999's build of a USAAF P-51B (Ironic) where he into'd me to using a stencil for marbling a monochrome paint scheme--this came in very handy in creating the worn IJN D1 effect.  One other note, Mission Models paints work really well, but it is worthwhile practicing on scrap since thinning rations are less thin than other paints--at least per my milage.  

 

I know there are some well established Japanese aircraft builders out there and I am always amazed at the bench of talent on this blog--I welcome your thoughts on how to get better--I got A6M 2, 3 &5s hoping you will improve me 🙂.   Hope this helpful to others.  Best to all, Erwin   

 

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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That looks beautifully worn!  I'm glad to hear that the stencils worked for you.  I know they really helped me!  And I've got to thank @The Spadgent for the idea of using them. The hinamaru and the "halo" around them from the masking look really sharp!  I'm looking forward to more of this!

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Very nice Erwin.  I’m a big fan of this kind of detailed approach and you’ve done a great job in the research and subsequent analysis to arrive at your result.  Looking forward to how it turns out but the journey is very satisfying to come along with.

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This is looking lovely. I’ve only done a couple of Japanese planes, and those were natural metal. Some day I’ll tackle a worn, camo subject and your detailed technique descriptions will come in handy.

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On 1/16/2022 at 10:32 PM, opus999 said:

That looks beautifully worn!  I'm glad to hear that the stencils worked for you.  I know they really helped me!  And I've got to thank @The Spadgent for the idea of using them. The hinamaru and the "halo" around them from the masking look really sharp!  I'm looking forward to more of this!

Thank @opus999, you are took kind--Johnny @The Spadgent is always a great source of high impact ideas the are spreading around the globe

On 1/16/2022 at 11:19 PM, ModelingEdmontonian said:

This looks really good! Cool technique!

Thank you @ModelingEdmontonian--too kind

On 1/17/2022 at 12:44 AM, mark.au said:

Very nice Erwin.  I’m a big fan of this kind of detailed approach and you’ve done a great job in the research and subsequent analysis to arrive at your result.  Looking forward to how it turns out but the journey is very satisfying to come along with.

@mark.au, thank you for your kind words, especially on the research--this project felt like it was to 2 hours in the books for every hour at the bench--I think my research skills are tad bit sharper than my skills--but folks like you are helping me close the gap🙌

On 1/17/2022 at 5:11 AM, giemme said:

Chipping looks good to me, Erwin! :clap:  :clap:

 

Ciao

@giemme--G, high praise coming from you

On 1/17/2022 at 6:31 AM, billn53 said:

This is looking lovely. I’ve only done a couple of Japanese planes, and those were natural metal. Some day I’ll tackle a worn, camo subject and your detailed technique descriptions will come in handy.

@billn53--humbled you wonder consider taking a glance at my project given the high quality of all your builds

On 1/17/2022 at 10:51 AM, GlueDad said:

Some great modelling here showing some really interesting techniques.  Thanks for sharing Erwin.

@GlueDad--the Bear meme is awesome!   Thank you for looking--best, Erwin 

 

On 1/17/2022 at 12:52 AM, Jackson Duvalier said:

Masked with flake salt

Hiryu Kate awaits finish

Snowfall on cedar

@Jackson Duvalier--The poem makes sense except for the "Snowfall on cedar"--would love to know because I am sure it is cool

 

On 1/17/2022 at 2:32 AM, RidgeRunner said:

Hi Erwin!!! She is really coming along nicely :). It is great to watch your builds :). All my best to you, Martin

Thanks Martin @RidgeRunner--I have you to thank you for sparking the starting point on this journey--you triggered this start with a "lovely build but did you consider putting thinner in your paint" on one of the 1st builds I posted:laugh:--you truly intro'd me to constructive and awesome community we share--thank you.   A few builds later, a total changeout of Airbrushes, and an airbrush booth later I cant think about starting a project without thinking about thinners for my airbrush--the good news is my marriage has survived this even though I am much deeper into the hobby than I thought I would be🤣🙌  

 

Best to all Erwin 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Inspired by Johnny's @The Spadgent awesome update on The Demon and the 3D Printer, I decided to show my incremental progress. G's @giemmework on his Phabolous P-51D (ok, he is a Phantom Phreak, did anyone pick up the reference :laugh:) I decided to airbrush the drift lines.  1st I applied some chipping fluid and salt--given the drift lines informed the crew on their torpedo runs, I reasoned they were markings painted on top of the D1 green when the units applied the D1 green.  I then airbrushed these lines at about 12-15 PSI--Tamiya flat white thinned about 60 thinner to 40 paint ( @RidgeRunner would be proud)

 

Also note along the wing fold lines, and control areas increased wear I am utilizing a tooth pick dipped water to activate the chipping fluid in a very fine fashion. I am toning down the patchiness a spell as I want to achieve a worn but well maintained look of a high operational aircraft in a very professional force--my understanding is the work of IJN maintenance crews was legendary and I imagine Hiryu's were highly experienced in mid-1942.  Reducing the patchyness is accomplished with a cotton bud dipped in Mission Models IJN D1 paint and nearly dry before touching the model--I imagine this is a process I will use through the rest of the build.  One last note on reducing the patchyness--Mission Models paint cleans up effectively with water, so it is very forgiving.  I have also used a little around the national insignia to even things out.

 

DSCN3583

 

Next up will beating the drift lines and building/installing the engine.  Thank you all for looking at this relatively brief update--hope everyone is doing well.  Best, Erwin

 

 

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Nice update.  It's looking very good.  How's that chipping fluid working out for you?  I've never used the stuff, but I'm beginning to think it is just the stuff I need when I do my Aleutian Tiger P-40E (somewhere in the hazy future....).  The pictures I've found of those planes show them to be unbelievably chipped -- worn down to bare metal on the wing roots and leading edges.  

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This is quite impressive, Erwin :clap: :clap: 

 

I agree about Mission Models paint being very forgiving :thumbsup2:  Too bad they are hard to find in my neck of the woods... :(  I only have two pots, a Flat White and a Light Gull Grey

 

Ciao

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Very nice work Erwin.  I like the idea of using a cotton bud to “dry brush “ for want of a better word.  I wonder if that’s another way to introduce weathering/texture in a paint finish…? 🤔

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Wowah!!! That was a hell of an update. 😃 she looks amazing. Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I do check my “content I follow” but this didn’t pop up till now. I’ll make sure I keep my nose in from now on. Your paint work is great! I love the camo painted over look. I did really like the tan paint before you put the top green on too, so much so as I might dig something out of the stash in a similar vein.  Just a quick question.

Are you planning on chipping back to that metal paint you sprayed?  Inquisitive minds and all that. Looking forward to more of your wonderful work.

 All the best.

 

 Johnny.

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Thank you @opus999, @giemme, @mark.au, @The Spadgent—and everyone who liked this—I hope you all can see that I have attempted to utilize some of the tips you gave given me throughout the years.

 

@opus999—I think this technique would work well with an Aleutian Tiger.  For what it’s worth, I would stick with AK’s Worn Effects—I think their Heavy Chipping is too aggressive for a well used but well cared for airplane, especially in 1/72.  Reference the Aleutian Tiger, when I was doing my P-40E research, I really wanted to do the Aleutian Tiger but I could never pin down to what items fully completed the witerization kits, so I went with the Hawaiian Deffender—check out the instructions for Hasegawa’s 1/32 P-40E Aleutian Tiger—it has a sprue of unique winterization parts—I think some of the more noticeable items around the exhausts could be made from scratch—especially given your skills🙌
 

G @giemme, I love Mission Models Paints—that said, the biggest issue I have with them is that from my experience when you thin more than 10% you need their poly additive.  Also, I seem to get beading issues once I get to about 40% thinner even with their Poly additive— in fairness they warn you not to approach a 50/50 thin ratio.  ( they also say you can use their paints for washes but I will stick with Flory wash if it works for me) That said, as you can see their paints thin out nicely with a ratio of 40% thinner or less with their Poly.  Also, their grey primer is excellent, but I have not been very impressed with their metallics (it is me probably me)—given the results you and @billn53 achieved with AK metallics, I will giving those a shot

 

@mark.au, for my mileage the cotton bud seems to work best in concert with other techniques—it might be that it’s new to me or perhaps I have too much of a 21st century eye.  Regardless, I have to say that there was really no texture when using mission models paint and this paint/bud combo left a nice pattern—although I did apply them nearly dry 

 

Johnny @The Spadgent—thanks for your note, so much of this build is due to inspiration I got from your builds to go with the best info available and build—it’s a mind set particularly important for IJN aircraft—I am still twitching for revolutionary info to turn all my research around.

 I also appreciate how your builds have inspired me to try new techniques🙌 Regarding the silver, not much misses your eye 😎. Originally, I had planned to do a chipping using silver for the airplane skin, red brown for primer, Zero Grey and IJN D1.  After reviewing pictures and reading Nick’s books/articles on the Early Zero I became convinced that carrier based early war Kate’s factory finishes stayed relatively clean with very little chipping while the maintenance crews were in a constant battle to keep the unit or depot applied non primed D1 greens serviceable. Looking forward to using my bottles of Flory washes—yes, your amazing results convinced me to take the plunge with this build—hope to come close to your masterpieces.  All that said, I am very happy to hear you and your family are on the mend. 

 

Best and thanks to all for your inputs and thoughts—best, Erwin

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Hya Erwin.

That makes sense. When I saw the layer upon layer of paint going over the top I thought you would struggle to get back to that silver finish. Especially as you really need to attack the chipping fluid almost right away. I remember when I used it first I would wait days before trying to chip and I couldn’t understand why I was having trouble. Then I read the instructions. 🤦‍♂️ 
looking forward to the Flory work too. It’s is such a lovely tool in the modelling box and I’m so glad it’s working out for you.

 Thanks for the well wishes.

 

 Johnny.

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