joi, 8 iunie 2017

Swiss Army Knife - float planes of WW2

After a long break, dictated by other obligations I put on my bench the Yokosuka E14Y (Glen) floatplane from Fujimi.
I started the work on it several times but didn't advance seriously.
The first error that I've noticed was the belly of the aircraft aft of the wings. It was flat as a desk (an upside-down desk). So I saw down the ventral fin and started to build-up with Tamiya epoxy putty.

After the putty was cured I sand it down with a flexy file and at the end I reattached the ventral fin.
The basic cockpit offered by Fujimi was enhanced with scratch reinforcement struts and different other equipment, using as a base for informatio the excellent diagram from Robert C. Mikesh "Monogram Japanese Aircraft Interiors 1940-1945". Another source of inspiration was Airmag Hors Serie no.4 - Avions Japonais sur Sous-marins, where one can find also fairly good diagrams of the rear and front cockpits and also designs showing the stowage of the aircraft on the sub, plus a few color profiles made by my fellow Romanian designer, Teodor Liviu Morosanu. Sadly he has passed away a few years ago. I still have a doubt about the shape of the ventral photographic window thou - In Airmag there aren't any in diagrams or in color profiles.
Beeing the fact that I chose to represent the model with the cockpit closed, the machine gun was stowed in it's holder on the right side of the rear cockpit.
The chosen color scheme was of an aircraft from the I7 submarine, which took part at the Pearl Harbour attack. The floatplane was deployed to pick'up photographic evidence on the results of the mission. This was the first combat mission for the type (another reason to select this scheme) and from what I found and read it's still not clear if the crew and the plane completed their mission.

The colors used for the overall scheme was a mix of paints from Gunze range - Hemp and J3 grey. Previously a red-brown primer was applied on all surfaces.
The red on the tail was matched with the decals and better suited for that was Tamiya's red.
The propeller was enhanced with metal covering for the leading edge and tips of the blates, done with self adhesive aluminum foil. The rest of the propeller was appropriately painted to represent lacquered wood, by applying a base of wood color and then brush transparent acrylic color with a stiff rare bristles brush.
After completion of the construction I noticed that the position on floats didn't reflect reality, as the model was prone to it's nose, while the real plane had a more tail down position. But it was too late for surgery.
I also replaced the unique rudder (?!?) with scratch ones from plasticard, which were again painted to represent wood.
The radio cable was made with elastic thread.

I weathered the upper parts by spraying a fine dust of buff to represent the action of UV rays of the powerful Pacific sun (the aircraft was tested in its home harbor for quite some time). Scratches and chipping was done on the walk way area both to the primmer and to the bare metal (or fabric) depth.

Having this model on the bench reminded me that I have 2 more foldable submarine borne floatplanes in my display, that needed some long awaited attention: a Soviet Chetverikov SPL Hydro 1 which was intended as a submarine borne hydroplane and was long ago painted by me in a what-if scheme (I dreamed it was captured by Romanians in the Black Sea and employed as med-evac plane in the difficult region of the Danube Delta) and an Arado 231 floatplane that needed at least a repaint with a more appropriate RLM02 scheme.

I am fascinated by floatplanes and seaplanes, but those tiny underwater traveling, seaplanes were a real treat to model.
Why Swis Army knife ?! Imagine that the Glen was the sole Japanese aircraft to bomb the United States territory so, not only it can carry bombs but also took of from a submarine deck. The airplane also carried defensive armament although his primary mission was of reconnaissance.
Underneath, some pictures of a carrier Submarine model, finished a year or two ago.

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