1:72 Nakajima J9N1 “Kitsuka” (橘花, a.k.a. “Kikka”), aircraft “FE 269”, operated by the Royal Air Force, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - Southeast Asia (ATAIU-SEA); RAF Seletar (Singapore), January 1946
The kit and its assembly:
This was/is a submission for the “Captured!” group build at whatifmodellers.com in late 2020. Loot from WWII certainly makes a good theme, and I remembered a real world J2M3 that I had built some time ago – in RAF markings and tested by the ATAIU-SEA in Singapore in late the 1945. For a more whiffy touch I delved through The Stash™ for options and found an AZ Models Nakajima “Kikka” single seater – as Japan’s first jet fighter, a suitable contender, even more so because no aircraft of this type made it in time to frontline units.
The AZ Models kit is a simple affair, but that's also its problem. In the box things looked quite good, detail level is on par with a classic Matchbox kit. But unlike a typical Matchbox kit, the AZ Models offering did not go together so well... I had to fight everywhere with poor fit, lack of locator pins, ejection marks - anything a short run kit can throw at you! PSR was necessary almost everywhere, especially around the wing/engine pod intersection and the area where the wings are inserted into the lower fuselage. What worked surprisingly well is the IP canopy, though.Personal additions are lowered flaps (easy to realize) and some additional struts for the landing gear.
Painting and markings:
The captured aircraft theme was settled from the start, but I wanted to offer more than just a “rebadge” with RAF roundels on an IJN green/grey airframe. In order to add some visual spice, my idea became to present an irregular "one-aircraft-made-from-wrecks-and-spares" finish, with parts in differing tones and even some primed or bare metal areas.
I initially gave the model an overall coat of aluminum and added cloudy shades of IJN Green (ModelMaster and Tamiya) and sections with RAF Dark Green to the upper surfaces, and light grey underneath, with the aluminum underneath shining through here and there. One engine was painted in a shaggy Japanese primer red brown. I furthermore added overpainted IJN markings with U.S. olive drab for some more contrast, even though these would later be partly hidden under decals.
The cockpit was painted in a greenish yellow primer, trying to simulate a typical “bamboo” shade that was used in some late-war IJN cockpits, while the landing gear and the flaps’ interior was painted in dull aluminum. A black ink washing was applied for more weathering and contrast. the yellow leading-edge markings were created with decal material. RAF roundels came from the scrap box, the “FE 269” code was created with single white 3mm letters. This is rather a code for captured aircraft in the European theatre, but it’s a fictional model, after all. The “ATAIU-SEA” titles were painted free-handedly with a thin brush and white acrylic paint, and later wet-sanded down a bit for a weathered look.
Finally, the kit received a mixed coat of semi-gloss and matt acrylic varnish.
- Dizzyfugu -