Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden
by Brian Bourdon
Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden
This is Hasegawa’s 1/48th scale J2M3 Raiden.
The box contains 75 parts including options. Only 58 pieces are required to build a standard J2M3 interceptor without aerial bombs. The decal sheet provides two specific marking schemes as well as a profusion of generic tail numbers for the more esoteric.
Typical of 90s era kits, the fit is moderately good which is to say that most gaps can be filled with a little liquid filler smoothed with a Q-Tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Some sanding is also required but nothing too strenuous.
Not a lot of the cockpit is visible under the one piece canopy, even though the glass is crystal clear and delicately thin. Still, I couldn’t resist adding a few photo etched bits and bobs from a very old Eduard set I happened to have on hand. The instrument panel in particular is a big improvement over what is supplied in the kit.
The seat belts were painted Humbrol 71 Oak and 91 Black Green in accordance with recent references. Although there is no evidence to suggest that Japanese pilots regularly used a seat pad, I added one just the same. This was scratch built with 20 thou sheet styrene and painted khaki.
I airbrushed the interior with Tamiya XF71. For the sake of visual interest, various knobs, levers and other details were picked out in black, red and yellow. Four light coats of Future were applied in advance of a Black Green pin wash. The resulting finish was dulled with MIG Super Flat Varnish. I find this stuff a bit tricky to use but works well.
Overall, this was a relatively straight forward build with the exception, perhaps, of the propeller assembly. Curiously, Hasegawa chose to mold the spinner’s base and the forward cowl as a single piece with two supporting struts. This arrangement did not exist on the actual aircraft. I checked. After a bit of head scratching, I decided to remove the offending struts and simply glued the entire spinner assembly to the cooling fan. A standard poly cap held everything in place without any undue drama.
I chose to depict 3D-1182 which is shown in a photo (Famous Aircraft of the World) flying in perfect formation with two other planes. It appears factory fresh with nary a scratch. More than likely, this was a staged photo-op to impress the girls back home.
The decals responded well to Micro-Sol in most instances . Where there were difficulties, a tiny application of Solvaset saved the day. The unit numbers are a titch oversized and I suspect that the decals were based on the excellent profile drawings of Rikyu Watanabe and not on actual photos.
The Raiden was painted Tamiya XF11 and XF76 lightened with white. All panel lines were washed with Black Green which looked quite reasonable until the final semi-gloss was applied. If the wash is at all visible now, it will only be noticed by someone with very, very good eyesight.
This was a fun build.
Model and Text Copyright ©
2021 by Brian Bourdon
Page Created 4 August, 2021
4 August, 2021
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