Intro | PART 1 | Part 2
[Insert pithy comment about how all aircraft builds always start with the cockpit]
There, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the cockpit. After the travesty that passed for a cockpit in Tamiya’s Ki-84, the Hasegawa George’s office is revelatory. I think in terms of absolutes, it’s probably a 6 or 7. Enough pieces to keep things interesting, but it sure as hell doesn’t have the pop you’ll find in Tamiya’s P-47s, Hasegawa’s own P-40 kits, and so on.
But it doesn’t matter. The George is one of those “fat fuselage” aircraft with a smallish cockpit opening. The result? Most of the hard work is obscured. Keeping that in mind, the cockpit is fine. The only suck point is the instrument panel decal, which feels somewhat heavy-handed. It’s just prominent enough that individual dial decals or a PE panel would really give it some pop. Alas.
In terms of going together, everything does, and well. The front bulkhead and rear bracing auto-locate the sidewalls, and the whole thing plugs up into the fuselage from the bottom. Extremely painless.
For paint, I eyeballed the colors based on a picture I found of an N1K1 cockpit. The shade was a mix of Flat Green, Dark Green, and Cockpit Green, all Tamiya. Weathering came by way of drybrushing Floquil Old Silver and giving everything a liberal wash of Raw Umber artist oil.
Right. On to main assembly.
With the George the fuselage goes together before the cockpit gets slotted into place. This is excellent because, in addition to an overall very good fit, the big gaping hole in the underside made it easy to get at various seams from the inside as well as the outside. Far easier to preserve detail by welding from the inside!
Next up, wings. Despite the George’s mid-wing design (seaplane heritage FTW!), Hasegawa uses the tried-and-true single lower wing + two uppers design. Fit here was a bit sloppy at the wing roots, so I added a spreader (toothpick cut to length and shoved up against the fuselage side of the wingroots from the inside) to close the gap without screwing with the dihedral. That made things manageable, and everything got welded down by Tenax.
Protip: Instead of the Touch-n-Flow, try using a microbrush to apply Tenax or similar plastic solvent to the trailing edges of wings, tail halves, and similar “thin joins”. Just a quick swipe gets the job done without “jumping” the way the Touch-n-Flow tends to over such areas.
The stabilizers went on without incident, but I realized right around the time I was welding them down that I forgot to open up the drill holes for the centerline drop tank to mount into.
I managed to address the oversight by dabbing some paint onto the rear mounting posts, then fitting it to the fuselage. With the mounting points marked, it was a simple drill-out. While messing with that, I also assembled the 20mm underwing gun pods and test-fitted them. I’ve got some Quickboost barrels for both these and the in-wing cannons that should look great on the far side of painting, but for now I’m leaving them empty.
The last bit of main assembly comes down to the engine and cowling, and I must say I’m in love with the engineering up front. There are a few detail bits here and there (crankcase, ignition ring, etc), but for the most part, the assembly comes down to four principal components – the engine, the exhausts, the cowl, and the cowl flaps. The exhausts, cowl flaps and engine slot down over a notched post on the front of the fuselage, fixing in position, and then the cowl slides right over them aligning into gaps in the cowl flaps. It all fits perfectly, and it means I’ll be able to keep the parts separate (and paint them separate) until pretty far in the build.
And honestly…that’s it for main assembly.
This is a kit that looks pretty dense in the box, but that’s actually deceptively simple in the overall airframe. Still have some detail bits to go, but stay tuned for painting in the near-ish future!
Intro | PART 1 | Part 2