I can’t believe I haven’t touched this blog in six months!!! I guess I’ve been preoccupied with my writing blog “The View from the Keyboard” which I’ve been pursuing as an adjunct to trying to build a career as a science fiction writer – give it a look, I can promise some great reads!
But what about “World in Miniature?” I certainly don’t want to abandon it, and was today amazed to find I failed to post about my last completed build. With writing and teaching last year I only completed four models, the last of which was a classic Fujimi 1:72nd scale Corsair II. The interesting thing about this project was the circuitous route it took from origins to completion.
The kit was bought bagged on eBay, the Testor edition of the A-7D, and I ripped into it with plans for my first four-tone South East Asia camo job since I was a kid. I have the Model Master Acryls for all shades lined up and was ready to do a hard masking job with broad Tamiya tape (while really hoping AML will continue to expand their line of vinyl camouflage masks to take in subjects like this.) Well, she was a bit of a challenge at the build stage, that two-part intake trunk/lower fuselage called for some careful alignment and elbow-grease to reduce the seams, but overall it went well. I read in an online review that the wings of the Fujimi Corsairs fit with such precision you can complete them separately and mount them after painting, and this eased masking considerably so I gave it a whirl. It more or less worked but the alignment of wings to fuselage, compounded relative to the ground by the inexplicably skewed stance of the landing gear, ended up being far from correct – I just don’t look at her from nose-on, if you know what I mean.
But, and here’s the big but, when Testor packed the kit they included the small sprue of Navy parts instead of the specific USAF parts (differences in landing gear and, most visibly, the air refuelling system.) Bang went plans for a –D in camo… The obvious solution was to use the Navy parts, making her indistinguishable from a –A airframe and finish her in Navy markings, which at last gave me the chance to dip into my massive Superscale collection from long ago.
I picked 72-332 CHECK and selected one of the three bicentennial schemes. The Gull Gray was Model Master, the white was Tamiya, plus Microscale clearcoats and decal chemistry, and the markings went on very nicely indeed – pretty good when you think this sheet might be twenty years old. Florey panel wash was trapped between clearcoats too, and I built her with mostly clear pylons, as this unit, VA-305, the “Lobos,” was stateside at Alameda in 1977 as a training and reserve unit, so while Corsairs were rarely seen without the full suite of underwing pylons, they were unlikely to be heavily laden in their role at that time and place.
It was a fun kit, if a challenging one, and I know there are shortcomings, the above-mentioned alignment issues high among them, plus a small antenna on the spine of the Navy bird which I was not up to adding, and this aircraft should have had a small antiglare panel extending into the white radome area but I was not up to masking it. Hey ho, it takes a specialist to know.
I have many Fujimi Corsairs in the stash and look forward to building a collection, I have a great many decal sheets waiting to be used and my “sluf” shelf should be pretty spectacular in the end. I might build some assembly jigs to solve the alignment problems, and tackle the wings conventionally from now on.
Cheers, Mike Adamson
PS: I won’t leave it six months til next post – I have several projects on the bench so there’s plenty to talk about!