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172
JASDF T-1A Jet Trainer

Page Two and Three
Once the wing halves were brought together in Step 4 they could be fixed to the fuselage. In this step PLATZ recommend painting the wheel bays, but it's far easier to paint the model white and then mask it off later. Step 5 asks to install the nose intake and tail planes but these too are better left to paint and weather separately. The fuel tanks are an option on this aircraft but many training missions were flown with them on and hey why not, they look super. Instead of aluminum this time I chose duraluminum to give the model a hint of warmth and depth, or it just looks more interesting... yeah now that's believable.

Next I did some of the necessary steps of preparing the landing gearparts. These have some nice detail yet a bit of wire for the break line wouldn't hurt. Note the difference in the plastic retraction part compared to the photo-etch. Not only is it grossly over-sized there's no place to attach the bloody thing! It was discarded for use in a sci-fi model greebly shelf.

Then the canopy and wind screen were masked. PLATZ do have a mask set for this kit but a sample was not included for review. The inside of the canopy has a framework part that probably took longer the mask off the center former than it took to write this article HA HA... well maybe. The green color in the instructions is different than the decal color in front of the windscreen.

Tamiya X-2 white mixed 50/50 with Mr. Surfacer Self Leveling Thinner made the body color. You'll need to spray 4 or 5 coats to get the look you want but the relatively smooth finish is worth the effort. As you can see in the photo of the belly looking grey this was after 3 coats only. It isn't often that only one color is used in a model I do so this was a treat as will be what's next!
Decals and Weathering
I've used Cartograf wet transfers countless times yet this was first go at what some call "wallpaper" decals. The PLATZ instructions are easy to follow when you get your head around putting down the large shapes first. The jury is still out on whether this method is better than painting and masking but it didn't matter because this is what the manufacturer developed. Certainly the colors are vivid! To begin I went with brand new bottles of Micro SOL and Micro SET and the paint had been left to dry for two full days in a constantly running vented area next to where I write novels. My water is 5 stage filtered and slightly above room temperature at a constant warmth using a coffee warmer. I replace the water if any cloudiness appears or ikkie things are floating about. The large left side decals went down really well yet the long arrows at the tail needed to be trimmed. Not an issue yet I wasn't expecting to do this. The right side large middle decal was an issue because it is 4 mm too small. I worked it and worked it thinking there was something I'd done wrong. In the end some of those snipped bits had to be used to fill the gap. I would suggest lining the rounded back section with the left decal and use the filler strips Cartograf include for the end at the nose section. Even then you'll still have to snip the back arrow running behind the side roundel. Then there is the "silvering" HA HA. I joke because I had just watched a video on decal silvering and here I was using decals that are backed in silver. The next point to look after is how they conform. While the panel lines are wide and deep and the decals do bed down somewhat they do not fully, and yes they were burnished with a moist cotton swab plus a coat of Micro SET was painted on before the Micro SOL. See that circled picture?Note, Micro SOL, paint and Styrofoam do not like being the same place!

The decals are graciously tough with all the handling you'll do to get them correctly placed but after 5 coats of SOL (maybe it was more) they simply stopped. The lines had to be inscribed and sadly I did miss a few spots. I was out of Solvaset and was not going to risk using X-20A thinner. Soldiering on, the remainder went down fairly trouble free and the stencils were a breeze. All in all the decals look stunning and with a bit of work will comply to your demands... otherwise you'll call them nasty names and make threats with a Zippo blow torch!

As far as weathering goes, in every picture I've seen out there this bird was clean. Black and white photos are an ultimate test of cleanliness because they show all the different shades of grey that can be seen as filth and not hiding behind color or hints of blue in polished metal. Thus there would be no oil or grease stains, no chipping or stressed skin. The panel lines and rivets were pronounced with a half and half dark dirt and white clay wash. If this kit was repeated I would definitely make that lighter still. The only boldness came from the wheel bays, gear and air break compartment.

Having wrapped that up, the end was insight with getting the landing gear installed. The only part of the build that required patience were these parts. Let the struts sit and dry for a minute or two then add the outer covers and retraction arm.
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About the Author

About HG Barnes (HGBARNES)
FROM: ALBERTA, CANADA

H.G. Barnes is a former voice artist and sales/marketing executive. Currently ghost writing, he's recently published the first of many Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, and Adventure novels. He's been building model kits of every genre since memory to go along with his short stories, yet aircraft h...


Comments

What a sweet looking model. Interested that you wrote it gores together so well. All those colors - a mid-air ("Fox-Four" ) would be difficult. Thanks for the Micro SOL, paint and Styrofoam warning.
FEB 22, 2020 - 05:34 AM
Thank you for all the hard work and tips. I have the T-1B version that I started last year but had to put aside for a while due to other commitments. I can't wait to get back to it. Nice to know that nose weight is needed. Bravo!
FEB 24, 2020 - 02:27 AM