Meteor and Magnificent Lightning

Over the past couple of months I have mostly been building 1/72 aircraft models.

A Hasegawa J7W1 Shinden (magnificent lightning) was first. This kit was a bit of an impulse buy, on top of other impulse purchases I was making from Hobby Search. Although the kit had a pretty complete cockpit, I added etched brass seatbelts, and a home made decal instrument panel.

shinden cpt

Somewhere in there is an instrument panel decal. This was before I cleared up the bits of dry paint around the frames, if you’re worried. It looks like I could brush a coat of Navy Green on those frames too.

The rest of the kit was assembled straight out of the box, and it went together like a dream. I airbrushed the kit in Tamiya JN Grey on the underside, then masked that off and applied lightened JN Green on the upper surfaces. Looking at photos online you don’t have to be too perfect with the nice wavy demarcation, as it was pretty rough on the real thing. The decals were a little thick. I had a little trouble with the warning markings on the flaps and rudders, so I’d recommend cutting them apart rather than trying to apply them as one piece. I found it much easier just to paint the red line on the trailing edges of the rudders rather than applying the decals there.


The completed Shinden, very tall on its stalky undercarriage

Next up was an Xtrakit Meteor F.8, which is a rebox of an MPM kit. I used a Pavla resin ejector seat, which needed a good deal of the detail under the seat itself to be sanded off before it would fit. The cockpit was pretty nicely detailed, maybe more than it needed to be, since it’s black.  I gave it a coat of Vallejo Black Grey, with black mixed in, followed by a drybrush of pure Black Grey.

The kit went together well, but care is needed in getting things to line up, as locating pins were rare and small. I somehow managed to forget to put nose weight in when I should have. Although I managed to get some lead in behind the cockpit, I also had to put some in the nose wheel well. Luckily the undercarriage is sturdy enough to handle the extra weight.

Aping the Brett Green build article for this kit, I decanted some Tamiya Airframe Silver spray paint and applied it by airbrush. Thanks to my reference material, that was pretty straightforward. I own both of the compilations of Mike Grant’s ‘Circuits and Bumps’ articles from Scale Aviation Modelling International magazine, published by SAM publications, and they contain lots of really useful guides, including how to decant rattle can paint.


Decanting the paint. That’s a drinking straw securely taped to the spray can, and masking tape with a hole over it on an empty thinners bottle. Leave the paint to de-gas for a few hours, somewhere cool so it doesn’t dry!

It turns out that that thing people say about silver finishes showing any imperfections is true, but there is nothing too terrible. I highlighted the panel lines with a mix of black and burnt umber oil paints, thinned right down with odourless thinners. It’s great fun watching capillary action doing it’s stuff, and any mistakes are easily converted into subtle weathering.

Living in Australia, it is of course de rigueur for me to apply Korean War No 77 Sqn RAAF markings, and my ones came from PD decals. In a mild break from convention, I chose A77-385 ‘Chloe’ over A77-851 ‘Halestorm’, which is more commonly modelled. I had some drama with the thin and large wing walk decals, so I replaced them with black strips from Fantasy Printshop.


Completed Meteor F.8 of 77 Sqn, RAAF, Kimpo, South Korea, flown by Pilot Officer William Simmonds

I hadn’t realised until I had assembled the model what an unusual shape the Meteor was, with its long fuselage and stubby, deep wings.


Two unusual birds

2 responses to “Meteor and Magnificent Lightning

    • Thanks Sturmi. The Shinden is the more elegant of the two, but the I do like seeing the Meteor at airshows. Hopefully one day the Smithsonian Institute will re-assemble their Shinden and park it next to their Dornier 335!

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