Hasegawa 1/48 A6M2-N 'Rufe'

KIT #

JT 69

PRICE:

$25.00

DECALS:

See Review

REVIEW :

Gilles Galvao

NOTES:

Translation by Sebastien Privat

HISTORY



The Rufe history has already been covered in detail, so I wonít bother you with it once more...
As a complement, Iíll add that the French Armťe de líAir used a Rufe in Indochina, for five minutes, as the pilot found out a bit late, just after taking off, that if the plane sure looked like a Zero from the bottom of the fuselage upwards, there was a
big float under the said fuselage that changed noticeably the flight qualities of the bird. The low level slow roll ended
rather brutally in a river...

THE KIT


This kit uses some parts of the previous Hasegawa A6M2 : we find the parts for this kit, along with new sprues, with the new
fuselage, the floats, and a whole new lower wing part. There are parts for a beaching cart, and everything that has been said about Hasegawaís Zero can be said for this one too. The decal options allow you to build either a grey/green Rufe from the 934th Flying Group, or an all grey plane from the Kamikawa Maru. The decals are thin enough and seem to be in register.

CONSTRUCTION


I began with the cockpit. I painted it using Aeromaster Acryl Nakajima Interior Green (Translatorís note : the pictures donít look green, but the cockpit is !), highlighted with a black wash and some dry brushing. The holes in the back of the seat are drilled out, but I confess I missed one. The instrument panel was made using the kit decal, helped in place with a respectable amount of decal softening solution. I coated the interior with matt varnish before putting a drop of gloss varnish in the instrument faces. The lap belts are made using tin foil from a bottle of wine. I voted against over-detailing the interior, of which little can be seen once assembled.

The fuselage is assembled around the cockpit without fuss. A problem rises when itís time to join the wings to the fuselage. Thereís a gap at the junction, along the fuselage. I inserted a plastic card strip, and I cut it out and sanded it flush, so it became invisible once glued. I then masked the canopy, and temporarily glued it in place using white glue. I masked
the cockpit opening, and gave the model a coat of Modelmasterís Metallizer. The floats, once assembled, get the same treatment. Please donít forget to put some ballast in the main float !

PAINT & DECALS

I polished the model using a soft cloth before painting the camouflage scheme. I chose the 2 tone camoed machine with the
yellow lightning bolt on the fuselage. I began with the IJN grey, then the upper side with some Nakajima IJN green. I weathered the green using the base color lightened with grey and heavily diluted, and sprayed the mixture on the center of the panels.  This is the first time I do that, and Iím quite satisfied with the result.

 The leading edge identification bands are painted Orange yellow. The cowling got an aluminum coating before receiving the final black coat. The model is then submitted to the scotch tape and cutter blade treatment, in order to remove some paint. I gave the model a gloss coat, and put the decals, who go down perfectly. I just had to use a good deal of softener for the upper Hinomarus. I then gave the model a black wash, and covered it with a satin coat. Some dark grey pastel was used to weather the cowl, and some brown pastel for the float.

I glued the floats in place, and enjoyed some very entertaining twenty minutes holding them while the glue was setting. I took some pics and showed them to some modeling friends of mine, and was told the floats were not weathered enough, as the salt traces were lacking. No problem, I went back to my table, and gave the floats a wash of very diluted light grey. As I hadnít any picture of a Rufe, I had to use my imagination instead of my references, and Iíll let you tell me if the result is realistic or not.

At that point, I made the exhaust stains by drybrushing matt black in several passes. I painted the engine various metallic and grey shades and glued it in place. Then came the cowling, the bombs, the propeller, the cannons, the canopy and the exhausts.

Thereís also an access ladder, but as I had forgotten to drill the holes before assembling the fuselage... Well, no ladder.
I had another funny adventure, when I tried to glue the seat and the gunsight in place, after assembling the whole model. The seat didnít cause any problem, but the gunsight slipped between my fingers, and escaped inside the fuselage (no firewall there !). I shook the model to get it out, but I had put some glue on it. I finally stopped shaking this thing because I was fearing to get a float rather than the gunsight. Itís still firmly glued inside the fuselage, so if anybody has a spare sight, please contact me...

I finished the model glueing the lights, the antenna wire (painted in black,), and off I went to the photo studio ! The cart had been built early, and painted black with a grey drybrush. 

CONCLUSIONS

This is a really nice model, and a welcome change on my shelves. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but more the painting part than the building itself. Iím a beginner in weathering, but as the operational environment of the Rufe was rather damaging for the finish, and as the Japanese paints didnít hold well to the metal, I had the opportunity to experiment without fearing to get something really overdone. Anyway, if you like props and are fed up with Messerspitstangs, give this one a try !

You can see more of Gilles' work by visiting his website;  http://www.master194.com/

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