Tuesday 13 March 2018

John Haas' 1/48 Ki-78 Project ~ Part Four

John Haas concludes his scratchbuilt Ki-78 project in 1/48 scale with these images of the completed model and his account of how all the pieces came together.  

First the canopy. John made several pieces, just to be sure, and indeed found that he needed three in order to make a good one. It is always a matter of inch and pinch to blend the canopy into the fuselage and it took two evenings of work before John was happy with the result.

With a sigh of relief  John went on to make some exhausts. A bit odd as the stubs were different. Why that was John doesn't know, but on his model they are different.

Then it was time to paint to model. John chose blue-grey, agreeing with suggestions at this blog about the colour. First  he applied a Polly-S Acryl Paint as a primer to check the surface for imperfections, etc. Then the final coat of blue-grey. It seemed to be similar to PRU-Blue but a bit lighter. Using Humbrol paints John mixed 87 Matt Steel Grey with a drop of 96 Matt RAF Blue and a dash of 76 Matt Uniform Green, then to finally lighten the mix a bit, he added some 64 Matt Light Grey. 

The next step  was the scribing of the panel lines in the paint. By this method very fine lines can be achieved but mistakes are difficult to repair!

By way of explanation for his colour choices, John had studied all the material he could find on the Internet and noted many differences in presentation. The paint schemes of model kits were often very different, for example the antiglare panel on the nose. John felt it was a darker blue-grey rather than black and in a matt finish, considering that infamous and sad photograph of the crushing of the poor plane. Then the filming (?) - markings, which he felt were black and white. For the propeller, John concluded that the front of the blades were natural metal with red warning stripes, and painted them dark brown on their rear.

The next step was to apply the decals. The roundels came from the spares box, whilst the black and white markings were a matter of carefully clipping old decal stripes. For the final details John made two balance-horns for the elevators from stretched sprue.  He also chose to give the model a slightly used look, adding some exhaust staining and a few panel lines with a black pencil. And the model was finally completed! John's conclusion about the whole project was that it can be done, but he has to improve the moulding process to achieve sharper edges. And especially heating the plastic sheet for moulding - that is the difficult trick. But as an experiment, the result was better then John had hoped for.

With special thanks to John for sharing this innovative and interesting project with Aviation of Japan, together with the images of his work-in-progress and completed model. John has also asked me to thank all those who have made kind comments throughout the project.

Image credits:- All © 2018 John Haas


Dan Salamone said...

Fantastic project and execution. Thanks for sharing your work with us!


Michael Thurow said...

Absolutely brilliant! An awesome result when you compare with John's early pictures of the mould. I wished I had such modelling skills. The colour is also nice and stands out well from the more standard JAAF camouflages. Thanks for letting us participate in the making and sharing the excellent photography.

Ken Glass said...

Very nice work, John, thanks for sharing.

Ken Glass

73north said...

wonderful work - I appreciate fully the hard work that went into this

Bill Gilman said...

Beautiful! Scribing panel lines in the paint is a brilliant idea, and one I used recently. Could John share his technique? I used a Tamiya scriber, but "pushed" it instead of "pulling" it.

John Haas said...


It's not that difficult, I use a all day hobbyknife, the one with snapp-off blades.
I use the "pulling" methode, for curved lines I use a piece of cardboard clipped in the right curves.
With straight lines I use a thin piece of plastic card.


John Haas

David S. said...

Inspiring work and well detailed build-report. Thank you for showing us and my laudation to you, Mr. Haas.

Mark Smith said...

Nicely done throughout, John, as usual. Thanks for taking the time to document this work, there are elements that kit builders can certainly put to use also. Thanks for bringing this one to us Nick.