The new 1/72 A5M2b 'Canopied' Claude from Clear Prop! due to be released is rather pricey at about £23 (and over £43 at HLJ which might be something to do with exchange rates or customs duties). Even with a photo-etch sheet and decal options for a camouflaged bird and three natural metal machines it seems expensive, but perhaps that is just an outdated perception of prices on my part. There appear to be a large number of small detail parts for cockpit and engine which is consistent with the previous Gloster E28/39 Pioneer kit from this company and an innovative method of sprue attachments which reduces the possibility of damage to the external airframe parts. Hat tip to Clear Prop! for the Hemp (sic) under surface colour ;-), although natural metal might be more appropriate for this one. More to follow on this as the 'canopied' Claude is a favourite.
Tamiya have recently released a silver-plated version of their superb 1/72 Ki-61-1 Tei Hien 'Tony' kit. This seems to have attracted some sniffy reviews which seems a little unfair. Many modelers find it difficult to achieve convincing natural metal finishes and the silver-plating in this case is about on a par but a little brighter and shinier than an airbrushed Humbrol Metalcote Polished Aluminium rather than the excessively 'chromed' finish on early silver-plated kits. The upside is a smooth and consistent shiny aluminium finish ready for the mottle camouflage decals which are included in the kit (approximately # 21 green) or for painting in other camouflage finishes such as the # 27 blue green mottle, or # 7 solid with wear and tear - or leaving as is. I guess also that the finish could be lightly scoured with graphite dust to represent a more weathered and oxidised aluminium appearance. The downside is that the plating covers every single kit part and will have to be carefully removed from mating edges by scraping to facilitate gluing. Tamiya cite their X-11 Chrome Silver paint for touch ups but I reckon you could get away with the aforementioned Humbrol Metalcote too. In addition to the mottle camouflage decals the kit comes with the same three decal options as the original kit with the blue or red fuselage stripes to suit preference or prejudice. There is a comprehensive history of the type in English, the usual very clear instructions (from the original kit) and a nice touch - a sheet of 'Tech Tips' for modelling tools, how to use them and for painting - English included (Fine Molds take note!). Box art is new and more inspiring than the original ground-bound image. The kit retails for about £14 at HLJ which seems reasonable. In conclusion, nice one Tamiya!
Image credits:- A5M2b box art and contents © 2019 Clear Prop!; Ki-61 box art © 2019 Tamiya, Inc. via HLJ
Thanks for the heads-up, Nick.
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