Saturday 5 August 2023

Navy Type 13 No.3 carrier-based attack aircraft modified seaplane (Mitsubishi 3MT2) by John Haas Pt.1

Another masterpiece in the making from John Haas, inspired by the Choroszy models range but scratch-built to 1/48 scale, the modified seaplane of Mitsubishi's 3MT2 design as the Navy Type 13 No.3 carrier-based attack aircraft modified seaplane (一三式三号艦上攻撃機改造水上機). The Mitsubishi 3MT2 design was the last production model for the Type 13 carrier attack aircraft and adopted in January 1931. Over to John then:- 

'Dear Modellers,

'I had much pleasure in building my  last model; so after further searching the excellent Choroszy collection I found another interesting model. This time the Navy Type 13 carrier attack aircraft seaplane variant. Fortunately I found some useful photographs and even an 3-view drawing in the 1990 Putnam book 'Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941' by Robert C Mikesh and Shorzoe Abe, and in Volume One (Mitsubishi Aircraft) of the 1981 Shuppan-Kyodo 'Encyclopedia of Japanese Aircraft 1900-1945'.  

'I built this model in the same usual way as my other models. For the fuselage frames I used 2mm plastic sheets and the sides were covered with a thin 0.5mm sheet. That was the easy part, now I had to fabricate the fuselage top with three cockpits. I solved this by carving a piece of wood and using this form with the 'heat and smash' method to fabricate a thin plastic cover. 

'With the fuselage ready I could carve a piece of wood for the engine which fitted the dimensions of the fuselage. The next step was to make the tail structure. Again I used some 2mm sheet and to make it more interesting I fixed the elevators in a lowered position.  

'Now I could turn to build some wings. Well, compared with the fuselage they are really BIG! Again Mr. Harry Woodman* came to rescue me so I made two wings from thin sheet material and paid special attention to get a solid and stable construction of the middle part. I cut the lower wing into two halves and drilled two holes to insert a piece of large paperclip to get a sturdy connection with the fuselage. 

'The next chapter was to fit the upper wing. The first step was to drill some holes for the wing struts, those being cut from 1mm sheet and sanded in profile. Fortunately the wings have no stagger which made things a bit easier. I fixed some struts in strategic places on the lower wing, then turned the model upside down and placed it carefully on the upper wing. I cemented the struts with liquid glue. When everything had dried I cemented the other struts in place. This important step went well, the wings lined up as planned. Now I could make two coolant radiators and fix them to the fuselage. 

'Now I had some forward planning to do; I had to paint the wings before the rigging adventure. This was also a good opportunity to try Revell's Silver Metallic No. 361/90 Aqua Color for the first time. I had used Humbrol enamel for many years, but unfortunately, in my opinion, the present quality is no longer what it used to be (Agreed! Ed.). So the experiment with Revell turned out very well, with two brush painted coats achieving a nice result.

'Now followed some old fashioned woodworking; making the two wooden floats, I was glad that they had flat surfaces, because it is already difficult enough to get them both equal and to the right size. I painted the floats in white primer and glued copper wire on the upper part with AC.'

With very special thanks to John for sharing these fascinating work-in-progress images and details of this challenging scratch-built project. 

* Scale Model Aircraft in Plastic Card by Harry Woodman, (Model & Allied Publications, England, 1975-77)

Image credit: All model construction photos © 2023 John Haas; Aircraft photo © 1981 Shuppan-Kyodo Publishers, Tokyo.


David Brizzard said...

What a great start for a unique floatplane. Looking forward to more. Thanks.

Baronvonrob said...

Simply astounding …model building on an elite level!... looking forward to the final version.

Thanks to both John and Nick

Michael Thurow said...

Excellent craftmanship as always, John! Wonderful to see you build such a rare model which we would never see if you didn't have these great scratch-building skills. It would nicely fit my current penchant for floatplanes.

Jim Anderson said...

Skillful build John. Very interesting floatplane subject. Great in progress pictures and descriptions. It will be nice to see it finished.

Sergio L. de H. Teixeira said...

Hats off for your outstanding skills!

Alex said...

Just fantastic handmade job! Thanks for sharing.

Mark Smith said...

John, it's always interesting to see faith in action! That's what your style of modeling embodies. What the pictures can't capture is the Elbow Grease Time that's been put in here. Very interesting writeup and inspiring work - look forward to the endgame for this one. Thanks, Nick, for letting us see this one unfold.

Fred boucher said...