Thursday 26 October 2023

Jim Anderson's Fujimi 1/72 Aichi E16A1 Zuiun 'Paul' - Not OOB!

This Aichi E16A1 Zuiun 'Paul' heralds a season of impressive IJN floatplane models. The 1998 Fujimi 1/72 kit is not built and shown very often so it is a real delight to feature this exemplary model by Jim Anderson of an early production Zuiun.  The Fujimi kit is light years ahead of the old Aoshima kit of 1964 but not without its own challenges and Jim has tackled those most expertly, significantly enhancing and improving the kit details. 

Over to Jim then:-

'Fujimi’s interesting kit of the unusual 1/72 Aichi E16A1 Zuiun (Allied code name “Paul”) was started in September 2020 and lasted until February 2022.  One can see the resemblance to Aichi’s earlier 'Jake' in the lay-out.  The aircraft was designed to perform attack/strike missions as well as reconnaissance duties.  A centreline mounted 250 kg bomb, two wing mounted 60 kg bombs and two 20mm fixed forward firing cannons comprised its offensive capability. Very thick wing roots were another unique feature of this floatplane. Kit decals included markings for a machine from the CV/BB Ise (伊勢) as portrayed on the attractive box art plus another from her sister ship Hyuga (日向). Each hybrid carrier could accommodate 14 Pauls plus 10 Judys.  That is enough to send out a decent strike force but I’ve never found any information that combat missions were ever launched from the mother ships and that the program was short lived.

'My edition of this kit is a good twenty years old and has been released in multiple offerings (including early and late production variants with different dive flaps Ed.)  Fujimi provided partially perforated dive brakes molded into the forward pontoon pylons.  I opted to drill them out even going so far as to contemplate separating the flaps from the strut in order to display them in the deployed mode, but that would have been cutting it too close.  I was hoping that some kind of aftermarket products were available for purchase in order to make the job easier but I couldn’t find anything.  This is a good example of standing on the shoulders of our predecessors as I expect someone will follow and take the idea to the next level.  There were two (perhaps three) different styles of dive brakes that would operate when the aircraft was pushed over into a descending attack.  I initially pictured that the flaps would open in a clamshell fashion but there was more to it than that.  With welcomed help from the Model Mafia there looks to be other variations depending upon when each aircraft was produced. 

'Fujimi included a nice beaching trolley for the floatplane. Here again was an opportunity to drill out even more holes to depict the lightened steel beams.  I stopped counting holes when I reached 200! 

'This kit provided two sets of decals.  One an all-white set and the other set being red, yellow and black.  The white underlayment did give the yellow markings a bright and solid look.  However, the builder is responsible for accurate placement of the color set over the white set.  The fuselage cockpit decking presented me with a problem early during construction.  The aft section was easily anchored but the forward part was floating in free space.  Some plastic braces solved that problem.  Once the dive brakes were finished I continued on to the next assemblies.  A half engine molded onto the kit firewall was a disappointment.  Also a trench was added to approximate the missing fire break vent where I imagined one would be on the forward fuselage.  The kit supplied exhaust stacks were replaced and the cowling flaps were opened up.  If you are planning to build this kit be sure to include weights in the front of each pontoon otherwise the floatplane will not sit properly on the beaching trolley.

'Now on to painting:  Fuselage port and starboard internal bulkheads were given a coat of Humbrol 50 Metallic Green. Seats, decking and horizontal surfaces were Precision Paints M412 Foliage Green.  The propeller is half Testors 1140 Gloss Brown and half Testors 1166 Flat Brown. Undersurfaces are a 50-50 mix of AeroMaster Mitsubishi Gray and Polly Scale IJA Light Gray. The uppersurfaces are 66% Model Masters IJN Green and 33% Pactra X-5 Leaf Green (a 50 plus year old bottle) that produced a high gloss finish. One other consideration I’d like to add is the boundary between the upper and lower colors on the fuselage sides. All my source photographs show a distinctive serpentine pattern that was unique to the Paul. I used a bead of Elmer’s Tack to mimic this shape and gave the model a nice feathered edge here. Maybe now I can build Aichi’s other attacker, the sleek Seiran.'

Ise was an old battleship laid down in 1915, withdrawn to reserve and then re-commissioned more than once and finally re-built as a hybrid carrier battleship able to carry 14 Zuiun and eight D4Y2 Suisei dive bombers. The first catapult launch exercises of Zuiun floatplanes from Ise were conducted in June 1944. 634 Ku was established in mid-August and although conducting training on the battleship it was considered insufficiently ready to go to sea on the ships. After training in night attack techniques the unit was assigned to the defence of the Philippines, operating from Kanakao (Kawait) on the coast of Manila Bay on Luzon in October 1944. The Zuiun unit in 634 Ku was designated 301 Reconnaissance Hikotai.

With special thanks to Jim for sharing these images and details of his model and for his patience in waiting for them to appear. Zuiun is a purposeful looking floatplane and it is surprising not to see it modelled more often. 

Image credit: All Zuiun model photos © 2023 Jim Anderson; Box art © 1998 Fujimi Mokei Co., Ltd; Ise photo via Wiki Japan      


WK said...

Very attractive build and nice attention to detail. Thanks to Jim and Nick for sharing it with us.


Mark Smith said...

A great post! I got a chance to see and photograph this one shortly after its completion (along with his great build of the Fujimi Pete), and that day was an inspiration. The mods and improvements made to this kit look seamless and integral, but only because Jim worked and reworked them until satisfied. His 1/700 shipbuilding skills transferred nicely to this project. Kudos, Jim and Nick, for the excellent build, photography, and writeup, and the finely formatted blog presentation.

WK said...

Nice footage from NARA of a Paul captured in the Philippines


WK said...

And here is another. Sorry Nick, should have combined these two posts


Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks Woody, a timely and very relevant contribution as that Zuiun is from 301 Recce Hikotai, a component of 634 Ku. Interesting that the aircraft tail code appears to be marked on the bomb sight.

The films are very intersting throughout but for those who wish to 'skip' the Zuiun footage begins at 6:57 and 8:30 respectively.


Pat Donahue said...

Nicely done indeed! My compliments. Pat D

Alex said...

Fujimi's Zuiun is rather difficult kit. And there is so excellent result! Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Bade said...

I also built this kit a few years ago as "634-87' and Nick you may recall sending me pictures as I knew I had to do something with those float strut/dive brakes and fiddly kit exhaust stubs. I boldly cut brakes from the strut and fabricated styrene sheet halves with the slotted type perforations and then address the annoyingly dissimilar exhaust pipes.
Well....I succeeded with one and it was not the exhausts. Nicely done Mr.Anderson.
A joy to see and thanks for a real deja-vu
moment. And gratitudes to you Nick for your kind assistance with my Zuiun and this blog.

Michael Thurow said...

The added detail is excellent! A great model to honour this fine floatplane. Thanks for the inspiration.

Baronvonrob said...

Genuinely masterful work, Mr. Anderson !... with great attention to the dive brakes, creating a uniquely accurate Zuiun...

When building my version, I did not have the fortitude of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Bade when it came to the dive flaps, but I can commiserate with those time-consuming individual exhaust stacks :))

Gratitude to Nick and Jim

WD said...

A wonderful build and great attention to workmanship and detail.


Andrew said...

That's a great model Jim, well done.

Jim Anderson said...

Thank you for the comments. I enjoyed looking at the links featuring Zuiun and other interesting things that Woody provided. Huge thanks to Nick for all of his own time and resources that we can enjoy here with everybody.


Dan Salamone said...

Beautiful work on one of my favorite IJN birds. Oh for a 1/48 kit! Thanks for sharing here, Jim and Nick.