Tuesday 19 December 2023

The Nichimo E13A 'Jake' revisited by Michael Thurow ‒ Part 2

Michael Thurow's
exacting renewal of his vintage 1/50 scale Nichimo (former Marusan) 'Jake' model with progress pics continues in Part 2. Over to Michael then:-

 The Nichimo E13A 'Jake' revisited ‒ Part 2 

Michael Thurow

Part 2 of my Aichi E13A project starts with the fuselage interior. The Marusan/Nichimo kit has nothing to offer in this respect. I was lucky to have purchased the resin 'Jake' cockpit set from Lone Star Models a few years ago. Unfortunately the moulds had worn out when my set was cast which made the parts a bit clumsy and undefined with lots of flash. After some scraping and cleaning, however, they provide a decent portrayal of the cockpit.

I changed and added a few details as shown. In particular, I replaced LSM's inappropriate P-51 style console on the pilot's left with an authentic controls quadrant, and the navigator's seat was moved forward by 3 mm to match the canopy frames.

Despite the widespread use of the E13A during the entire Pacific War photo documentation of its cockpit interiors is very scarce. The most pictures and drawings were published in Maru Mechanic # 12. Even so there is no image of the starboard cockpit wall, and both LSM's representation of the control boxes and my enhancements are largely speculative. The meandering heating pipe is however genuine.

For a powerplant I cannibalised the Mitsubishi Zuisei from my Tamiya F1M2 'Pete' kit which I had replaced with a Vector aftermarket engine instead. The Zuisei was the smaller brother of the E13A's Mitsubishi Kinsei 43. It is in scale for 1/50 and fits Nichimo's cowling nicely. The prop is an A6M2 unit from a model long gone.

In order to protect my previous work I rigged and finished the floats before completing the cockpit. On the original 'Jake' the wires had different grades (10 to 16 mm). I standardised on two sizes of Griffin Jewelry Wire. My rigging method is structural (vs cosmetic), i.e. the cables are pulled tight to reinforce the airframe, which is of course more relevant for biplanes than in this case. The Griffin material (steel wire coated with nylon) is perfect: It won't yield, bend or rip, reacts easily with CA glue, and the gunmetal shimmer looks like wire and not like thread.

How to make cable fairings

I use paper strips formed into a cone and cut to the required shape and size. This technique is very flexible, allowing for different sizes and shapes, flat or round, with large or small openings. Covered with several layers of plastic and/or CA glue the tiny pieces can even be sanded.

Back to the cockpit, which is now squeezed in with both sides closed. This was a tough job due to a very tight fit excerbated by outward bulging walls. Some puttying was necessary. I added more detail as per the following figure -

The canopy presented another of those challenges that slow down progress. LSM's vacu parts had blisters and fit poorly and the transparencies from my original build were not in good condition either. I finally settled with a combination of parts, cleaned up as much as possible - altogether not a sterling piece of work.

The powerplant, lastly, was attached with the help of support strips from plastic card. Some adjustment of the front deck profile was required (paper and putty) to correct the slope toward the windscreen. Carburettor air duct and oil cooler are slightly modified original parts, and for exhaust pipes I used custom-made pieces of electric wire insulation.

To be continued...

With special thanks to Michael for the details and progress pics of this challenging project. Part 1 may be found here.

Image credit: Heading box art © 1963 Marusan; All other images © 2023 Michael Thurow


Jim Anderson said...

Really enjoying your second installment on the Jake. The images with the informative labels show a lot especially the office. It's bound to happen that when everything is done that there will be a new tool kit on the market. Looking forward to the next update. Thank you Michael and Nick.

Dan Salamone said...

Love the idea on the paper fairings. I'd like to build the Hasegawa Pete at some point and this will come in very handy. Looking forward to the next installment Michael!


John Haas said...


I like the way you build this model.
And I enjoy how you solve the many issues.
Keep up the good work !


Baronvonrob said...

A delightful and detailed step-by-step description of the entire process.

Looking forward to the rest of the story!

Thanks for the Griffin jewelry wire tip and another splendid post from Nick and Michael!

WK said...

Incredible craftsmanship on display here.


WD said...

Beautiful work!

Danilo said...

My best Season's Greetings to Nick and all AoJ's friends!

Kevin Bade said...

I will have to try Griffin jewelry wire. Any form of rigging or wiring has always been a skill unmastered by yours truly and all attempts are fraught with ham-fistedness and colorful laungage. Entertaining Jake re-cycling Mr. Thurow. Looking forward to its completion.

blitzkrieg_bop said...

impressive restoration and detail work, great recovery Michael