Plugging Away On The Hiei

I’m still working on that Japanese battlecruiser. In fact, I’ve finished construction and started painting. Granted, it’s my first ship, so I don’t have any real good tips & tricks on construction or painting, so I’m just applying the "Fundamentals of Modeling" as I go. Regardless, here’s a couple things I’ve picked up along the way.
  • At 1/700 scale, the parts are scary-tiny. I was only a day or two into construction before I decided that I needed to keep parts that I wasn’t actively using in bins. In this case, I used transparent plastic baby food "bins" to try to keep all the parts together.
  • Keep the sub-assemblies separate until after painting. In fact, I may have already glued down too much. With small parts as close together as they are, it’s going to be tricky to get in there and apply washes to bring out the details.
  • You’re not going to be airbrushing this thing… See above. There’s just too much going on here–and in too many different colors–to make airbrushing reasonable. Of course, since I don’t use an airbrush, this comes off as a bonus for me.
  • Aftermarket detail sets would help a lot. While the detail here is decent, there’s nothing outstanding about it. No handrails, no antenna wires. There are handrail sets available in 1/700–as brass photo-etch, but I’m not going to pursue that on this first effort. Down the road, I’ll probably try out one of those Dragon "Smart Kits" that come with the brass bits. As for the antenna wires, I’m going to try to do some of them using stretched sprue. There’s also some very finely detailed towers and structures that were present on the real-life Kiei that just can’t be rendered in 1/700 plastic. Again, brass would help here, but I’m not going to go that far on this kit.
  • Reference photos will become essential. One quick internet search shows me that the color callouts from the instruction sheet are incorrect in a few locations. Mostly minor, but certainly notable. I’ll be making an effort to correctly color this thing, instead of just painting it like the instructions tell me to.
And that’s about it, so far. Painting this thing is an exercise in steady hands and patience. A couple painting notes… First off, it calls for "tan" on the rear deck where the plane will sit. I mixed a 50/50 ratio of Tamiya "Dark Yellow" and "Flat Earth". And it worked quite well. It also calls for "wood" color for much of the deck. Tamiya "Dark Yellow" (with a little accidental mixing of "Flat Flesh") looks like a perfect color match. Of course, all these were acrylics and all were brushed on. More progress will follow…
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