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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Hairspray Betty: 1/48th Tamiya Isshikirikko G4M1 Type 11

My kit was built from the 1/48th Tamiya G4M1 version which was first released in 1996 (and in 2011 with new parts and decals for the Admiral Yamamoto Transport version). This is one of the best kits I have ever built from a manufacturer's quality perspective. The parts fit is second to none and detail is good all around.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Well detailed cockpit and interior

  • Very clear glass, thinly molded with separate pilot hatch

  • Finely scribed panel lines

  • Wing spar for extra support provided

  • Main gear doors molded as part of side gear well for added strength and correct angle

  • Separate flaps can be displayed lowered or raised

  • Engines molded as part of back plate

  • Torpedo and bomb load provided

  • Excellent parts fit

Build Inspiration:

This is such an iconic Japanese twin-engine aircraft, I had wanted it as part of my collection for some time. Eventually I came upon the kit at a great sale price and bought if for the stash. Upon first opening the kit (as I always like to do after a purchase, to get a feel for the future build) I was immediately impressed with the detail level but even more impressed when I went to dry fit a few parts, several of which fit together without glue. I knew this would be a good build to follow a short-run kit build to take the "bench-stress" down a notch.

As it turned out this would be one of the first builds on my switch-over to Acrylic paints (again), in addition to my first attempt at a "hair-spray weathering effect.

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Added seat belts and map briefcases to the cockpit

  • Weighted the tires

  • Painted on tail and fuselage stripes

Heads-Up Report:

  • Test fit and carefully line up the longer seams for a filler free build

  • Note the securing pins to fit the wings to the fuselage (cut these if you don't want to commit

  • Some discussion whether the interior should be light green-gray (RLM02 Specified) or dark gray-green

  • Only fit the bomb-bay doors for the reconnaissance version (just in case that wasn't clear in the instructions)

End Result:

The bigger challenge regarding this build was during the paint stage. Not only was I using acrylics again after a long run with oil-base paints (so there was that adjustment) but I would also try the somewhat unpredictable "hair-spray weathering" technique on this aircraft. The G4M was given a base coat of Tamiya aluminum so I could later chip the paint as well as run a scribe down some panel lines to add some wear effect. If your not familiar with the hair-spray weathering process check out Doogs Models in the link below (or other sites) for an explanation Technique: Multi-Layer Chipping – Doogs Models

The chipping technique turned out well enough, although I will continue to experiment with other weathering methods in the future as well. Without a decent bit of experience with this weathering technique you can get some results you didn't intend, however it does have its merits.

I finished my G4M1 Type 11 Isshikirikko model in the kit markings provided of Misawa Navel Fighter Group 2nd Sqn. based out of Rabaul during the Summer of 1942.

The After-Build Report:

This kit is definitely in the highly recommended category. The fit is top-notch and the out-of-the-box details are quite good. An experienced model builder could really make this kit shine with additional scratch building and detailing. Keep in mind with these WWII bombers that there is quite a bit of glass to mask. Eduard did at one point produce masks for this kit - Eduard Models Item #: EX127

Completed build #217 - June 2018 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61049-4800 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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