As is typical of all aircraft this model starts out inside, the cockpit more precisely. Something I've never had before in a model I've built is a cockpit construction that has a floor, both sidewalls as separate pieces, bulkheads and such that then fit into the fuselage halves. Looking at the detail of this though I like how much more it offers versus just molded detail on the sidewalls as other manufacturers do. The control stick gets attached to the floor, with the back of the fuel tank (or that's what I'm assuming it is) gets attached to the rear bulkhead before fitting this to the floor.
At this point I was presented with the first option of the build, the seat assembly, however, this depends on which variant of the aircraft paint scheme and for this one I decided to go to with option «B», solely because of shark mouth! Next, another stick is added to the floor before turning our attention to the sidewalls. Each sidewall of the cockpit gets painted interior green followed up by the various details receiving black as appropriate before sealing it and adding the decals where needed. Finally, the sidewalls get glued to the main part of the cockpit before sealing it inside the fuselage.
Moving onto the fuselage halves a door is added to the port side sealing off an opening before painting both halves interior green throughout, probably wasn't needed but it was just as easy to blast the entire thing versus a few key areas and hope I had it all for when its all put together. Before the two halves get paired up a few parts are added, the intake and exhaust cowling for the turbocharger specifically. A small glass bit is also added rearward of the cockpit, fuel sight glass maybe?
Once the fuselage is glued shut the gun pods get mounted at the front upper surface of the engine, removing molded-in supports first and then adding the appropriate pieces to fill the gaps before finally adding the guns. The wing roots are then added and I was skeptical of adding these now and boy was I right. More info down in the wings.
Wings & Control Surfaces
To start off the wing assembly the instructions highlight that the model can have a stand fitted and a few holes must be drilled if so, otherwise gluing in the wheel bays is all that's required. From there the instructions call to attach this to the fuselage but I opted to keep going on assembly and fit them later. With that said the next step is to add the top surfaces and spend some quality time with the sanding sticks smoothing out the seam along the leading and trailing edges to blend them into one cohesive piece. Bulbous-looking pieces are then added to the front of the wing edge where the landing gear is.
As is pretty typical of aircraft models is that the horizontal stabilizers are made up of two pieces, again requiring the use of sanding sticks to smooth out the seam lines on them before fitting to the fuselage. The rudder and elevators are then added and some play for the angle is given to allow you to not have just dead straight control surfaces, something more models need to do honestly!
With the bulk of the model built I thought it was time this model headed for the spray booth. I started by spraying the lightest color on the bottom for which I turned to old school Model Master paints in camo grey as I don't have it in any other brands somehow. It applied great of course as an acrylic. once that had sufficient time to dry I turned to the wheel wells and painted them Khaki, with interior green where the struts go as per the instructions.
With the bottom side painted I was able to tackle the top. First up was a coating over the entire things of Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth. This was a pretty good choice I think for this classic WWII color. I freehanded underneath and around the tail so I didn't have to mask and risk ruining the white and had very little overspray at all surprisingly. With the first coat set up for a day or two, I turned to the second color, XF-65 field grey and freehanded the green camo pattern onto the upper surfaces, some spots the edge wasn't very well defined as it could have been but they don't stand out too much.
Never having done a kit from Airfix before I wasn't sure how their decals were going to be, on the sheet they look great in color and thinness but that doesn't always mean anything. Turns out they are a real treat to work with. I started with the roundels and stencil data on the upper surfaces of the model, before turning to the side profiles. There is a red ring that circles towards the rear of the model just forward of the vertical fin that required a bit of finesse to get to form and set well and straight. It's still not as perfect as if I had just masked and painted it but it's close. With some Mr mark setter and softer the decals formed to the surface very well and look to be painted on almost rather than a decal. I was very impressed with them. Once all the decals on the upper and side surfaces had been set up I turned and did the remaining ones on the bottom, mostly to avoid accidentally lifting off previous decals.
With the decals on it was time to turn to the finishing touches of this model such as the landing gear. I assembled the gear legs earlier in the build so that I could paint them as an assembly rather than fitting them together after the fact, they got painted a silver color before adding a black wash to bring out the details. The gear doors were painted grey outside and interior color inside before attaching those as well, sans one that the carpet monster ate.
The final detail of the model was the propeller which was a multi-piece build, before painting the spinner brown and the prop blades black with yellow tip and decals on the blades themselves. With that done it was time to photograph this one and place it on the shelf.