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Next up is the final subassembly to complete the kit, so we’re entering an exciting time here.

We are assembling the portion of the fuselage which contains the cockpit and equipment bays behind it.  This section has been a bit dodgy to work on and I had to resort to some odd clamps and so forth to make it work, but it’s coming along quite well.  Pre-painting the bulkheads for this section really paid off and I think it’s going to look really good when complete.

Here is a series of photos which depict the build:

[Fuselage-Cockpit-Assy-1_zpsb50850ad]  

[Fuselage-Cockpit-Assy-2_zps3773b53f]  

[Fuselage-Cockpit-Assy-5_zpsa2d795d2]  

[Fuselage-Cockpit-Assy-4_zps6c37bacb]  

One of the somewhat difficult and head scratching parts of this build is to install the lower skin on the bulkheads of the equipment area.  If you notice in the photo just above there is nothing on the bottom of the bulkheads.  Well, that won’t do so we have to put the outer layer of skin on.  However notice that there is no support down there as yet and that those bulkheads might have ended up in all sorts of unusual positions, and the likelihood that they will match up to the stringers on the skin is pretty poor.  I needed some kind of clamp which was small and strong, and without alligator teeth to mar the finish.  Radio Shack to the rescue!

Here are some photos of the clamps and them being used in action, as well as some date if you want to get some of these little goodies for yourself.  They’re pretty cheap.



[Smooth-Copper-MicroClip_zpsef24f22d]  
[Microclip-Open_zps8b5a98e8]  

[MicroClips-in-Use_zpsc775d33f]  



[MicroClips-In-Use-2_zpsf9b1a4e6]  

Just as I did with the 20 mm cannon on this kit, I replaced the 7.7mm Japanese MGs with Master parts from Poland, and blackened them with Blacken-It.  If you have any questions about how to use this stuff, PM me and I’ll give you a complete rundown.  Here’s the nitty gritty on the MGs:

[Master-MG-Label_zps94e8facf]  

[Master-MGs-Brass_zps77bad16c]  

And, after treatment with Blacken-It

[Master-Mgs-Blackened_zpscc852bfc]  

So, now that the structure is complete, it’s time to install the cockpit and equipment in their bays, and I am well along on that process.  Many of the items were painted while other painting was going on, and require only detail painting to finish them off.  You may notice that the instrument faces look a little bit brighter than those found in this kit.  I used the Eduard parts for the instrument faces and a drop of Future to give it a “glass” coat.  The Eduard Parts worked very well in this kit requiring only minor trimming to get them to fit.

So, as usual, I have all my parts laid out and numbered on my workbench, as well as some of them divided into left, center, and right sides of the cockpit.  Lot’s of detail painting to do in the coming days and installation of the parts, but we are truly in the home stretch.

[Fuselage-Cockpit-Area-Parts_zpsb9f910cf]  

Once this sub assembly is complete, we can put it all together and call it “done”.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.