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Bubble Fighter

[Proudly Sponsored by BLAP! Models]

by John Kluge

Scale: 1/48

I purchased the Bubble Fighter from Fantastic Plastic two years ago and when I saw the fighter contest on the site, I knew that the time had come to put it together. I was on a deadline and had only a few weeks to do the build so here we go.

Assembly was pretty straightforward and the instructions were easy to follow. Before I started, I had some warped parts and after nuking a bowl of water in the microwave, I was able to carefully bend those parts back by soaking it in the water for about 15 seconds. The warped stuff was mostly the wings and smaller cockpit items. There was a lot trimming to do and in some cases, a little bit of hacking at all of the excess stuff on the parts but it got cleared up. After a lot of sanding and shaping I was able to put the parts together but there were a few gaps that I filled in without any problems. I glued the large parts together by hanging the large bottom part upside down from a string and adding on one large piece at the time. I managed to attach the smaller pieces by laying it flat on a large tape roll so that the smaller wing pieces do not touch the table while I did my work but whenever the glue was drying, I stowed it upside down on the string, One note about the bubble was that there were supposed to be rings inside the bubble that surround the seat but they were too big for the bubble and I did not know how to scale them down so I left them out

For painting, I used a white spray primer followed by two coats of gloss white spray. The Rising sun pattern was tricky. I researched a lot of WW2 Japanese flags online and decided to start with the Sun. I traced and cut out a decent sized circle and just folded it down till I felt that there was enough sunrise but not too much as to dominate the whole body. I brush painted two coats of Insignia Red in order to make the red really cover the white and not look pink. The lines were a real trick. I started with the top line that runs aft and over the engine starting with 1/4 inch at the sun and spreading out to 3/4 inch at the end. I then went over 1/2 inch each side trying to avoid most of the bulbous portions of the body and repeated the 1/4 inch base and opened up the end of line as needed. The top small wings would be a lot of work so I opened up the lines to include the wings and then I guestimated the remainder of the lines that appear to come from under the body's horizon. With the rays going to the edge of the wings, I was able to flip the wing over from that ray and just lay the tape so it matched the painted rays on the other side. One good idea is to use visuals as reference such as molded lines and peices of the wing suck as the small pods on the back edge of the wing. The engine section and cockpit were done with Boltgun metal

I go the idea of The Rising Suns from my time stationed in Japan while in the Navy. I saw a Japanese motorcycle club called the Rising Suns and the name stuck with me. The kanji was supplied to me by my wife (who is Jjapanese) and there were many variations of how to write this name out. I went with the variation that says "The Rising Sun Flag" and after about two hours with a small brush and zero Red Bull I managed to pull off a decent paint job that my wife approved of.

The final work was the decals, of which I only used four from the kit, and then the wire work for the external pipes. The kit supplied these small strands of plastic that look like cat whiskers. They bend easy but on only real sharp bends. Now I realize that maybe they do mild bends with hot water but I chose to go with .032 brass rods instead to match the gold logo. I made one set, fitted them and did the exact bends on the opposite side - but remember to measure twice and bend once very slowly with needlenose pliers. The same rule goes for cutting. I did a final coat of clear gloss, glued on the bubble, added a small brass pin to help stand the model up for pics and that was it. Done in three weeks. All in all, it was a good challenging build for me and it is on to other things that will follow soon.

Image: Port side

Image: Left/rear

Image: Starboard side

Image: Front view

Image: Top

Image: Looking down

Image: Above/right

Image: Kanji

Image: Detail

Image: English on the other side

Image: Piping

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This page was last updated 11 January 2011. © 2011 Starship Modeler