For obvious reasons, it was the Phantom eggplane that got me hooked, but since that would
also make it the logical choice to start with, I didn't. When dealing with eggplanes,
logic is an undesirable thing.
I have no idea anymore why the Tomcat eggplane made it to my stack, but it was there, I had a week off for Easter, and I needed a "no questions asked" project to unwind, so the Tomcat egg got started.
Technically, these kits are executed at the same levels of quality as the "normal" kits from Hasegawa, though obviously this is by design a very simple kit, a pleasant difference from the sloppy treatment they would have received from Western manufacturers, if experience with science fiction kits is any indication. Artistically however, I must admit to some degree of disappointment. The original eggplanes were more than just silly planes, they were silly vignettes. The FW190, for example, had an exaggerated wolf for a pilot, and was strafing Little Red Riding Hood. I halfway expected to find the big tabby tom, complete with holster and sixshooter, somewhere in the box, but he's nowhere to be found. The tomboy on the box is a poor substitute for a tomcat in the box, if you ask me.
Main assembly is complete, and the cat has been primed. The cockpit decals went in nicely, helped along by Mr Mark Setter and Mr Mark Softer, a combination of decal fluids I decided to experiment with as a second source to the Microscale products. On first sight, it seems Mr Softer is rather less aggressive than MicroSol.
I think the canopy is going to be a problem when painting; I can barely pick out the frames on the foremost section, so I may have to improvise a bit.
I just indulged in a bad display of disobedience. The instructions state that the plane is overall FS16440, but that doesn't match the old style, high visibility markings, so I shot the bottom white, as it should be. This white, by the way, was provided by Tamiya, which, as it turns out, airbrushes very well when thinned with alcohol. Welcome news, as the only other acrylic in easy supply around here is Revell, and their white is far too yellow for my liking, while Tamiya white is actually white.
I attached the canopy, and masked the plane for it's coat of grey with a mixture of tape and metal foil. I found out the hard way that metal foil does not stick so well to tape as it does to plastic, when some of the foil came off in mid spray. Shouldn't do that again.
With the grey on, it was time to turn to the decals. As an experiment, I'm using the Mr Mark set of decal solutions on this one, in liberal amounts, to see if this will provoke any unpleasant interactions with the paints. The decals that came with the kit are such that even without either solution, they wrinkle up shortly after being applied, and then lie down flat. The effect of the solutions seems very strong, but this might be due to the decals themselves.
Hasegawa slipped up a bit with the decals, I'm sorry to say. No yellow where there should be white this time, but the shape of the anti glare panel in front of the canopy doesn't match the shape of the canopy. Some chopping required..