Making Zero progress

The A6M2 is proceeding nicely, and the cockpit is coming together, primarily because it was molded apart. What I mean is that the cockpit’s various boxes – radios, switch boxes, throttle, etc. – were all molded as separate pieces. That makes assembly a little longer, but I was able to paint, wash and drybrush the structure of the cockpit, then paint and weather the various boxes and add them later. This made it a lot easier to do – you often can’t reach every stringer or former to drybrush it, for instance, and if you do your weathering in layers, a screw-up in an upper layer means starting from scratch at a lower layer. After all the radios are in place, I’ll add the wiring between the various components.
I drilled out the lightnening holes in the kit seat to match my photos, and I broke out the old Reheat brass generic Japanese hardware set for the belts. The seats in the Reheat set have lightening holes that are too big, and the engineering is funky, but the seat belts will work well.
I’m going to try the trick shown in the Model Graphix magazines the model came with and used decals for the instruments, but I’ll apply them individually into the recesses in the control panel (and the side panel and radio). The decals look pretty good, and I figure I can gloss the areas they go into, then trap them with a drop of Future floor polish, which will then double as a lens over the instrument.
One thing the kit seems to lack is a gunsight. Actually, most kits lack gunsights, or at least detailed gunsights. This is surprising, because they were very prominent in most fighters, and often projected out quite a ways, making them very apparent even to casual viewers. Of course, most restorations have the sights removed so the civilian pilot has a nice view, which may have helped some model manufacturers forget this detail. Not a problem – I have the Robert Mikesh book Japanese Aircraft Interiors, 1940-1945,  on loan from Mike Braun, and the sight looks rather boxy and easy to recreate with styrene strip.
I’m looking forward to getting the cockpit together and the fuselage closed up! This is a really neat model!

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