Cutaway models can involve a lot of scratchbuilding and complicated design - the realm of the supermodeler - but Waikong Chung found a shortcut to looking like a real pro.
"Like many modelers," he says, "I've always admired cutaway models but deemed them too difficult. Then one day while finishing a Hasegawa Zero 'skeleton' kit, which has a clear fuselage you can selectively paint (or not) to show the interior, I realized it was essentially a cutaway that required far less scratchbuilding and aftermarket material, as the interior elements are already provided."
Waikong already had a 1/48 scale Hasegawa Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (skeleton version, kit No. 51945), so he got to work - and the results took his modeling to a newly advanced level.
Like most modelers, Waikong started in the cockpit, adding wire and styrene details to dress it up a little.
The details continued aft as Waikong wrestled with the wobbly photoetched-metal formers and stringers.
If he was going to show off the engine, Waikong had to build a styrene firewall and engine mount.
Waikong employed "gizmology" to fill the space. It looked like a lot to fit in the nose ...
... but fit it did. Remember to paint the inside of the fuselage before closing it around the details, Waikong cautions.
Waikong anchored the framing inside the tail where gobs of super glue wouldn't be seen. Extra care in assembly paid dividends. "A magnify glass helps," he says.
Waikong opened just enough wing to suggest more ...
... using styrene sheet and strip to fill in
... and "revealing" machine guns and fuel tanks.
Taken in sum, the details lend an air of complexity to Waikong's carefully considered cutouts.
Things are kept relatively simple underneath and in the wheel wells.
Waikong "chipped" paint with a silver marker, sanding it back a little to keep it from looking too bright.
The result is a realistic depiction of the level of weathering seen in wartime photos - and a darned good-looking George!