1/72 Hasegawa Neptune Conversion

Gallery Article by Wally Civitico on Feb 17 2010

 

This models genesis starts in 1968.
A pimply youth with aspirations of being a RAAF pilot writes to Lockheed Burbank and asks for aeroplane photographs, a few weeks later a brown envelope greets him on coming home from school.. in the envelope is the glint of aviation photographic gold.. various pictures including "The Truculent Turtle" (more correctly just "The Turtle").  Now I liked the Neptune with its WW2 looks and was lucky enough to fly in one in its last years of service in the RAAF, and I built a model of it years ago shortly after that flight.  Incidently that flight took place at RAAF Base Pearce Western Australia where "The Turtle" departed on its record breaking flight in 1946.  Anyway some 36 years pass and I decide to go through a pile of old magazines and get rid of a life time accumulation of aviation crap, the first mag I open has an article on the Turtle! Flashbacks! Shivers up the spine... in the words of Jake Blues " I SEEEE THE LIGHT!" I had to build a Turtle!  A hundred bucks worth of books, hours on the net researching and cries for help to far and wide and 12 weeks later I start the Turtle!

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Ok the conversion required the front of a P2V5 further modified with radome deletion and a completely new nose profile.  Engine nacelles required major modding.  A tail gunners transparency had to be manufactured (it was but its not real transparent!) The nose gear and bay also had to be modified and the vac form canopy had to be "reframed" to Turtle's configuration.  The Turtle's unique exhaust configuration also had to be modelled.  The props also had to be much modded, thinned and reprofiled.

Whilst construction took its course I took breaks from the task to scan the nose art and photoshop it to a suitable quality for the creation of a decal.  This my friends was a saga  of its own, the photos show some of the WIP stages of this task.  So the old girl gradually took shape as I prepared her to the configuration she was at the beginning of the record flight.  At the end of my journey with this model I felt some satisfaction, but was disappointed that all the wet sanding had left a little slurry under the canopy and she wasn't anywhere near an expert contest quality job.. but I don't care, Turtle sits on my shelf, she looks ok to me and hell who else has got one? Not many I bet!

Wally Civitico

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Photos and text by Wally Civitico