1/72 Fujimi TA-4J

by Dennis Brackett



THE INSPIRATION  A single reference photo can sometime be enough inspiration to zero in on a new project.  I dusted off this kit after seeing a photo in a reference book called Bandits!  by Dave Parsons and Derek Nelson.  I decided to model a TA-4J Scooter from VFA-127 Desert Bogies based at Fallon, Nevada, 1983. 

THE KIT  I was pleased with the fit and level of detail in the Fujimi kit. Assembly, seam filling and smoothing filled some pleasant hours at the model desk.  I build almost all my models in “briefing stick” style, gear up with no internal detail.  In the smaller scales that I favor,  internal detail just never looks right and can barely be seen through a closed canopy.   So I leave it out.  Mounting the model on a thin carbon rod also facilitates handling the model during the numerous building and finishing steps.  The mounting stick also makes storing the completed model simple.  I just poke the rod in a block of white styrofoam and let the jet fly.

Click on images below to see larger images




PAINTING  The Mig 17 silhouette color scheme on this jet ended up being one of the more challenging paint schemes that I have attempted.  This jet seems to have a quite dark two-tone desert camo scheme.  Particularly troubling was the black outlining of the Mig 17 silhouette superimposed on a gray TA-4J airframe.  A combination of brush painting and black decal striping was used for the black outline of the mig silhouette.

With only one photo for reference, I had some fun and actually used the wing profile of a Mig 17 kit that is slowly taking shape.  I used a tedious series of masks and Model Master enamels Light Ghost Gray, Dark Tan and Earth and to complete the color scheme. 

DECALS  I love to decal and after all the work on the paint scheme I took a closer look at my one photo reference in the book.  There were almost no markings on this plane that I could discern other than those shown on my model.  This jet seemed to have a splotchy “field modified”  paint job.  If the markings were there, They were so toned down I couldn’t see them at the resolution of my photo reference.  A little disappointed with the scarcity of decals, I moved on to final gloss coats and weathering. 

WEATHERING  I usually weather my models with a dilute oil paint wash that is wicked into recessed panel lines with a tiny paint brush.  I clean up messy spots with a Q-tip and streak the wash in the direction of airflow.   Following this step, Testors clear, flat laquer completed the painting. 

ARC FAN  Thanks again to Steve for providing such a great site for reference, resources and inspiration.  Hope you like the Fallon TA-4J.

Dennis Brackett

Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text © by Dennis Brackett