• johan.hammar@plasticfantastique.com


75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 12

Now this project is getting me a bit frustrated. The Battle Of Midway took (stretching it) three days. This project has now taken over a year. There is now only two kits left and I’ve started on one of them. So why the frustration?

The B-17E

Although done an over with I’m not quite happy with the result. Primarily it’s an old kit and not up to today’s standard. On top of that some conversion was needed (turning the B-17F kit into a B-17E) and I’m not very good at scratch building. I had some help by getting hold of the nose dome but the rest was really a bit over my head. Specially the Bendix belly turret.

Also the colours turned out to be a challenge. There’s no real references except from the colour photos from John Fords documentary of the battle. The camouflage was applied at the Oahu airbase on Hawaii after the war broke out and were more a local spur of the moment than an official US Army standard. Many references says that the brown was a rust brown so I used that. On the whole I’m not satisfied. Should I do it again It would turn out a lot better but I don’t have the resources (specially not a second nose dome) or the perseverance to do it again so this one has to do.

The Dave

Next one was to be the E8N Dave. As I’ve written earlier I bought a Nakajima E8N1 Dave. I was a bit hasty as I realized I needed an E8N2. Also I did extensive internet searches for information (and preferably pictures) of Daves from the Battle Of Midway. The only snippet I managed to find was in a few books they mentioned that at Dave partook in the primary search pattern that the Japanese sent out on the morning of June 4. It was a plane from the battleship Haruna.

Then I thought I’ve found a mention of several Daves that had been sent out. Amongst other the battleship Kirishima and the kit I had pictured a Dave from that battleship. Happily I started the kit. But then on a second look I found that the information on several Daves in a search came from Pearl Harbour and not Midway. I also noted that the battle order for Midway states that the Daves aboard the Kirishima was E8N2’s so the E8N1’s had been replaced by then. So I finished the kit but will not include it in the project. Later I could of course get hold of an E8N2 but the rigging on this kit was a pain and I still don’t have any documentation for Midway markings so I think I’ll give it a miss.

Now what?

The last frustration at moment is that I have a Yokosuka D4Y1 ‘Judy’ in the mail. It has been on it’s way from Japan for a month now. As this will be my next kit in the series I’m starting to get a bit upset over the mail services. Then there is the already started Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless as the finish line.

As far as I know there will only be two kits missing when I’m done. First the E8N2 as mentioned above who’s only contribution in the battle was a scouting sortie without any results. The second will be the Grumman J2F Duck. It’s only claim to fame at Midway was that the only one present (a liaison plane) was bombed to oblivion by the Japanese.

75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 11

OK, we have now past the target date, June 4. It is now officially really 76 years after the Battle Of Midway. Well not to worry, I’ll just keep going. There’s two reasons why I missed the target. 1. I had two stow away my hobby stuff for several months due to a move. 2. I started with ten kits to build but the more I read about the battle and the more I searched the internet for available kits the more I found (see previous blog posts). I think I can safely say that the tally will stop at sixteen kits.

The B-17

I’m still working at my B-17F to B-17E conversion. It’s been fighting me all the way. To start with the kit as such is getting very old and by today’s standard it leaves a lot to wish for. Then I had a hard time to find a conversion kit. And when I finally manage to lay my hands on one it turns out that the nose dome was the only part that I needed. A well needed Bendix turret for was not included. A spare Bendix tower from a B-25B kit was of no help either. I ended up by doing one in wood. Not the best result but still. Then the nose dome turned out not to be a perfect fit to the kit either so some filler work had to be done. The next challenge was trying to get the colours right. There’s no records of exactly what colours they used when they improvised new camouflage at Hawaii. I used the colour documentary John Ford did on Midway and did the best I could.

The spotters

My next challenge will be the Nakajima E8N1 Dave. The kit as such looks good but it is a double decker and I always dread those. A lot of wiring and stuff. Another thing with this kit is that there are no reference pictures of the Dave from the cruiser Haruna that partook in the recognizance mission at Midway. No real hints on colouring and markings. Scavenging the internet I finally found a digital art portraying the actual plane. No chance of determining if the artist have taken any artistic licenses when doing it but it’s as close as I can get.

The Judy is still in the mail with estimated delivery some time before June 25th. It’s travelling from Japan so it has a bit longer to travel than the Dave had. Then it’s only to finish the SBD-3 and I’m done.


75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 10

I have seen the old James Bond picture “Never say never again” so I ought to know better. In my last post I happily exclaimed that I had received the last kit in the Battle Of Midway project. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First a progress update.

I have finished the Vindicator (read the review of the kit here). At the moment I’m in the midst of converting the B-17F to a B-17E. I tried to make the Bendix turret out of wood but I was not happy with the result. Then I found an article about doing exactly this conversion and this guy had used a Bendix turret from a B-25B kit! So return to Ebay and I managed to find a Doolitle-raid B-25B. They used B-25B’s but without the belly turret. BUT on scalemates.com I could see that the kit was a conversion and that the turret was included! So soon I hope to receive my B-25B and plunder the turret and still be able to build a complete Doolittle bomber.

As I’ve written before I would stop at thirteen kits having covered all aircraft types of the battle except, as I thought. I knew that some of the cruisers carried Nakajima E8N “Dave” reconnaissance planes but thought I’d give them a miss. But then I read more about the battle and realized that one of them partook in the search patterns from the fleet (even if it didn’t find anything). Ebay again. It’s in the mail. Fifteen.

Then I kept reading and suddenly I realized that two early Yokosuka D4Y1-C “Judy” was aboard the Sōryū. The “Judy” was developed as a dive bomber but initial structural problems meant that the early model was used for reconnaissance instead. Two of these went to Midway. Not only that but one of them played a part in the battle! You know what’s next. Ebay. Yes, a D4Y1/D4Y2 “Judy” kit is also in the mail. Sixteen.

Then I HAVE to stop.




75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 9

Today, finally, the last kit in the project arrived! The goal is now in sight. But first things first.

The Flying Fortress

The conversion kit has arrived. As promised it contained parts to not only convert the B-17F to a B-17C or B-17D but also to a B-17E. To be honest that turned out to be just the nose dome. The rest of the conversion kit is just really needed for the C/D versions. This turned out to be one of the most expensive parts I’ve ever bought. I will still have  the parts to convert another kit to the C or D versions but then I will miss the shorter nose that I’m going to spend now. You can’t always win.

Also, it is true that the B-17E had the new ball turret that’s in the kit. And some of the newer Fortresses at Midway had it. But the older B-17E’s at Midway, the ones with the more interesting paint schemes, had the Bendix flat turret with a sight cupola next behind it. This can clearly be seen in John Fords documentary from the battle. Now it would be tempting to just build one of the newer ones but what’s the challenge in that? The Bendix turret is not in the conversion kit so it’s scratch building time. My main concern is how to get the clear sight cupola. I’ve rummaged through my spare parts stash but no luck. This will need some consideration.

I think I have all the needed decals to do any of the Fortresses at Midway although a serial number containing a 7 will need some creativity but if I can do the Bendix turret this would be a small challange.

The final kit

As mentioned above the final kit arrived today. It was the Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator. This won’t be the final kit in my series, that will be the SBD-3 I’ve already started that as mentioned in my last post. But it was the last acquired. For a long time I was going to skip this (as well as the B-17) but after reading of Capt. Fleming who was the only one that was awarded the Medal Of Honour at Midway I changed my mind. To get the kit was another thing. There was a French Vindicator available at Hannants but how to be certain on all details? A Midway Vindicator from Midway was announced but not released.

I started to scout Ebay. Suddenly there was a reasonable priced Midway Vindicator available from South Korea. It clearly stated that the kit lacked decals and box art but as I have alternatives for the decals that was okay. I bought it. Today it arrived and to my surprise the 2 X in the item description really meant that it was two complete kits! Reasonable price indeed. But also there was no instructions. With a little help from different Facebook groups I got that sorted in less than 20 minutes.

Now the markings for Flemings plane, number 2 in Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241. The instruction indicates that there is no pictures of Flemings plane so some guessing has been done. And sure enough when you search the net there is several paintings of the plane that all differs. What to trust? But yet again I scrutinized John Fords documentary from the battle and lo and behold! Suddenly there is a scene with Vindicator number 2 taking off in full view. Why has no one caught this before? Still here I had all the reference I needed, and it differed quite a deal from the paintings. These were more like the other Vindicators taking off in the same scene.





75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 8

A bit frustrated at this point. But more about that in the later part of my post.

Metal parts to the DBD-3The SBD-3

I have slowly started work on the final kit, the Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless. The kit is from Hasegawa and after I built the SBD-2 I have to admit that it’s not as good as Academy’s SBD-2. But this time I’ve added a lot of after market stuff so maybe that will compensate. But it also makes it a lot more fiddly. It’s all to easy to shoot away that 3 mm etched metal part with the tweezers into oblivion. But that is why I start this kit a bit early because it will take time.

I’m also bracing myself for the paint job. I bought paint masks for the markings on the kit. It’s an art I’m trying to master. The result looks really good compared to decals but naturally there’s more job. In some places it can be hard to get the mask to adhere to the surface. If the the surface is bended or things protrude and the mask is a bit stiff it can be hard to keep it tight. This was true when I did the SBD-2. The national insignias on the fuselage was placed quite close to the wing root and keeping the mask in place while airbrushing was a challenge. Still the end result was gratifying.

A pleasing frustration

As I mentioned at the start I’m a bit frustrated at the moment because this project gets bigger for every post. At the moment I’m still waiting for the Vindicator to clear the customs, where it has been for ten days now. As this was the penultimate kit in the project that was a bit frustrating.  But then one, or actually two, of Kosters 1/48 Flying Fortress B-17C/D/E Vacuform Conversion Kit turned up on Ebay. After a week of nail biting I managed to win one of the auctions.

A blessing in disguise as this means that I now can turn the B-17F kit I have on the shelf into a Midway B-17E adding yet another (quite large) kit into the project. So at the moment it looks like it’s going to be 14 kits in total and that I will not make my target date of July 4, the 76th anniversary.

Well more fun to do.





75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 7

I’m beginning to reach the end of this project. Just putting the finishing touches to the SBD-2 Dauntless flown by Lt. Iverson. This will be the eleventh kit. Still have two to go so the tally will end at thirteen if not a conversion kit for making a B-17G Flying Fortress into a B-17E miraculously should turn up. But the chance of that happening looks bleak.

The SBD-2

While doing the Marauder I decided to include the SBD-2 into the project. Reading about Lt. Daniel Iverson and navigator Wallace J. Reid and in what state they returned to Midway made my mind up. Also the fact that the plane was patched up, used as a trainer and then lost in Lake Michigan to be salvaged in 1993 and now in a museum helped.

The kit is originally from Accurate Miniatures but my version was sold by Academy. Lucky for me the decals was for Iverson’s plane. The kit is generally a good one and really needs no changes. So basically I built it out of the box. The only extras I used was paint mask for the cockpit hood and the national insignias. The national insignias would have been hard as decals because the wings have some kind of intakes just where the insignias goes.

The only snag is that Hasegawa’s kit of the SBD-3 does not look as promising. I hope that it does not become a disappointing finish to my project.


The finish?

I finally bought the Vindicator. I found one reasonably priced kit on Ebay. It lacks the decals but that doesn’t matter too much as I’ve also bought paint masks for the plane I want to build. I’m looking forward to receiving it because it’s also an Accurate Miniatures kit. Also the item on Ebay was titled “2 X 1/48 Accurate Miniatures SB2U-3 Vindicator” so it will be interesting to see if it’s just one kit or if it’s actually two. According to the package tracking it’s just arrived at customs clearance in Sweden.

After the Vindicator it’s only the hero of the battle left, the SBD-3 Dauntless. If I manage to do these two during May the project will have taken me a year. Still that’s included a stop of several months when I was moving.

I’ve started a project web page where I will write the Battle Of Midway story with pictures of all my kits.






75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 6

Just finished kit number nine, the Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 ‘Kate’. I’ve written a review of the kit here. This project has a tendency to grow under way. I started out with nine kits, including two Dauntless, so really eight. This was what I thought was reasonable as it was hard to find more kits of plane types participating in the battle. I was proven wrong. Since then I found the Aichi E13A1b ‘Jake’ the Japanese reconnaissance plane that filled an important part in the sinking of the USS Yorktown. I also managed to get hold of a B-26 Marauder and enough reference pictures and assorted decals to be able to do the build SusieQ who made a run along the deck of the Akagi. I’ve also realized that the Vought SB2U Vindicator was more active in the battle than I previously thought prompting me to go out looking fore one, no deal done yet but it’s available. I also have a B-17 Flying Fortress but it’s a B-17G and the ones on Midway was B-17E and to do that I’d need a conversion kit. This is not as readily available.

The Marauder at Midway

I’ve just started the kit that will become SusieQ. Got it in the mail yesterday after it had made a turn in the customs office.  I had already bought paint masks, photo etched parts and assorted decals for it and had them waiting. Unfortunately there is a shortage of reference pictures of the actual plane. The only picture I found is of a metal plate with the text “SusieQ” that was cut out of the wreck. So I know how that looked like. But I also found a concurrent picture of a B-26 at the Aleutian Islands equipped with a torpedo. So I will use that as a paint reference and guide to place the serial numbers etc.

Fortunately the torpedo on this B-26 looks a lot like the extra torpedo that was included in the Devastator kit. I also have to file away a few things from the fuselage from the kit that was not on the Aleutian plane. It had no forward guns on the fuselage and there’s an extra armour plate on the pilot side that needs getting rid of. There is several drawings of the SusieQ but it’s clear that the lack of reference pictures has opened the field for artistic freedom. Just the placement of the serial number differs from the tail fin to the fuselage. But the Aleutian picture helps. But weather the plane had the ‘U.S. ARMY’ text under the wing or not is an open question.

I also soon discovered that Esci’s Marauder kit is not a reboxed version of Mongrams/Revells kit as I thought. This means that not all etched metal parts from Eduard will fit my kit.

And onwards

There has been some really expensive Vindicator kits on Ebay but lately two kits have shown up at https://www.hannants.co.uk. Available today is Azur’s Vought V-156F Vindicator ‘French Navy’ but even if it’s based on Accurate Miniatures “Marine Corps Bomber SB2U-3 Vindicator
VMSB-241, Battle of Midway” it has new parts so I’m a bit uncertain. At the same time Hannants has also announced a “Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator Battle of Midway” from Academy but it’s listed as Future Releases with no date. So I’m in two minds how to act here. One thing is clear though. The Vinidactor is in the project as of now.

Then we have the B-17 Flying Fortress. They were based at Midway and made several unsuccessful bombing runs on the Japanese navy. The only snatch here is that the available kit in 1:48 is a B-17G and the ones at Midway was B-17E. There’s many small differences like the belly turret, the front glass etc. A bit too much for me to scratch build. There was a conversion kit from Koster Aero Enterprises but it’s not available anywhere. It still looks like the B-17 will be out of the race.

When it comes to the Dauntless I have two kits, one SBD-2 and one SBD-3. The older SBD-2 was based at Midway and had an active role during the battle but the SBD-3 that were based on the carriers were really the ones that saved the Americans bacon. My initial thought was to just build one of each aircraft type in this project but now I’m starting to ponder weather I should do both Dauntless anyways. The SBD-3 I’m planning for the grand finale. It has a lot of extras to the kit and it was the SBD-3’s that sealed the fate of the Japanese carriers so it will be the perfect kit to end the project with. But Maybe I should push in the SBD-2 before that? Choices, choices.






75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 5

I’ve now started with subjects seven and eight in my project. On my display I now have the Zero, the Val, the Wildcat, the Catalina, the Buffalo and the Avenger.

I’m considering starting at new page on this site to write more about the history of each models subject. Like I do on the social medias. Well we’ll see how long that will take to get in place.

The Jake

I’ve written a few words about this kit in previous posts. It’s the last addition to the collection and for a long time I thought that there was no such kit in scale 1:48. But somewhere I picked up traces of an old kit that had existed and started to hunt. Lo and behold when several turned up in a search on Ebay. I finally got one from Germany.

Now this kit is from the 70’s and that is apparent. The level of details is scarce, there is a lot of moulding flash and uneven surfaces. After all these years I also suspect the decals are shot to pieces but the colours is all wrong anyway. But still it’s a Jake in the right scale.

This will probably be quite a quick build. I could have spent ages on detailing and generally fix things up on this one but I’ve decided to do my best with what there is. I’ll need some new decals but I think I can scavenge leftover from other kits and/or I will do some serious masking which would be a first for me.

I also have to decide on which Jake to do. I have the choice of two planes. The first is the one from the Heavy Cruiser ‘Tone’ that spotted the American fleet but failed to identify the carriers which proved to be fatal for the Japanese. The second is the one from the Heavy Cruiser ‘Chikuma’ that found and tracked the USS Yorktown for three hours leading to it’s sinking.

The Devastator

Now this kit is the definite opposite of the Jake kit. It comes with extra everything. Etched metal parts, paint mask, separate decals for every instrument (in pairs if you should fail one) and even a small poster with the box art. The mould is crisp and it generally looks promising. This one will take more time but will also be more gratifying to build.

I will build this with the wings extended as I have done with the other planes in this project. It’s a shame though as the kit includes pristine metal arms for the folded wings and is well detailed in the wing interior joints.

It’s a shame that this kit from Great Wall Hobby is not generally available any more. I had to hunt this one down at Ebay too. This time I got it from China. GWH has released this kit in three issues, the last with floats. You can still pick them up on Ebay at a reasonable price.

As an extra bonus the kit includes the markings of exactly the plane I want to build, the plane piloted by ensign Gay at that fateful day 4 June 1942.

On another note

The last week I’ve discovered the real depth of scalemates.com! Not only does this site have information on virtually every plastic model ever made but also rich community and a function to keep track of your kits. If you register you can keep track of which kit you’re building, have built, have in your stash or have on your wish list. You can set up projects and share info on what you’re doing. This site is a must for all modellers!





75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 4

Finally I can resume my Battle Of Midway project. After almost five months in boxes all my modelling stuff is unpacked.

New workspace

This paragraph might be a bit off topic but there’s an update on the project below. In my new apartment I’ve set aside a room entirely for my hobby. It still turned out that I’ll probably will need more shelves soon. Still it’s an improvement. The desk is larger than my previous one and I added another module to my paint stand so now it has room for all the bottles (for now any ways).

I installed a black linoleum carpet on top of the oak parquet. In part for protection but also to fight the horrible carpet monster where all small plastic details disappear.

A new spray booth for when I use the air brush. So now I hope that there’ll be a bit cleaner air and less paint dust. This far the kit has proven to be better than expected.

On the other wall I have a book shelf with all the reference literature.


Project report

I’ve picked up where I left and am still working simultaneously with the Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo and the Grumman TBD-1 Avenger.

The paint is on the Buffalo and I have to pick the individual for the markings. Gary Asher has an excellent Flickr stream with most of the Midway Buffalo’s and accompanying pilots accounts from the fighting at https://www.flickr.com/photos/13935339@N05/with/6950100846/. It will be hard to settle on any one of them. I hope to get done with this one soon as this is not a very good model to work with as the kit is a bit dated.

The Avenger from Hobby Boss on the other hand is more enjoyable. It’s a good kit full of details. It’s also sold as a Battle Of Midway kit with markings of the only Avenger to come back from the attack on the Japanese fleet. The only snag is that it the kit is a Grumman TBD-1C Avenger which is a later model. Even the box art depicts the plane with rockets which was not used until later in the war. As far as I’ve concluded there is only minor alterations to be made though. First is to omit the rockets and file down the small panels on the wings and fill the holes. You also need to omit the radar antennas (also depicted on the box) and fill those holes in the wings. The cut off the wing mounted guns and fill the gun holes under the wings. After these small changes you are closer to the TBD-1 that flew at midway.


These two done I’ll start up two new ones. It will probably be the Aichi E13A1 ‘Jake’, another really old kit, and the fateful Douglas TBD-1 Devastator. Both these kits were a bit hard to hunt down. The Devastator from Great Wall Hobby I found on Ebay located in China. Unfortunately the local post service failed the first delivery and sent it back. Fortunately I managed to communicate with the seller and he (she?) resent the model.

For a long time I thought there were no kits of the ‘Jake’ in scale 1:48 and had given up on it. Then one of my internet surfings paid off and I found an old model made by a company called Nichimo. And lo and behold there was a few available at Ebay. I order one from Germany and it arrived promptly. It’s a real simple kit without any cockpit interior but still it is a ‘Jake’. I will have to scavenge some old decals but at least I have two individuals to chose from thanks to this page: http://www.printscale.org/product_547.html





75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 3

The Battle Of Midway project is at a standstill at the moment as a pending move has forced me to temporarily pack all my modelling stuff. Now it’s less than three weeks left until I should be able to start again. This however does not hinder me to give an update on my progress.

Progress report

I’ve completed four kits this far. The Zero, the Val, the Wildcat and the Catalina.

Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero

I’ve done the Zero flown by Lt. Cmdr. Shigeru Itaya who led the first wave at Pearl Harbour just six months before the Battle Of Midway. At Midway he led the Zero fighters during the operations. In particular he led the attack on the 15 ill-fated TBD Devastators from the USS Hornet which were all shot down. Later, after his carrier Akagi had been sunk, Itaya ditched his Zero close to the Japanese fleet and were rescued by escorting ships. In 1944 he was killed when a Mitsubishi G3M “Nell” he flew in accidentally was shot down by friendly fire over the Kuril islands. There is still some debate on which plane he flew (see earlier post) and there is some on the internet that suggest it might not even have been AI-155 but AI-159. Still most sources I’ve found say 155.

I’ve written a review of the kit from Hasegawa that you can read here.


Aichi D3A Val

The Val I built participated at the attack on the Midway island (at least if you’re to believe Hasegawa). I don’t have any information on the crew or more information than that this aircraft was based on the carrier Akagi. The attack on Midway was partially a failure as the American knew of the attack beforehand and could prepare a defence. Still there is no downed Vals reported from the attack (the Kates and Zeroes were less fortunate). I think that it’s safe to say that all the Vals were lost in the operation, most either went down with their carriers or was forced to ditch in the sea.

If you’re interested I’ve written a review of the kit here. This version of the kit can be hard to find though as it’s decommissioned. I found my at Ebay.

Grumman F4F Wildcat

The Wildcat I’ve built was flown by Lieutenant Commander John Thatch during the Battle Of Midway. The Wildcat was mostly out performed by the Zero. To compensate for that Thatch developed a special manoeuvre called the ‘Thatch Weave’. On the fourth of June 1942 he led a six plane sortie to defend twelve Devastators from USS Yorktown when they were attacked by 15 to 20 Japanese Zeroes. Thatch order the flight to use the Thatch Weave, the first combat use of the manoeuvre. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred the Wildcats shot down at least four Zeroes at the loss of one Wildcat. Thatch personally shot down three of these.

I had to do some puzzling with the decals, see earlier post, but I think it went OK. You can read my review of the kit here.


Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina

As the Americans was aware of an oncoming attack they stationed no less than 31 Catalinas as reconnaissance planes. The one I’ve built was piloted by Ensign Jack Reid and his crew. It was the first plane to spot the Japanese Navy at about 9:00 on 3 June 1942. They had spotted the Japanese Occupation Force 500 nautical miles west-southwest of Midway but. They reported it in as the main force which is was not, however now they knew that the attack force was coming and from where. Early in the morning the day after another Catalina torpedoed and sunk the Japanese tanker Akebono Maru. This was the only successful air-launched torpedo attack by the U.S. during the entire battle.

Again I had to do some minor decal rearrangements to get the right plane. I have written a review of the kit here.


Other updates

In progress at the moment is the The Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo and the Grumman TBF-1C Avenger. Unfortunately these has been put away since September but soon I will be able to continue. Hopefully there will be some result in February.

Meanwhile I have not been totally idle. I’ve settled which Nakajima B5N2 ‘Kate’ to build but for this plane I’ll need a torpedo and the kit I have only features bombs. I was not able to find any suitable after market torpedo that fit the bill so I went and bought a Nakajima B6N2 ‘Jill’ from Hasegawa that has the torpedo just to get it.

I also found an old kit of the missing Aichi E13A1 ‘Jake’, the japanese reconnaissance aircraft, in form of a very old kit but available at Ebay.