These are my primary references for this build. Japanese aircraft are my forté and I enjoy researching these the most, therefore this is where my knowledge is strongest, as opposed to allied aircraft.
The Arii/Otaki kit is pretty accurate dimensionally, just a little off the mark in the main wings, but nothing too weird for me to justify surgery to correct. The whole aircraft is covered with delicate recessed panel lines and rivets which look very nice to my eye, and look quite realistic when compared to pictures of the few existing aircraft. So, lets get on with the build.
As mentioned, I started in the cockpit.
I made the instrument panel from plastic sheet punched and drilled as best I could determine appropriate instrument sizes. I still may add instrument bezels from copper wire to give it more dimension once painted. Still deliberating about that.
The kit cockpit had some decent details molded into the side walls, and floor. Unfortunately all of this was completely erroneous to any known aircraft, so I scraped off all the lovely detail and decided to go to town on it, references in hand.
This is the only thing left of these fanciful details. Rather than sand it all down to build onto, I simply turned it around since the backside was already flat and the "feet" were symmetrical for locating it on the floor. I trimmed down the kit part so that it would not be peeking out above or below the new panel. Also, the "legs" were reduced by about half their width from the inside and lightening holes drilled to represent the airframe structure.
The white parts are sheet styrene, the gray hydraulic pumps with handles and rudder peddles are from the Nichimo 1/48 Ki-43-I kit. A friend from a modelling club I used to belong to gave me a Nichimo Ki-45 kit years ago, complete except for the canopies. I already had one of each, but I really like the old Nichimo kits a lot. He also had a Ki-43 by the same maker that had been started who knows when that he didn't want either and was gonna toss if I didn't want it. It was in poor condition, unfortunately the engine and cockpit had been mostly built already, with thick globs of glue and melted styrene everywhere, parts glued to wrong places and super thick brushed on paint of various garish colors. It was really just junk, but I figured it might come in handy for something someday. Turns out it is a perfect contender to donate parts to this build!
Here is my Franken-seat. The rear airframe structure is from the kit, trimmed down and drilled in the same manner as the instrument panel structure was. I wanted to use the very nicely detailed seat from the donor Nichimo kit (The Arii/Otaki seat was the equivalent of an ugly lay-z-boy recliner) but unfortunately it was a victim of too much glue all those years ago. The vertical seat rails and seat pan were partially melted, but the back was OK. I cleaned up the back, drilled out the holes and replaced the rails with styrene rod. The pan I made from sheet styrene pieces.
Here is the port side wall with ribs and stringers made from styrene strip. Some styrene panels have been added as well as the fuel selector panel added to the bottom from the Nichimo kit. The throttle quadrant and other details have yet to be fabricated.
Starboard side wall with the airframe and electrical boxes made from styrene. Again, more details and lots of plumbing and wiring to be added.
That's where I am at right now. Hope you guys like it so far and hopefully I will have more updates soon. Thanks for taking a look.
Edit: Replaced photos with hopefully better quality ones.