It is amazing how the clean lines of an original design can be disrupted by
assorted bumps and bulges in order to adapt the original design to a role it was
actually not exactly designed to do. A great example of this is the P2V Neptune.
Designed as a long range patrol bomber for the US Navy, by the time it reached
its seventh variant, it had been adapted into an anti-submarine warfare
Hasegawa's 1/72 Scale
This is the 1/72nd scale Hasegawa kit of the Neptune. Hasegawa's model of
this aircraft is somewhat simplistic, lacking any real interior and only
providing the basic airframe.
I was asked to build this model for a display at a local museum where they
actually maintain a flying example of this aircraft. The museum afforded me
complete access to their fully restored, full-size example. This provided me
more than I really wanted to know about the shortcomings of the Hasegawa kit. To
provide the museum with a model worthy of a museum display, I did the following
to update and correct the stock Hasegawa kit.
Additions and Modifications
First on the list was adding an interior to the model. Many of the windows
are quite large (since the aircraft is a surveillance and patrol aircraft) and
afford a sizable view into the interior portions of the model. I opted not to
build a complete interior as most of that would be invisible. Instead, I
concentrated on detailing just the areas that are viewable through the windows.
added detailing inside the three wheel wells.
added the line antenna running from the fuselage to
the tail top.
added and enhanced various antennas throughout the
I painted the exterior of the model using what were new paints at the time,
X-tra Color. The X-tra Color line includes the correct color for the exterior of
the airframe, known as Engine Gray (F.S. 16076). Since then, other manufactures
have also started to produce this color, including the Testors Model Master line
of paints. This is the color that the official US Navy specifications called for
when the white fuselage top was introduced, replacing the overall Gloss Sea Blue
(F.S. 15042) camouflage.
For markings, the museum requested that I build the model to represent the
same aircraft the museum had on full-size display, BuNo 145915, from the time it
was on duty with VP-24 at Guantanomo Bay in Cuba. This required me to delve
deeply into my spare decals drawer to come up with all the lettering and
numbering. I also used almost all of the thin yellow striping that I owned in
order to add the wing walkways. The propeller warning stripe was particularly
challenging as I had to hand paint the curve that crosses the front of the lower
I weathered the model as I do most of my models using dilute enamel paint washes
and highlighting applied by airbrush. The exhaust stains were especially
challenging as the Neptune has very distinctive shapes and contours in the
stains. I started these by using a light gray color to represent the lead
content of the stain. Then I added a medium brown color to represent the burned
portions of the stain. I completed the stain using black to represent the soot.
The effect was as you see in the pictures. For a more complete discussion of
what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".
In the end, the curator of the museum was delighted with my model, so much so
that the model never has seen public display. Instead, the model lives on the
curator's desk in his office. While this is not what I expected, I am fine with
this private display.
Someday, I want to build another Neptune in the same markings for my own
private display in the living room. For now, I am biding my time and wishing for
a 1/48th scale injection molded model of the Neptune.
Images and Project Summary
thumbnails below to view larger images:
(includes creation and printing of custom decals):
Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):
Extra Detailing /
Model, Description and Images Copyright ©
2002 by David Aungst
Page Created 29 October, 2002