I generally build models in groups to exploit commonalities, increase efficiencies, and compare kits. I feel this results in higher quality builds as well as reducing construction times. It certainly helps increase production. For this build I will be working on the Kawanishi N1K Kyofu / Shiden (Rex / George) family with kits selected to trace the evolution of the design.
Here is a comparison of the detail parts from each kit, setting the MPM bits aside. At the top are the Hasegawa Kyofu cockpit and engine, nicely molded. The cockpit is perfectly adequate for a closed canopy build, and the engine is crisply molded and deeply recessed into the fuselage in any case. I will leave it to the reader to explain the lack of wheels in this comparison. In the lighter tan plastic are the Tamiya components, not surprisingly the best of the lot. The cockpit and engine are good to go right out of the box, or could really be made to stand out with just a little extra detailing. While not quite as good as the new Tamiya kit, Aoshima’s interior is not all that bad either with the exception of the rather basic seat. Hasegawa’s Shiden Kai parts are on the bottom. These are rather crude by today’s standards, but one must remember the kit dates back to 1977 so they were better than many at the time. By 1945 the IJN was recruiting Sumo wrestlers as the seat shows. The wheels are pretty basic and the centers have shrunk.