The Aoshima Shiden series are nice kits but are often overlooked. This is the N1K1 with the redesigned wing incorporating all four Type 99 20 mm cannon internally. The kit has shallow wheelwells but a passable cockpit. The clear parts are a strong point and the canopy can be posed in the open position. The gear doors do need replacing as they are thick and molded into the landing gear legs – an odd choice for such a nice kit. Markings are from a Kopro decal sheet and represent a Shiden of the Yokosuka Kokutai.
Tamiya’s N1K1 is a little gem but is overlooked by most modelers. It has the fit and finished we have come to expect from Tamiya and goes together without any issues. I detailed the cockpit and replaced the cannon barrels with brass from Master, but this kit looks great right out of the box. The markings represent an aircraft of the 341st Kokutai at Marcott in the Philippines in October 1944, by January the squadron had been wiped out.
This is the limited run MPM Shiden kit from the 1990s. It is rather crude by today’s standards and has been superseded by the excellent Tamiya offering. Almost all of the smaller parts have been replaced on this build. The cockpit was completely replaced and the wheelwells enclosed and detailed. It can be built into a presentable model but requires a lot of work.
The aircraft carries the markings of Chief Petty Officer Tomeshiro Hiro of the Tsukuba Kokutai in February 1945.
The Kyōfū was produced as a floatplane fighter in limited numbers. Production examples dispensed with the counter-rotating propellers of the prototype and the pilots learned to deal with the engine torque on take-off. The Kyōfū served operationally in Balilpapan, Borneo, and finished the war on Lake Biwa defending the Tokyo area. This is the Hasegawa kit built as an example from the Sasebo Kōkūtai. It is fitted with a more conventional engine arrangement and features individual exhaust stacks with a standard propeller spinner.
After a long delay, the weather finally cooperated and I was able to take some finished pictures outdoors of recent completions from January’s batch of Japanese aircraft.
This is the design which eventually was developed into the excellent Shiden-Kai fighter by the Imperial Japanese Navy, the prototype “Rex” floatplane fighter. I wanted to build the prototype because of the counter-rotating propellers, and the IJN overall orange finish (used on prototypes and trainers) was a bonus. Like most everyone else at the time, the Japanese were not able to work the bugs out of the counter-rotating propellers and they reverted to a standard three-bladed prop for the production aircraft.
The Hasegawa kit is nice and goes together without any surprises. It comes with the beaching cart and boarding ladder, along with a plastic weight for the float. I rebuilt the cockpit and wired the engine but the rest is pretty much out of the box.
The Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo was a primary trainer in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1933 through the end of the Pacific War. It was called Akatombo (Red Dragonfly) after a Japanese children’s poem of the time due to its bright overall orange-yellow paint scheme. There were two variants in service, the wheeled K5Y1 land-based version and the K5Y2 floatplane. The two versions differed in their landing gear and in the chord of the vertical stabilizer, that of the K5Y2 was more broad to compensate for the surface area of the floats. A surprising bit of trivia – the last US warship lost to kamikaze attack was the destroyer USS Callaghan (DD-792), sunk by a K5Y on 29JUL45.