Another build of the 1977 Hasegawa kit, this example has had the chord of the vertical tail reduced to represent a late-production Shiden-Kai. It is marked as the aircraft of Warrant Officer Kaneyoshi Mutoh of the Yokosuka Kokutai in February 1945 operating from Oppama. Mutoh was credited with twenty-eight victories total, including eight on the Shiden-Kai.
This is the 1977 Hasegawa kit. It has all the typical Hasegawa shortcomings of its time – basic cockpit, crude engine, and shallow wheelwells. An additional problem which is often missed is it displays a shape error concerning the width of the vertical fin. Kawanishi produced both a broad- and narrow-fin N1K2, Hasegawa’s kit splits the difference and so has to be modified to properly represent either version. On this build the fin was widened to represent one of the first one hundred examples produced.
This aircraft carries the markings of Chief Petty Officer Shoichi Sugita of the 343rd Kokuti operating from Matsuama Japan in March 1945. CPO Sugita was credited with approximately seventy victories, including seven in the Shiden-Kai. He was killed on 15APR45.
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 It is rather crude by today’s standards and has been superseded by the excellent Tamiya offering.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.
Finished! This turned into a “just one more thing” build and seemed to drag on, but the first seven completions for 2020 are done and I’m generally happy with how they turned out. The big pictures on the computer highlighted a few tweaks and touch ups which are needed but they’re mostly complete. Here’s the list of modifications and details added, some kits required more of these than others:
Cockpits replaced and/or detailed.
Instrument panels, side consoles, and seatbelts printed on photographic paper.
Engines replaced and/or wired.
Wheelwells removed, deepened, and detailed.
Landing gear covers replaced with card stock.
Landing lights made from CD case plastic.
Gear down indicators made from bronze rod.
Vacuform or plunge molded canopies.
Pitot tubes made with metal tube and insect pins.
Beading wire brake lines.
Turned brass cannon barrels from Master.
Various openings and trestle ports drilled out.
Trim tab actuators replaced with wire.
Radio aerials made from Uschi elastic line.
So, overall a fun build but one which took longer than anticipated. I think the next batch will be something a little more current, hopefully one which doesn’t need as many modifications!
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson