- Manufacturer: Hasegawa
- Scale: 1:48
- Aircraft: Kawanishi N1K1-Ja Shiden (“GEORGE”)
- Markings: 201st Flying Group | Luzon/Philippines | Late 1944
- Aftermarket: Quickboost 20mm cannons
It’s kind of crazy to think I’ve never built a Japanese aircraft. Of all the kits I’ve churned out, both as a kid and more recently as an adult, not a one has been Japanese. For the longest time, they just left me cold. Then I saw some of the examples coming out of a Japanese group build over on the FSM forums and found my interest piqued. After I botched my first pass – a Tamiya Ki-84, I decided to give Hasegawa’s N1K1 George a go. A simple kit, bought on the cheap, seemed a great intro to Japanese aircraft.
And was it ever. Detail overall is good-if-not-great, and the fit is excellent. The only place that gave me any hangups at all was the wing-to-fuselage join and some minor gaps along the wingroot, but a spreader placed within the fuselage fixed that right up.
The kit also offered the chance to play with some new materials and techniques to chip and really weather the aircraft, and all in all, I’m happy with the way it turned out. Definitely a solid kit for anybody looking to break into Japanese aircraft!
Detail – 4
Detail overall is quite good – particularly the surface detail and the canopy. There are some “soft” areas…the biggest of them being the 20mm cannons, which even in 1/48 really need hollowed-out ends. The cockpit and wheels could have used some help, too, but are overall quite solid.
Engineering – 5
I’m giving this kit a 5 for engineering on the basis of it’s cowl design alone. The cowl mates to the fuselage in four major parts. The first is the exhausts, which are separate and which makes painting them far easier. Next come the cowl flaps, molded in their extended position. The engine mates on top of both of these, and then the cowl proper slides in place, slotting between the cowl flaps and holding tight. It’s an ingenious setup that takes the hassle out of masking and painting the cowl and engine.
Fit – 4
One stabilizer was wobbly and the aforementioned wingroot gaps required some attention, but the rest of the fit was dead-on perfect. Especially appreciated was the perfection of the canopy fit – first fuss-free canopy I’ve dealt with in several builds (probably going back to the Spitfire last year).
Instructions – 3
Good but not great. Required much better paint call-outs for things in the cockpit, landing gear, etc.
Markings – 3
The markings were probably the single most underwhelming part of the kit…and while they ultimately worked out fine, they felt cheap, something keenly felt when there’s not much in the way of aftermarket to be had.
4 stars (nifty hinomaru “stars” graphic coming soon)
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