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K5Y2 Type 83 (Willow)

Entex 1/48 K5Y2 Type 83 (Willow) Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review November 2009 Manufacturer Entex
Subject K5Y2 Type 83 (Willow) Scale 1/48
Kit Number 8510 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed Japanese trainer biplane Cons Control surfaces molded solid. Not told what groups marks are for
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The Yokosuka K5Y was a two-seat unequal-span biplane trainer (Allied code-name “Willow”), that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII.

Due to its bright orange paint scheme, during the war (applied to all Japanese Military Trainers) for visibility, it earned the nickname “Akatombo”, or “Red Dragonfly”, after a type of insect common throughout Japan.

The aircraft was based on the Yokosuka Type 91 Trainer, but stability problems led to a redesign by Kawanishi in 1933. It entered service in 1934 as a land-based K5Y1, with fixed tail-skid landing gear, and remained in use throughout the war.

Floatplane types K5Y2 and K5Y3 were also produced. After the initial 60 examples by Kawanishi, manufacture was continued by Watanabe, who built 556 aircraft, Mitsubishi built 60, Hitachi 1,393, the First Naval Arsenal 75, Nakajima 24, Nippon 2,733 and Fuji 896, for a total of 5,770 built. These aircraft were the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service’s flight training and as intermediate trainers. They were capable of performing demanding aerobatic maneuvers.

Entex was a model distributor based in Carson, California USA. It is my understanding that they were not a manufacturer and this kit is actually an Otaki mold. Otaki is a Japanese model company.

The box art is miss-labeled. This is a K5Y1, and not a K5Y2. The K5Y2 was the floatplane version. The box art shows a photo of the model made up. A Willow in the pre-war overall aluminum, with a black cowling and a red tail. The 2-bladed propeller is dark brown wood. The aircraft carries the fuselage code of a Japanese letter –705 in black. This code is repeated on the tail in white. The unit that this mark is for is never given in the kit. In one corner of the box art is mention that the kit is to 1/48th scale, that steel guy wires are included and the model will have a 6 inch wingspan when completed.

The two side panels of the box are identical. They show a 2-view (side and top) of the box art subject next to a short history of the Willow in English.

The box is a tray and lid type. Inside are 3 chalk white trees of parts, a clear parts tree and lengths of steel wire (to do the rigging). These are all in a large sealed cello bag, and the wires are also inside their own sealed cello. The decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a single sheet, folded in the center to create 4 pages in 10 1/8” x 7 ¼” format.

Page one begins with some general instructions, over two 2-views of marking and painting schemes.

The first one is overal orange, with a black cowling. Small details are called out in a variety of colors. The fuselage code is the same Japanese letter as the box art subject, but is –517 behind that symbol, all in black. Although this illustration shows the code repeated in black on the tail also, on the decal sheet the code is also included as all white.

The second illustration is of the box art subject. This one also carried the black fuselage code above the upper wing and below the bottom wings.

Pages two through the top left hand corner of page four have a total of 12 assembly steps.

Step 13 is for assembly of the guy wires into the wings and the main landing gear. Measurements are given to trim each wire to. The bottom of page 4 has the parts tree illustrations.

Chalk white letter A parts tree holds: the top halves of the lower wings, the 2-bladed propeller, rudder, fuselage halves and cowling halves. (9 parts )

Chalk white letter B parts tree holds the rest of the upper and lower wing halves (4 parts)

Chalk white letter C parts tree holds: the pilot and student figures, exhaust pipes, engine, wing struts, landing gear legs and wheels, instrument panels, cockpit floor, joy sticks, a bulkhead, tail wheel, seats etc. (34 parts) However, I question the tail wheel because the history of the K5Y1 said that the aircrafts had a tail skid, not a wheel.

The small clear parts tree carries 2 windscreens.

The 4 wires and the decal sheet complete the kit’s contents. Three lengths of the wire are narrow gauage and the fourth is thicker.

What few panel lines are on the fuselage, just behind the cowling, are of the engraved type. Control surfaces are all molded solid, and would take surgery to re-position. The insides of the cockpit walls of the fuselage halves have some nice molded in ribs, control wheels, instrument panels and levers details. The cockpit floor has foot pedals molded into it for both the instructor’s and the student’s cockpits.

I have only glued the seats to the floor board so far.

This is a nicely detailed model of a large production Japanese Navy Trainer. I recommend it to modelers that have tackled wing rigging on biplane models before.