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H6K5-L

Trumpeter 1/144 H6K5-L (Mavis) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2004 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Kawanishi H6K5-L (Mavis) Scale 1/144
Kit Number 1323 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice Details, Easy Build, Choice of Full Hull or Waterline Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $16.95

First Look

H6K5-L
H6K5-L

When many folks think of pre-war flying boats, they think of the works of Curtiss/Consolidated, Martin, Boeing or Short. However, there was another major designer of flying boats in the world, that was Japan's Kawanishi Industries. They gained their foothold into flying boats by building the Shorts S.15 under license for the Japanese Navy as the H3K1. Since the first sale of the H3K1 in 1930, Kawanishi evolved a number of designs for military and commercial applications.

One such example was the H6K series. While a number of these aircraft were operated before the war by Japan Air Lines, the main customer for these machines was the Japanese Navy. Code-named by the allies as Mavis, the H6K was powered by four 1000 hp class engines and had an operational range of over 2500 miles. While the aircraft had better combat capabilities than its western counterparts of the day, by the time the US pushed into the Pacific, the Mavis was out-classed by most allied combat aircraft and became easy prey when caught.

The Trumpeter H6K5-L kit is molded in their standard light gray styrene on two trees, one tree of clear transparencies and one tree containing a clear display stand. A total of 49 parts are provided for this kit, and as you can see in the images to the right, the composition is simple and straightforward. According to the box, the assembled kit (in 1/144 scale) is 7" long with a wingspan of 11 inches.

Detailing in the cockpit is not bad considering the scale, with four crew positions visible through the cockpit transparencies. Detailing on the external surfaces is very crisp and not overdone (easy to do in this scale) with all of the panel lines scribed.

As the aircraft had no beaching gear or landing gear, your only choices are to rest the completed model on its belly (or on a base of simulated water) or use the included stand to display the aircraft in flight.

Markings are provided for two pre-war examples:

  • H6K-5L, J-BFOZ
  • H6K-5L, J-BGOC

While Hasegawa has released the H6K5 in 1/72nd scale and there are a few vacuforms of the aircraft in 1/48th, this is the first time that the Mavis has been offered in 1/144. If you're a pre-war flying boat buff, this will be an important part of your collection. If you're looking for something different to build that won't take much time or effort to achieve a nice result, this kit is for you.

Check out the quick-build review of this kit here.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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