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'The Boat'

Eduard 1/72 'The Boat' Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2017 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject 'The Boat' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2118 Primary Media Styrene, photo-etch, resin
Pros Interesting subject Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $74.95

First Look

'The Boat'
'The Boat'
'The Boat'
'The Boat'
'The Boat'

When you look through the photos from Pearl Harbor taken during the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941, you'll see photos of the damage and destruction at the south end of Ford Island where a bomb destroyed seven PBY Catalinas and damaged five others. Even as the attack was ending, crews were scrambling to get the survivors ready for flight to locate the Japanese fleet. While the PBY was set up to carry armament, there were not enough available to sortie and the unarmed JRS-1s of VJ-1 were dispatched to join the hunt. The Sikorsky JRS-1 was the military transport version of the S-43 'Baby Cllipper'. While the Japanese fleet withdrew undetected, one JRS-1 was attacked by an A6M Zero which was fortunately (for the JRS crew) flown by an Ensign who didn't fire the 20mm cannon.

Eduard has released another special edition, this time 'The Boat', not to be confused with 'Das Boot'. This is the Sword 1/72 JRS-1 kt with some nice extras from Eduard along with an interesting color monograph about the aircraft. Like all kits produced by Sword, this is a limited run kit which means you'll need to be experienced with such kits to assemble the model. The kit is molded in light gray low-pressure styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one set of resin parts. Eduard adds its own Brassin parts along with a set of color-printed photo-etched parts and yellow-tape window masks.

Among the features of this kit:

  • Detailed flight deck with color-printed instrument panel and crew restraints on resin seats
  • Detailed main cabin with passenger seating and seatbelts rendered as decals
  • Positionable rear overhead doors with interior stairway
  • Photo-etched propeller for RAT (wind-driven generator)
  • Detailed landing gear

Markings are provided for seven examples:

  1. JRS-1, 1063, VJ-1, 1-J-1, 1938-39
  2. JRS-1, 1193, VJ-1, 1-J-7, 1938
  3. JRS-1, 1063, VJ-1, Pearl Harbor, 1942
  4. JRS-1, 1063, VJ-1, 1943
  5. JRS-1, 1063, VJ-1, 1943-1945
  6. JRS-1, 1063, NACA Langley, 1945-1946
  7. JRS-1, 1192, VJ-2, 1-J-11, 1939-1940

The monograph that accompanies this kit will be a handy reference as it features period photos of the JRS-1 in pre-war and wartime service followed by an up-close walk around of VJ-1 as it undergoes restoration at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex at Udvar-Hazy. The narrative has some interesting insights into flight operations, especially on December 7th, though the narrative needed better press checking "As she past Pearl Harbor Naval Air Station..." (As she passed Pearl...). The development history of the aircraft was lifted almost verbatim from Wikipedia.

If you've built many Sword kits (or many of the Classic Airframes kits produced by Sword), you know that they cannot seem to produce simple fuselage halves without a dorsal or ventral plate that needs to be inserted and blended into the remainder of the fuselage. And so it goes here as the top of the main cabin is open when the fuselage halves are assembled and you'll need to add the two halves of the upper fuselage plug along with the cockpit cover to close up the fuselage. That wouldn't be so challenging except the centerline wing pylon mounted atop of the two cabin inserts, so you'll have to take special care to square all of this up or the wing will not align atop the mounting pylon. None of this is bad, just plan on bringing your skills for this project.

The instructions provide rigging instructions for the control lines that exit the fuselage and out to the engine fairings along with the structural rigging for the outboard floats. While the instructions don't mention posing the landing gear up for flight or afloat, the main gear retracts very similarly to the PBY-5A so you simply plug the main wheels into the side wells and call it a day.

This is an interesting subject given that this kit primarily focuses on Bureau Number 1063 with was the VJ-1 skipper's aircraft that took part in the search for the Japanese that day and is the sole survivor from the contingent of JRSs that were at Pearl Harbor during the war. You will see this unique piece of history at Udvar Hazy when she's finished and you have an opportunity to replicate this unique bit of history on your scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!