Hasegawa 1/72 H8K1 Type 2 Model 11 (Emily) Flying Boat Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2018||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||H8K1 Type 2 Model 11 (Emily) Flying Boat||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||02257||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful engineering and detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$129.95|
During the late 1930s, the United States and Japan were expanding their presence in the Pacific. With little infrastructure available to support land-based aircraft operations, both countries invested in flying boats and amphibians. Even Juan Trippe, founder of Pan American Airways, had invested heavily in flying boats to extend commercial air service into the Pacific. Even as the Imperial Japanese Navy was putting the H6K (Mavis) flying boat into service in 1938, they were looking for even more capabilities. The IJN gave Kawanishi the requirements for such a heavy flying boat with greater range and load capacity and the resulting aircraft became the H8K (Emily) flying boat. While the prototype first flew in early 1941, Kawanishi required another year to sort out the aircraft's sea-handling problems.
Entering service just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the H8K was pressed into an ambitious mission to conduct a second attack on Pearl Harbor. Even with its impressive range, it couldn't reach Pearl without a refueling stop which came in the form of a Japanese submarine that rendezvoused with two H8K1s at French Frigate Shoals. The attack took place on the 4th of March 1942 with the aircraft bombing Pearl Harbor, but due to bad weather, the raid wasn't successful. This attack took place a little over a month before Jimmy Doolittle took his squadron of B-25s off the USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo.
You can tell when a particular kit is a project of love for a given manufacturer. Such a kit usually has more detail and engineering invested than their 'average' kit subjects. Such is the case with this Kawanishi H8K flying boat. If you follow the Hasegawa kit line, you know that they first produced the H8K in 1/72 scale back in 1967 which, according to its kit number, was their 21st kit subject. They have certainly come a long way since then! That kit was regularly reissued over the years with the last edition being released in 2016.
In 2017, Hasegawa released a new H8K that comes from all-new tooling. The kit was engineered to produce the H8K2 (which was released first) followed by this kit representing the H8K1. When you see the kit box, you'll know that it is a sizeable project just from the depth of the box. The kit consists of eleven parts trees molded in gray styrene (duplicate trees not shown) plus two trees molded in clear parts. The surface detailing is scribed and as you would expect for new tooling, there is no visible mold flash. Looking at the instructions, this is the first aircraft kit I've seen in some time that does not start off in the cockpit. Instead, the instructions have you build up the four engine/cowling assemblies followed by the huge wings. Work on the interior doesn't begin until Step 8.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed engine assemblies
- Large main spar assembly that also provides a reinforcing bulkhead inside the fuselage
- Continuous upper deck from the cockpit to the dorsal turret
- Detailed flight deck, flight engineer, and radio operator stations
- Choice of closed waist blisters with guns stowed or open blisters with guns ready
- Optional beaching gear
- Window masks
- Optional crew figures
- Optional underwing bomb or torpedo armament with racks
The markings included in this kit are for two examples:
- H8K1, NI-13, 802 Naval Flying Group, 1943
- H8K1, W-47, 802 Naval Flying Group, 1942
Unlike the average Hasegawa kit, this tooling offers some nice details and options. The upper deck has nice details including crew stations, stowage, and navigator's map table, though much of this will not be easily seen after assembly. The nose compartment also features a station for the observer/nose gunner. Unlike most kits on the market, this one provides 11 figures in appropriate poses for their in-flight roles. The decals include instrument faces for the flight deck instrument panel as well as for the flight engineer's station. Another nice touch for this kit is the inclusion of dye-cut window masks which are essential to paint the numerous frames in the flight deck transparency.
The only issue I have with this kit is that there are no instructions/diagrams for rigging the outrigger floats. The box art shows the rigging, so I suppose we'll have to work from that instead.
The painting instructions use GSI Creos colors and provide the mix ratios for replicating Kawanishi interior green if you don't have newer premixed Kawanishi color set released by GSI Creos in their Mr.Color series.
This is going to be an interesting project given the impressive effort Hasegawa has done with this tooling. I do wish they had a tow tractor to connect to that rear tow bar.
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!