Platz 1/144 N1J2-J Shiden-Kai (George) Early Version Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2011||Manufacturer||Platz|
|Subject||N1J2-J Shiden-Kai (George) Early Version||Scale||1/144|
|Kit Number||PD-11||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (Yen)||¥1260|
The Kawanishi N1K was designed as a robust floatplane fighter that was more capable than the A6M2-N Rufe (Zero floatplane) and could provide the Japanese Navy with front-line fighter support where runways are not yet available. Designated as the N1K1 Kyofu (Rex), the aircraft started service entry in 1943, but by that time, Japan's forward momentum had been blunted and was being pushed back. Even as the N1K1 was in production, the Kawanishi engineers foresaw the potential of this powerful aircraft if it could be separated from its heavy floats and a land-based variant was developed with conventional landing gear.
Designated N1K1-J Shiden (George), the aircraft had serious potential but also exhibited some latent issues based upon its floatplane heritage. A redesign was begun almost immediately to move the wings from mid-fuselage to low-wing, the fuselage was lengthened for greater stability, and it was designed with roughly 1/3 the parts of the N1K1-J. This new aircraft was the N1K2-J Shiden-Kai and with this aircraft, Japanese Navy pilots had a formidable fighter that could match the F6F Hellcat and the P-51 Mustang. While the aircraft was very successful, it couldn't be produced fast enough to change the outcome of the Pacific air war.
Here is a beautiful little kit. Actually two complete kits in one box. This is Platz Models' N1K2-J in 1/144 scale. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on two parts trees, plus a single small clear tree containing the canopy. With two kits in the box, there are four trees plus two clears.
Considering the petite size of the model, this kit is rather nicely done. The cockpit detail is limited to the instrument panel, control stick and pilot's seat.
Assembly is quite simply with the fuselage going together around the cockpit parts and the propeller shaft. This kit represents the early version of the Shiden before the fuselage was lengthened. If you look inside the fuselage halves, there is a cut line molded in the rear fuselage, simply (and carefully) cut on that line and square up the rear fuselage with a file or sanding stick, then add the new (and shorter) tail section.
The wings and horizontal stabilizers go together and complete the basic airframe. The landing gear is petite and the instructions clearly show how to set the angle of the gear to get the correct angled-in appearance
Markings are provided for six examples:
- N1K2-J, Prototype, 91, Dec 1944
- N1K2-J, 343 NFG, 343-15, 1945
- N1K2-J, Factory Test, 517, Jan 1945
- N1K2-J, 343 NFG, 343-27, 1945
- N1K2-J, Yokoshuka NFG, 3-105, 1945
- N1K2-J, 343 NFG, 343-03, 1945
The decal sheet includes a nice set of maintenance stenciling as well as the primary markings. The decals are nicely printed.
This is a nicely engineered kit of the Shinden-Kai and will be a nice addition to the small-scale modelers' flight lines. With two complete kits in the box, you can have two distinctive examples to enjoy for one small price.
For more information about this set and the other releases from Platz Hobby, visit their website at http://www.platz-hobby.com.
My sincere thanks to Platz Hobby for this review sample!