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 ARII N1K1-J Shinden/George Early Variant 1/48 ( In Progress)

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Kyushu J7W


Posts : 192
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: ARII N1K1-J Shinden/George Early Variant 1/48 ( In Progress)    Sun Feb 19 2017, 17:47

I picked up this kit during one of the last buying sprees to round out my JAAF and JNAF collection. It appears to be in the original cellophane wrapping.    Having a Marushin N1K2 George this will provide a great contrast.   Thanks to website scalemates for the following data on the kits origins.  

Brand: Arii
Product name: Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden "George"
Product number: A324-800
Scale: 1:48
Type: Full kit
Includes: Plastic sprues, Waterslide decals, Clear parts
Released: 1979 | Rebox (Changed box only)

Decal options
   Kawanishi N1K1-Ja Shiden
   JP Military Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Kōkū tai (Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service 1912-1945)
   210th Kokutai 210-134 (Lt. J. Sonoike)
   Meiji, Japan | April 1945 | IJN green/unpainted aluminum
   Kawanishi N1K1-Ja Shiden
   JP Military Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Kōkū tai (Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service 1912-1945)
   341st Kokutai, S700 Hikotai 341-151
   Phillipines PH | October 1944 | IJN green/unpainted aluminium
   Kawanishi N1K1-Ja Shiden
   JP Military Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Kōkū tai (Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service 1912-1945)
   Genzan Kokutai ケ-1172
   Korea KR | 1944 | IJN green/IJN grey

ARII  put out quite a few nice kits including some US and German ones. Side box art ..

The Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden ('Violet Lightning') was an Japanese Navy Air Service(IJN) land-based version of the Kawanishi N1K 'Kyofu'('Strong Wind', Allied reporting name 'Rex')  a mid-winged radial engine powered monoplane, with a large central float and wing tip stabilizers.  . Kawanishi had been working on the N1K floatplane fighter  since late in 1940, to support forward offensive operations where no airstrips were available, but by 1943 when the aircraft entered service, Japan was firmly on the defensive, and there was no more need for a fighter to fulfill this role. The idea of developing a land based version of the same aircraft was considered in December 1941. The Kawanishi management agreed to fund development, and work on the N1K1-J began as a private venture. Only four days after the N1K1 Shiden 's first test flight, a complete redesign was begun, the N1K2-J

The kit  is packaged in three plastic bags that fit easily in the box.  There are 50 gray plastic parts in the kit on three sprues and one clear one piece plastic canopy.   Decals are provided for three aircraft but other than for historical purposes of numbering for specific units no special fin flashes or fuselage bands denoting a unit officer are provided.    

The parts are very crisp, no real flash to speak of, no heavy attachment to the sprues as with some kits.  Nice external detail for a kit of its age.   The canopy is a one piece affair,not as clear as I would like.  After masking and painting  the canopy cage, little detail will be seen in the cockpit.  This IMO  this was a big mistake  by ARII as they do provide some rather nice detail  to be seen with an open canopy option.  

It has a very nice detailed raised cockpit floor pan.   I'm sure Squadron has some vac  canopies for those who want to invest in a bit more detail or see the effort they might put into this.  

It does come with a seated pilot figure and the under wing gondola cannons unique to the initial N1K1-J's produced. On the discussion page for this build I have some photos of this from captured examples in the Philippines.  

Nice rivet detail on the wings, fuselage etc, and in the wheel wells there is detail.  

The cockpit is not lacking side detail as are many 1.48 of this era , the instruments are not bad.  It's a shame the one piece canopy will hide this.  

Instructions are in Japanese of course and are adequate to support the build.    

Included in the kit is an interesting print suitable for framing in a 8/11 frame.

Overall a very good impressions is made.

The sea plane floats were replaced with landing gear and the original Kasei engine was replaced with a more powerful Homare. The new engine required a large four-bladed propeller, but rather than lower the mid-level wings of the seaplane design to get the necessary ground clearance, the design team gave the new aircraft long landing gear with complicated retraction mechanisms to prevent the legs from taking up too much space when folded into the wings. The prototype made its first flight on 27 December 1942, and the aircraft showed excellent maneuverability and pleasant handling. However, both the engine and the especially the landing gear due to poor quality of  the  hardened steel  proved problematic and the cockpit suffered from poor landing visibility. Nevertheless, the Navy was sufficiently impressed to order further development, and the modified design was rushed into production by the end of 1943 to meet the challenge of the Corsair and Hellcat.

Assigned the Allied codename 'George', it was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II. The N1K1 & 2  possessed a heavy armament and could absorb considerable battle damage. The N1K1 & 2  were evenly matched for most Allied aircraft in the final months of the Pacific War.

Started the build.    Parts come away from the sprues cleanly.   The sanding stick is used just to take off any edge flash .  Not much of that.   Cleaned  up and dry fitted the cockpit parts.   Though there are not many the floor pan does have some nice raised detail as does the instrument panel.   However  the one piece canopy will hide much of this so I will not put a great deal of effort into detailing it.  

The pic below shows the side wall detail that in a larger scale would be a panel with levers and the wheel set several inches away from the wall.   Still it's a nice touch for a kit of its age. .

The wings , gun gondolas, external fuel tank, engine and other parts got the same light sanding for the connection point to the sprue.  Here is the one place I had a bit of trouble.  One wing did not mate at the pins and sockets exactly.  I had to peel them back apart quickly and reset them.   I'm not sure if it was builder incompetence  or if the pin and mounting hole in the wing was just a bit off.  I got it together and re sealed without making a mess but I do feel there is just a bit of an edge overlap that probably only the builder notices.    

Dry fitting the wings indicates some filler will be needed and attention to the connections,   but the horizontal stabilizers fit snugly and well.     Not many parts left not pictured other than the landing gear, some cannon, canopy  and engine housing.

The N1K1-J's combat debut came over the Philippines. The 201st Kokutai was moved to Cebu during the period before the American invasion of the Philippines, and soon entered combat. The N1K1-J proved itself to be an excellent aircraft when in the air, and was able to hold its own against the American aircraft.  It was comparable to the U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat to which they looked similar at a distance, and this did cause confusion.  It was able to also hold its own against the Navy's F4U Corsair. However against the USAAF P-47N Thunderbolts, they were surprised and mauled in one of the few encounters between these aircraft. When facing the P-51D Mustangs, they found themselves at a disadvantage as the P-51 had no problems in climbing and diving away from the Shiden-Kais. No  combat comparison information has been found on the P-38

The picture on the ground was less rosy. A number of aircraft were destroyed on the ground, while others were lost when their engines or undercarriage failed. By 1944 the Japanese Navy had lost many of its best ground crews, and so the aircraft suffered from poor maintenance.

As the N1K1  saw service on the Phillipines. Some examples were captured and one tested.  The intelligence services were able to send these updated to carrier groups with known technical data.   The model makers built their with the under wing cannon gondolas.  

The IJNAF sent them to  Formosa where they were used  during the battle of Okinawa, and during the defensive of Honshu against American carrier raids from March 1945 till the end of the war.  It was successful against American fighters and medium bombers, but struggled to reach the operating altitude of the high flying B-29s. that sporadically raided airfields that were assembly areas for kamikaze operations, before orders were issued cancelling further interceptions.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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ARII N1K1-J Shinden/George Early Variant 1/48 ( In Progress)
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